2012 50+

Team New Era 6, Boston Wolfpack 5

Ralph Proulx (kneeling second from right) and Team New Era claimed 50 Kickoff gold in Vegas

By Leslie Zoltowski and Jeff McGaw

Las Vegas, Moutain Ridge, March 12, 2012 – Marty Sturgeon threw a complete game and Mike Williams delivered a clutch, two-run single in the seventh to propel Buffalo-based Team New Era to a 6-5 win over the Boston Wolfpack in the 50-and-over finals.

The game was battle of tournament powerhouses. Team New Era had played in three straight 50-and-over finals at the MSBL World Series in Arizona before winning the 2011 50 Wood Bat American Crown. The Wolfpack was fresh off a title run at the Holiday Classic at Disney where they have won five straight titles.

The Wolfpack jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the second, but Team New Era rallied for three in the bottom half on a two run double by Don Gervasi that scored Ed Warnke and Rob Steel. Gervasi later scored on an infield error.

Down 3-2 after three complete innings, Boston tied the game on Bill Flutie’s RBI double which scored Robert Indoli. Tied 3-3 in the crucial seventh inning, Team New Era scored three times with two outs to take the 6-3 lead. Team New Era skipper Ralph Proulx started the inning with a walk and a steal. Tony Frescura singled and stole second and Vern Van Skiver delivered an RBI single to score Proulx. With runners on second and third Williams delivered what proved to be the decisive blow – a line drive to right field that scored Frescura and Van Skiver.
MVP Marty Sturgeon (left) and Ralph Proulx Boston stormed back in the top of the

eighth inning on RBI singles by Jerry Spencer and Ray Mota, but the rally was cut short as the aggressive Wolfpack was twice caught stealing at second. It was a battle all the way, and the outcome could have been worse but for Boston’s tough defense. It turned a spectacular 3-2-3 double play in the bottom of the sixth inning to kill a Team New Era rally.

Still, said Manager Russ Ward, mistakes may have been the difference. “In games like this you cannot make mistakes and we made mistakes.”

Marty Sturgeon was named tournament MVP for Team New Era. Manager Ralph Proulx praised his team’s tenaciousness and gave a nod to his opponent. “They are a very tough team to beat.”

The Wolfpack played with a heavy heart and without the services of its namesake Steve Wolf whose father Sherman died on March 9. Longtime player Russ Ward assumed managerial duties for the pack in Wolf’s absence.

The Wolfpack advanced to the finals with a 16-2 win over Team Farnham. Doug Flutie, who turned in an MVP-worthy tournament and who was on base in every game, threw a complete-game (seven innings) for the win. Team New Era beat the Long Island Yankees 5-4 in their semifinal. Doug Pfaff’s sacrifice fly in the ninth was the game-winner in that contest.

50+ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 r h e
Boston Wolfpack 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 5 9 3
Team New Era 0 3 0 0 0 0 3 0 x 6 10 1

WP — Marty Sturgeon (cg). LP–Marco Barragan. Leading Hitters — (Boston) Russell Ward 2×4; Larry See 2×4. (TNE) Vern Van Skiver 2×4; Mike Williams 2×4. 2B—See (BW), B. Flutie (BW); Van Skiver ((TNE)

The Boston Wolfpack minus Steve Wolf fell just short of a Kickoff Title in 2012