|The St. Thomas Waves are kings of the MSBL World 25+ Aluminum Bat Central division for 2012.|
St. Thomas Waves 16, St. Louis Spikes 5
By Steve LaMontia, MSBLNational.com
Tempe Diablo Stadium, Oct. 27, 2012 — Sean Dodson was 4-for-5 and Brandon Thielk pitched a complete game victory as the St. Thomas Waves defeated the St. Louis Spikes 16-5 to win the MSBL World Series, 25-and-over aluminum bat central division title.
St. Louis played the game despite suffering a crippling emotional loss. Their manager, team leader, and longest tenured player, Jay Davis, was killed in an automobile crash in Phoenix early Friday morning — the day before the chamionship game.
“He was not only our coach but our best friend and has been leading us for over 10 years,” said interim manager Keith Wallace. “The thought of not playing the game never crossed our minds. Jay would have wanted us to play. He has always been there for us for more than just baseball. Yes, it was really tough but it was our only choice.”
The Spikes performed valiantly amassing 12 hits. They threatened a comeback in the seventh inning when Mike Tallis, Lance Jacobs, Chris Sanders and George Carney racked up hits, but a deep fly out to center got St. Thomas out of the inning. Kit Crooks threw the first five innings for the Spikes and took the loss. Sandy Clubb and Ryan Dailey closed out the game. Clean-up hitter Brian Benson led St. Louis with a 3-4 day at the plate.
The Waves rolled to victory with the help of a seven run fifth inning rally in which they strung together seven consecutive hits starting with a single by Joe Smalls (4-5, 2 R, 1 RBI). Scott MacDonald struck the big blow, a double, in the middle of the scrum. The speedy Akeem Francis reached base all five times he batted, and was 3-for-5 with two RBI’s, two stolen bases and three runs scored. He boarded twice on ground balls that led to ‘hurry-up’ errors.
“Everyone has seen the ball really well this whole week,” said Dodson who hit over .500 for the tournament. “It helps to have so many really big hitters on this team. The ball looked like a beach ball all week.” Dodson, who lives in Michigan, joined the Waves tournament team this year. “Our catcher (Matt Jayne) is also from Michigan and he played with them last year and asked me to join them. I’m sure glad I listened.”
St. Thomas scored 16 despite leaving 16 runners on base. MSBL World Series Hall of Famer and St. Thomas manager, Steve Parris, narrowly missed a 25 Central title in 2009. His team led 7-6 in the eighth inning and lost to the Oregon Outlaws 8-7 on a walk-off, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth inning.
“We were in this same position a couple of years ago and lost in the last inning and we wanted to make sure we avoided that scenario.” Avoid it they did. They brought their hammers all the way from the Virgin Islands. “We wanted to accomplish our goal along with the other St. Thomas teams who made this incredible journey,” said Parris. “Our 65 and over team lost in the playoffs but we are still hopeful the other two teams will do well.”
St. Thomas finished 2-3 in round-robin including a loss to the Spikes. They beat the San Antonio Titans 11-4 in the playoffs, after getting shut out by them during the week. Parris mentioned that the week-long journey was a true team effort. “Some hitters were hot early and some were hot later in the week. Scott MacDonald was hot all week but we also played great defense and had six double plays in one game. Everything just came together today.”
“This was a true team effort,” added Parris. “We already can’t wait to come back next year. It is the highlight of our year.”