San Antonio Broncos 14, Austin Express 5

‘Sandate Pitches and Hayes Hits for First Time Title’

By Jim Richards, special for MSBL

Tempe, Ariz., Angels #6, Friday, October 31, 2014–Richard Sandate probably had flashbacks of his time with the Toledo Mudhens in 1975 as he labored into the ninth inning of Friday’s 65 Wood Bat Mountain title game at the Tempe Diablo Sports Complex. “This was the longest I’d pitched since 1989,” said Sandate, who allowed three runs over 8 2/3 innings of the San Antonio Broncos’ 14-5 victory over long-time rivals Austin Express to win their first title.

Sandate was brilliant through eight shutout innings before, as he called it, he “ran out of gas” in the ninth inning. The Broncos rolled up a 14-0 lead behind lead-off hitter Melvin Hayes’ five hits and No. 3 hitter Emerson Hayes’ (no relation) six RBI. Sandate, a left-hander, was awarded San Antonio’s Most Valuable Player for his efforts while pitching two games for San Antonio in the playoffs. He also chipped in two of San Antonio’s 24 hits on the afternoon. “I just couldn’t get my fastball over,” Sandate said.

San Antonio coach Jim Gutierrez allowed Sandate to remain in the game to see if he could preserve the shut out. He removed Sandate after Jack Alberty scored on a bases-loaded fielder’s choice grounder off the bat of Gilbert Cortez. Malcolm Latham belted a two-run, inside-the-park homer to right field off of reliever Benito Orellana, who finally put out the late Austin five-run uprising.

“They never give up,” Gutierrez said. “(Austin has) a good team.” Gutierrez said Austin had been beating San Antonio over recent years but his Broncos turned the tables with two wins over their rivals this season, including Friday’s title win. “This is the first time we’ve beaten them and we beat them twice,”Gutierrez said. “It’s wonderful. The guys worked really hard and played through some injuries.”

San Antonio hit Austin right-hander Jerry Davis for four runs in the first, with two coming in on Emerson Hayes’ triple to center field and single RBI by Ken Colin and Jody Gomez. Emerson Hayes delivered a two-run double in three-run fourth and a two-run single in a four-run fifth as San Antonio opened a 12-0 lead after five.

Emerson Hayes had won last season in a different division with the San Antonio Rangers.”I always try to do the same thing when I go out,” he said. “I don’t do anything fancy.” Colin had five four hits for San Antonio and Gomez and Bob Bezzi had three apiece, more than enough for Sandate, who worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam unscathed in the seventh.

Sandate pitched for Major League pitcher turned manager turned U.S. Senator Jim Bunning in 1975 with Toledo, the Class Triple A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. His teammates included big leaguers Willie Hernandez, John Vukovich, Alan Bannister and Jerry Martin.

He also pitched professionally in Mexico with Sabinas, Yucatan, Poza Rica, Mexico City, Aguascalientes, Compeche and Monclova, in his final professional year in 1987. “Whether you win in the World Series or one of these, you want to win either one,” he said.