L.A. Athletics 20, Greenwood Ridge Dragons 5

‘Athletics Dominance Too Much To Overcome’

By Lois Akahoshi and Tom Crompton, special to MSBL

Tempe Diablo Stadium, November 8, 2014–The 60+ Wood Mountain championship game between the Greenwood Ridge Dragons and the L.A. Athletics had the makings of a high scoring affair. The two teams had rolled into the championship by different ways.The Athletics (5-1 pool play) by pounding their opponents, and the Dragons (4-2 pool play) winning close games. The Athletics won the championship game 20-5 by continuing their torrid hitting and with their great performances on the mound.

Through two and a half innings both Dragons’ pitcher Mike Anderson and Athletics pitcher John Arnold seemed to be in control with the Dragons holding a 2-1 edge. A two RBI base hit by Larry Hendrickson in the second inning gave the Dragons the early lead.

The Athletic’s hitters got hot quickly after that. After their one run in the second, they plated three in the bottom of the third on hits by Billy Cocchia and Vernon Wells, sandwiched around a walk by Mike Thatcher, and followed by a bases clearing double by Dave Howard. The Athletics had the lead, 4-2, which they never gave back.

An inning later saw the Athletics strike again for four more runs with Thatcher driving in two with a double in the left center gap. The Athletics pitcher Arnold kept the Dragon hitters off balance through four innings. The Dragons showed some life in the fifth when hits by Ernie Barten, Jim Hurt and Mark Fess, and a hit batsman and an Athletics error, produced three runs.The threat was ended by an impressive diving catch by center fielder Mike Thatcher.

A pitching change by the Athletics in the sixth brought in Danny Pawelek, sealing the Dragon’s fate. Pawelek allowed only two hits and two walks in his four innings of work and also collected two hits of his own at the plate.

Into the seventh inning the game was relatively close, 9-5 Athletics, but the Athletics changed that in a big way. They sent 17 batters to the plate, ripped 13 hits and scored eleven runs. The first three hitters of the inning set the tone of things to come. Vernon Wells started with a double, Wes Thomas followed with a single and then a double by Howard started the onslaught which when done had the Athletics up 20-5. With only six outs to go the Dragons had run out of time.

The Athletics 60 Wood championship game was a team effort with contributions by too many to mention but some notable performances are as follows: Athletics pitching duo, Arnold and Pawelek, held the Dragons to five runs on nine hits. Athletics hitters gave their pitchers all the support they needed with Cocchia going 3×4, three runs, one RBI, Thatcher 3×4, three runs, 3 RBIs, Wells 3×5, three runs, one RBI and Howard 3×4, one run and five RBIs.

Defensive Gamebreaker: Athletics center fielder, Mike Thatcher, diving catch to end the Dragon’s fifth inning rally.

Offensive Gamebreaker: Billy Cocchi leading on the field by doing what he loves.