45 Cactus wood bat champion Dallas Orioles

Iron-man catcher Mike Briguglio leads Dallas to ring
Dallas Orioles 9, Montebello Angels 3

By Jason Johnson, MSBLNational.com

Mesa Hohokam Park, November 3, 2012– Three days before the championship game in the 45 Wood Bat Cactus division, a spider bite sent Montebello Angels’ pitcher Robert Oskin to the hospital.

Doctors eventually cleared him to rejoin the team, but in typical dugout fashion his teammates pounced on the opportunity and quickly renamed the talented pitcher and manager “Spiderman.”

Unfortunately for the Angels, not even Spiderman could stop the Dallas Orioles who rustled up a Texas-sized, 9-3 win in the 45 and over Cactus Division championship.

“I thought it was a very good game,” said O’s manager Mark Moore. “Both teams executed well and I think we played a flawless game.”

The Angels jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Jose Ybarra drove a double over the centerfielder’s head scoring manager Fugi Esparza. Ybarra was on fire for the Angels with three hits on the afternoon.

In the fourth inning, however, the Orioles’ bats came alive as they scored three runs. Vernon Wells had the big hit in the inning when he lined a double to left field to drive in Jorge Sanchez and Mark Weideman. David Thrall capped the scoring with an RBI single to drive in Wells. “We started off slow on the hitting but we came around,” said Moore.

With the O’s leading 4-2 in the sixth inning their offense exploded for five runs led by two-run singles from Sanchez and Kevin Fought.

O’s starting pitcher Bob Williamson cruised to a complete game victory striking out four while Mike Briguglio was named the team MVP for catching six consecutive games and for being a strong leader in the clubhouse.

“He hit the ball well and was definitely a team leader on the bench,” said Moore. “He kept everybody focused and did a great job. He deserves it.”

The Angels were making their first championship game appearance, and manager Esparza talked about what the team needs to do to get back to the championship. “What I really learned is that executing plays is very key in this game,” said Esparza. “Baseball is never going to change. If we don’t execute plays it’s a loss.”

The team did execute well enough to earn a 5-1 round robin record, and players said the experience in bringing together players from Texas and California was a good one. Earlier in the week the team went out to dinner and relived baseball experiences from when they were younger and from the tournament that week.

“Everybody was recalling moments in their life from when they were young and how baseball helped them meet other people,” said Esparaza. “We were also teasing each other about funny moments and plays we had during the week. We were cracking jokes on each other and having a good old time.”

The Angels defeated the Bay Area Giants 5-1 and the Connecticut Navigators 15-4 in the playoffs with Pablo Perez earning the win in both games.

In the semifinals the O’s defeated the Columbus Dodgers 15-6 to earn a championship berth. Don George earned the win.

“Collectively as a group we played real well together,” said Moore. “Everybody has pulled their weight for sure.”