Red Deer Legends 20, Tortuga Solons 2

‘Pauley Leads the Legends with Four-Hitter’

By Jason Johnson, special to MSBL

Cubs Park, November 8, 2014 – With snow in the forecast for Red Deer, Canada, the bats for the Legends heated up in Arizona resulting in a 26-hit assault en route to a 20-2 victory over the Tortuga Solons in the 60 Cactus Division Championship on Saturday at Cubs Park. In addition to the hit barrage, the Legends received a four-hit complete game performance from starting pitcher Steve Pauley.

Early on it looked like the Solons would take control when Phil Gunter scored from third on a double steal initiated by Dave Garver when he broke for second base. The Legends, managed by Lyle Lorenz, responded with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the first inning stealing the momentum from the Solons. Pauley settled down in the second inning and Red Deer answered again with six more runs and never looked back.

“The boys came out to win this one,” said Lorenz. “The hitting was tremendous and we got super pitching from Steve Pauley who pitched a complete game. All in all it was good defense, good hitting and good pitching. What more can you ask?”

In what was the most complete game put together by the Legends all tournament they received valuable contributions from leadoff hitter Ron Unrau, Don Bonham and Hugh Heintz who all scored three runs each. In addition to the three runs, Unrau reached base safely for all five of his plate appearances.

Red Deer also received clutch hitting from Doug Zimmer, Ron Zimmer and Blair Hanna who each drove in three runs.

The Tortuga Solons, who hail from New Mexico and Sacramento, were led throughout the tournament by Dave Garver and Dan Wukmir. Wukmir’s tournament performance included two inside the park homers in one game.

After struggling for several years the Sacramento team and the New Mexico team merged and last year they made it to the championship. Unfortunately for the Solons they were unable to pull it out, but after back-to-back appearances they are looking forward to returning and continuing to compete at a high level.

“We found this nice mix of great ballplayers who are great guys,” said Solons manager Gerhardt Horstman. “That’s what this is all about. I’m walking out with a smile on my face”

After losing their first game in pool play the Legends turned in around to win their next five finishing with a 5-1 record heading into the playoffs.

“Our pitching and defense were awesome in pool play,” said Lorenz. “We averaged less than four runs against in pool play so that tells the story with our pitching and defense.”

During pool play the Tortuga Solons played to a 5-1 record tying the Legends for first place. Since the two teams did not play in pool play the Legends earned the first seed by having fewer runs against.

In the semifinals the Legends extending their winning streak defeating the Long Island Athletics 7-2 behind a strong pitching performance from Doug Springford, who notched the complete game victory.

The Tortuga Solons met their match during the semifinals when they battled to a 7-6 victory over the Fresno Grizzlies with a walk off hit in the bottom of the ninth from Jay Meyers.