Berkenpas coach Mitch Thornton and MVP hero John Haney

Occasional hitter John Haney came through when it counted
Berkenpas Const. 7, Milwaukee Rangers 6 (12 innings)

By Steve LaMontia, MSBLNational.com

John Haney is a pitcher who accumulated a grand total of two at-bats in 2012, but he’ll forever be remembered by his Berkenpas Construction teammates as a .500 hitter and an MSBL World Series hero.

In his second at-bat of 2012, Haney stroked a walk-off single in the bottom of the 12th to score Matt Lockwood and give his team a 3n2 Division, 45 Wood Bat title.

Milwaukee found itself in a hole down 4-1 entering the top of the third. It scored a run in that inning and then was quiet until the top of the eighth inning.

That inning started innocently enough as pitcher Jim Hazlett struck out the first batter, but an error seemed to open the flood gates. Milwaukee strung together five hits by Marvin Oliver, Jerry Gambatese, Jamie Uselding, Mickey Pruefer and Dave Globing to turn a three run deficit into a 6-5 lead.

“We thought we had them but they sure came back late in the game,” explained the Berkenpas skipper, Mitch Thornton. “John Haney did a great job hitting for us late in the game. He came out with us as a pitcher, not a hitter, but he sure came through today.”

But Berkenpas wasn’t through. In their half of the eighth. With one out they strung together three hits of their own. Kevin Corcoran singled in the tying run as the game entered the ninth inning.

This is where the pitcher’s duel took over.

Milwaukee’s Jerry Gambatese and Berkenpas’ Ed Mikelson were stingy allowing a total of six hits and setting the stage for Haney’s heroics.

Haney was an unlikely hero. “I’m a pitcher,” he said. “This is the second at bat that I have had all year. I feel great being able to help.”

Berkenpas defeated the San Antonio Reds 3-2 and the Halo Baseball Club 16-8 on Friday to reach the title game. “We were 5-1 in pool play and had to play two games Friday so we were pretty short on arms,” explained Thornton. “But you just put them out there and hope they’ll come through and they sure did today.”This team from Lansing and Grand Rapids, Michigan, appeared to have just the right number of guys to squeak through a very determined Milwaukee group. Milwaukee was no stranger to tight ball games. They beat the Utah Pirates 7-6 and the Rochester Redwings 9-8 to advance into Saturday’s game.

Marvin Oliver and Jack Baron were a very potent A/B combination while batting eleventh in the order as they combined to go 3 for 4 to pace the Rangers. Jamie Uselding was also big for Milwaukee while going 2 for 4 and scoring twice, stealing two bases, and knocking in a run.Coach Mitch Thornton was pivotal for Bekenpas as his first inning single accounted for two of their three first-inning runs. Paul Militello chipped in a 2-for-4 day at the plate for the winners, including a bunt single RBI.

3n2 45 Wood Bat champion Berkenpas Construction