Southern Maryland 4, Long Island Yankees 1
Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter Fla., Nov. 13, 2011
|52+ American Division Champs, the Southern Maryland Titans|
Bob Engelmeyer scattered nine over nine innings, and Alex Brunet had two hits, including a double, as Mike Steinhauser’s Southern Maryland Titans defeated the Long Island Yankees 4-1 to claim 52 American Gold at the Fall Classic.
It was the second finals loss in a row for Bernie Ellison’s Yankees. They lost to the Detroit 60’s at the 2010 Fall Classic finals. In both finals losses, the Yankees out hit the opposition, but came up short in the runs column. “It’s how many runs you score that counts,” Ellison said.
The game was played at Roger Dean Stadium, the spring training home to the world champion St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins. By the time the Yankees got their first run in the top of the sixth inning Maryland already had a two run lead. Russell Unilowski scored on Terry Oxendine’s sacrifice fly ball in the first inning. After doubling with one out in the second inning, Maryland slugger Alex Brunet scored on an infield error to give Maryland a 2-0 edge.
The Yankees plated a run in the sixth on a two-out, RBI single by Robert Rocco, but Engelmeyer and a tough Southern Maryland Defense did not allow another Yankee to reach second base.
Yankee starter Bill Saslawsky allowed just four hits over his five and two-thirds innings, but struggled with control issues in the sixth inning. He walked Oxendine and Lonnie Thomas back-to-back, and then hit Antone Henley to load the bases. Brunet and Bob Weber came up with RBI singles to put Maryland up 4-1.
“It’s a cliché,” said Steinhauser who was inducted into the Fall Classic Hall of Fame later that night. “Everybody talks about how you look for a team effort, but that’s what we had.”
Southern Maryland outscored round robin opponents 52-2 en route to a 4-1 finish. That allowed Steinhauser to rest arms, rest legs. “We were really healthy and at the 52 level that is important. “
Though he had four fresh arms, Engelmeyer was the top choice for the finals start. “We said all along we’d give it to him if we got that far,” Steinhauser said. “Bob was ready. He threw strikes and the guys played good defense behind him.”
In the end, it was a player-pool addition named Frank Watson who earned the MVP honors for a strong Maryland team. Watson, who plays with the Maine Diamond Dogs, was planning to come early and just wanted to find a team. Steinhauser heard about it and signed the 52-year-old pitcher and outfielder up.
“I had no idea how good he was,” In fact, Watson was an accomplished player in college and retained his skills quite nicely, Steinhauser said. “Every time we had a guy in scoring position he’d drive him in,” Steinhauser said. “He was a big shot in the arm for our team.”
|Long Island Yankees||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||1||9||1|
|Saslawsky, Grant, and Coan. Engelmeyer and Erb. W — Engelmeyer. L — Saslawsky. Top Hitters — (Yankees) Coan 2×3, Infante 2×3, Faulisi 2×3, Rocco 1×4, RBI. (S. Maryland) Brunet 2×4, RBI. 2B – Brunet. HBP-Henley (by Saslawsky). DP–S. Maryland 2. SAC–Chichester (SM). SF–Oxendine (SM). LOB–Yankees 7; SM 9.|