Team New Era 5, Dallas Rangers 1
By Jason P. Skoda
Tempe AZ., Nov. 5, 2011 —
Was Team New Era going to be the early 1990 version of the Buffalo Bills – a great team that couldn’t finish? Or were they going to be more like the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals – a surprise contender that got hot at the right time?
A 5-1 win over the Dallas Rangers for the MSBL title at Tempe Diablo Stadium settled that question and gave the team a 50 Wood Bat American crown.
Ralph Proulx’s team had lost three straight championship games in the MSBL World Series 50 Wood American Division entering the game, and despite the fact that the team is actually based in Buffalo, “he said we were the Cardinals,” New Era’s Ed Warnke said.
And it wasn’t a bad comparison. The Cards, baseball fans will recall, were 10 games back in the wild card race before qualifying for the postseason and then went on to win the World Series. Similarly, team New Era was 0-2-1 when, as Warnke said, “we got hot. We got on a roll just like they did.”
“We lost some close ones, late, and it didn’t look good,” Proulx said. “We figured some things out and started playing to our potential.”
It helps having the rubber arm of Phil Trocivia as he threw 10 innings in a playoff win and then went another nine in the title game to be named the team’s MVP. He limited the opposition to five hits with eight strikeouts and three walks in the dominating finals performance.
“I didn’t know that (New Era) had lost so many in a row,” said Trocivia, who is part of New Era’s San Diego contingent. “It felt good to help them get over the top. It really meant a lot to these guys.”
Tony Frescura had the game-winning hit in the eighth inning to break open a 1-all tie and Warnke added a sacrifice fly in the inning. Curt Hoffman helped add some insurance runs with a RBI and scoring himself on a wild pitch in the ninth inning.
The top seeded Rangers (4-2) experienced a nightmare of sorts in the seventh. Its first two batters, Kirk Brookshires and Roger Padilla, and a walk loaded the bases with one out, but they failed to score.
“Things just didn’t go our way,” manager Jerry Castaneda said. “We couldn’t get that run across. If we did you just don’t know how that changes things.”
“I thought this was going to be the year after being the number one seed,” said Castaneda, who was been to Arizona six tim but who was playing in his first final. “It was a good learning experience and it hurt, but we will be back next year.”
New Era will look forward to 2012 as well especially since they will be able to play free and easy after snapping the championship game losing streak.
“This was a team that never ever gave up,” Proulx said. “We played this game exactly the way we played all the others with all heart, but this time we finally got the outcome we wanted.”
Trocivia and O’Sullivan. Hanley, Forbes (9) and Brogan. WP: Trocivia. LP: Hanley. Leading Hitters: Frescura (NE) 2×3, run, RBI; Townsend (NE) 2×2; Granado (DR) 1×3, RBI. Lopes 3×4, 2R, 2RBI; Mays 2×4, 3 RBI; Thomason (SF) 2×4. SAC: Warnke (NE); O’Sullivan (NE); Padilla (DR); Hernandez. (DR); Pena (DR); Moore (DR). SF: Warnke; Granado. SB: Townsend; Rice (NE); Hoffman (NE); Burns (NE); Frescura (NE). LOB: New Era 6; Dallas Rangers 6. Total game time: 2:27.