Downey 12, Milwaukee 5

Downey Waves 12, Milwaukee Orioles 5

Salt River Diamondbacks Field 3, Oct. 27, 2013 – Despite being penalized two runs late in the game for batting out of order, the Downey Waves had more than enough offense to get the job done as they defeated the Milwaukee Orioles 12-5 for the Father-Son Federal Division crown.

Refugio “JR” Esparza earned his second win of the tournament with a solid five inning start. Mario Rodarte Jr. finished up for the Waves allowing a single run over his four innings.

Both teams were new to the tournament.

“Today we actually came through,” said Waves’ manager Esparza. “Good pitching and good hitting….just the energy. Everybody enjoyed themselves. It was fun….Everybody hangs out even when we don’t play baseball. That’s what makes it more enjoyable.”

Five runs in the first inning also make it enjoyable – that’s how the Waves offense began the game.

With two out and nobody on, Esparza, the tournament MVP, stroked a single. Mario Rodarte followed with an RBI double. Jesse Gonzalez (3×4), and Willie Holms had RBI singles and Mario Rodarte Sr. smacked a two-run double in the inning.

The rally did not completely dampen the Oriole’s hopes. They responded with three runs of their own – two coming on Derrick Stephenson’s triple to right field.

After two innings the score was 6-4 and didn’t seem like much of a pitcher’s duel, but it was at that point that the pitching in fact did take over.

Esparza finished his stint on the mound with three shut-out innings. Rodarte entered in the sixth and allowed just one run – a hit batter – to score the rest of the way.

Both teams finished round robin play with 3-1 records, but the Orioles beat the Waves 5-0 in round robin play to gain the top seed.

The Orioles flew past the Sacramento Stars 8-1 in the semifinals. Manager Matt SanFelippo was 4-for-4 in that contest. Meanwhile, the Waves bested the San Antonio Astros 5-4. Alex Alvardo had the game-winning hit for the Waves.

“We played real well,” said Matt SanFelippo of his squad, “but they were the better team today. There’s nothing else we could have done different,” he said, adding that they might up the dad count next time.

“I’m here with three sons, and my brother Steve has three sons. That’s eight players and only two Dads. We had 17 total players with just six dads, so the dads played a lot of innings. I played every inning of every game up until the final inning (in the final) when I finally sat out. It’s been rough on the dads and doubleheaders are not easy, he said.

Eight of the team’s 17 players were named SanFelippo, and many played key roles in the team’s success. Matt’s nephews Nick and Joel, and son Adam, all contributed mightily to the cause. “The top of the order was great. The kids really got us here and I’m not afraid to admit that,” Matt said.

The Orioles formed late in the summer and traveled to Chicago where they won a Father-Son tournament. “We decided to come here and play and did pretty well I think for being first timers.”

Even with the loss, Matt SanFelippo was counting his blessings. “There’s no better feelling than (playing with your kids.) It’s outstanding. Playing with these guys is the most fun I’ve ever had in baseball and I’ve been playing for years. ”

Esparza agreed. “There’s nothing like being out here with your son,” he said. “Nothing tops that. You could win many championships, but if you don’t share one with your son then you’re not really complete,” he added.