Las Vegas Bears 5, Colorado Bandits 2

The Las Vegas Bears claimed the 35 Wood Bat Central title at the 2011 MSBL World Series

By Jason P. Skoda, MSBL On-Line

Tempe Diablo Stadium, Oct. 22, 2011 –

Sometimes in the world of adult hardball the player have to act like, well, adults.

Honeymoons, newborns and other life events forced the Las Vegas Bears to change up its roster, losing about five players from last year’s World Series winning team, heading into this year’s tournament.

Didn’t matter.

The Bears found a way with some new faces to win the 35 Wood Central Division title with a 5-2 win over the Colorado Bandits at Tempe Diablo Stadium – the spring training home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

“We had a lot of guys missing and the new guys stepped in,” said manager Mauricio Molina, who named catcher Ries Orloski as the team MVP. “We had to find our strengths and play our game. It took a couple of games but we found it in time to repeat.”

It helps to have James Godman and Scott Hanish in the middle of the lineup to make sure things continue to go smoothly as the tandem did most of the damage.

Hanish started the second with a single and stole second before being knocked in by Pete Basaldu. Hanish then produced the next two runs with RBI singles to drive in Godman, a former NFL Europe linebacker, both times off the Bandits’ Charlie Stevens.

“He was mixing it up pretty good,” Godman said of Stevens. “We had to be patient and wait on the fastball. We made things happen on the bases all tournament and we had to do continue to be aggressive.”

While it was the second straight title for the Bandits, starting pitcher Josh Levine is being sized for his first ring after missing the last two years because of labrum surgery on his right shoulder.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Levine, who allowed one earn run in six-plus innings. “I saw everyone get their rings last year and I had to get one of my own.”

The Bandits might have just run out of gas in getting to the finals. They lost its first four games, then won four straight –including the final two games of pool play to get into the playoffs – before falling to the Bandits.

“To come back and get in the championship game showed a lot of resiliency,” Bandits manager Freddy Martinez said. “This is our third year here and we got better each year. This year everyone played together locally and playing all year together really helped.”

The Bndits could have got back into the game in the seventh when they loaded the bases with no outs only to come away with one runs and that came courtesy of a wild pitch.

“That is the story of the tournament for us, unable to get a hit with the bases loaded,” Martinez said. “We could have made things a lot easier on ourselves if we just came through in some of those situations.”

It’s those same situations that separates the championship teams from all of the rest and the Bears plan on taking a shot at going for ring No. 3 next year.

“We’d love to come back again and make a run at it,” Molina said. “We found the right formula and hopefully we can stick with it.”

2011 World Series

Division: 35 W Central

Venue: Tempe Diablo

Date: 10/22/11

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Colorado Bandits 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 5 1
Las Vegas Bears 0 1 0 2 1 1 0 0 x 5 9 2

Stevens and Prashaw; Levine, Crunk (7), Vertes (7), Kowalski (9) and Orloski. WP: Levine. LP: Stevens.

SV: Kowalski. 2B: Butler (CB). Top Hitters: Collins (CB) 2×4; Chris Crumrie RBI; Godman (LV) 2×3, 2 runs; Hanish (LV) 3×3, 2 RBIs; Basaldu 1×3, RBI; Johnston (LV) 1×3, RBI. SAC: Todd Walker (CB) SB: Freddy Martinez (CB); Hanish LOB: Bandits 7; Bears 5. Time: 2:37