2013 30+

Brew-Nuts close, but no cigar

Lidle outduels Weis, Cardinals beat Brewers 3-2

By MSBLNational.com staff reports

It was everything an adult baseball championship game should be, and it is exhibit A in the case for why people attend tournaments like the Holiday Classic at Disney.

The East Coast Cardinals successfully defended their 30-and-over Disney Classic crown with a 3-2 win over the Orlando Brewers. The team is sometimes called the Brewnuts because it comprises players from the Brewers and the Lugnuts in the Orlando MSBL.

Kevin Lidle earned the complete-game win for the Cardinals, and helped himself with two hits and one RBI. Lidle earned the game ball from manager Dave Hash.

The contest came right down to the wire.

Down 3-1 entering the bottom of the ninth inning, the Orlando Brew-nuts Chris Silva singled to bring the tying run to the plate. Jason Dehler boarded on a fielder’s choice that erased Silva and brought Eddie Rojas to the plate and Rojas promptly delivered an RBI double.

Before momentum could complete the shift to the Brewnut dugout, Rojas was picked off second base for the second out. “That pickoff was huge,” said Hash. After issuing a walk, Lidle got Matt Stevens to hit a short fly ball to left field which left-fielder Paul Chasse hauled in on a dead run for the final out.

Brewnut skipper Chris Fisher, who normally manages the Lugnuts in Orlando, was upbeat in the wake of the loss and vowed to return to give it another try in 2014.

The Cardinals, a perennial tournament powerhouse that won the 2011 Fall Classic and the 2012 Disney Classic, has some former major league firepower in its ranks including 14-year slugger Dante Bichette who spent some of his most productive years with the Colorado Rockies.

Newcomer Ricky Ramon earned tournament MVP honors. “This guy was frickin smashing the baseball,” said Hash. “His bat was on fire.” Ramon homered and had three hits in a 6-0 semifinal win over Rhode Island.

There was no shortage of offense, defense or pitching for the Cardinals. They outscored tournament opponents 70-9 in five games.

The Brewnuts had a little talent as well in the person of Brad Weis, a former Minnesota Twins and Oakland A’s prospect who spent seven years in the minors. Weis, the Brewnuts co-MVP, threw all nine innings and took a hard-fought loss. He threw eight innings in the second round robin game versus the EC Express, and carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning of that game.

Weis played as high as AAA during a seven-year minor league career with the Twins, A’s and Tigers. He pitched one scoreless inning for the Oakland A’s in spring training, was 15-7 for the A’s Modesto (A) club in 2003, had a 2.82 ERA, and racked 145 strikeouts. The 2009 Twins draft pick finished his career in 2005 with the Tigers organization. He currently plays with the Lugnuts in the Orlando MSBL.

Weis’ opponent, Kevin Lidle, who spent 12 years in the minor leagues and who played every position there except center field and shortstop, threw all nine for the Cardinals. Lidle’s twin brother, Cory, was a pitcher for the NY Yankees and perished in a plane accident in the fall of 2006.

Fisher said pitching and defense got his team to the finals. Once there, good defense – including cutting down three runners at the plate – kept them in the game. Ironically, five errors in that game – from a team that committed four errors in the rest of the tournament – may have spelled doom. Chris Silva, Eddie Rojas, and Fred Cardenas had two hits apiece for the Brewnuts in the finals.

The Brewers only allowed six runs in three round robin games. Matt Stevens and Weis were dominant in bracket play. Offensively, Silva , a tournament team co-MVP, batted .500 with five runs scored, and Fisher hit a solid.455 with six runs scored.