|55+ MSBL Las Vegas Kickoff Classic Wood Bat Champion So Cal Fire
‘Martinez chucks and hits to lead the Fire’
So Cal Fire 17, Inland Empire 9
By Tom Taylor, for MSBLNational.com
Las Vegas, Nevada, March 3, 2014 – The Inland Empire Angels and the So Cal Fire, two familiar, Southern California-based foes faced off in the 55-and-over finals, but unlike their first meeting of the tournament which ended in a 2-2 tie, this game would yield a winner.The high powered Fire offense continued its domination of the 55+ Wood Bat Division by scoring 17 Runs and defeating a pesky Inland Empire Angels team that did not quit until the last out was made.
Center fielder and lead-off hitter Kevin Fidler had four hits, two RBI and three steals, and Larry Phipps had two hits and scored twice for Ted Poleto and Bill Hart’s Angels.
The Fire scored multiple runs in every other inning and were led by their starting pitcher and lead-off hitter Al Martinez who reached base four times in five tries, stole three bases and scored three times.
Outfielder/Pitcher Manny Ocampo reached base three times in five tries, scored four times (once as a courtesy runner), and played great defense in right field.
The big blows came with men on base. Outfielders Mike Santonino and Jeryl Thompson, and infielder Peter Funt each had three RBI.
The rest was up to starting pitcher Al Martinez who cruised through five innings, and fought through the final four. He scattered 14 Hits, four earned runs, four strikeouts and a single walk.
So Cal’s Field General Ron Lovell proclaimed his tournament MVP’s would be his entire Pitching Staff — Al Martinez, Mike McCormick, Tom Worth, Manny Ocampo and Dave Rackliffe – as his tournament MVP’s. Those hurlers tossed five complete games in three days. Duke Pullman, the Fire’s vocal leader, caught all five games for the champions.
It was a total team effort, Lovell said. “I couldn’t be prouder of my guys, and always look forward to playing tournament baseball in Las Vegas.”
The two teams have met in both league play and in several MSBL tournaments over the past years.