Southern Wisconsin MSBL 35+ Division
Diablos 10, Latin Raiders 6
Submitted by Kevin Mack, Southern Wisconsin MSBL
Eight teams contended for the regular season crown in the 35+ division of the MABL of Southern Wisconsin 2014 edition. In the end co-champions were declared. Last year’s champions, the Diablos, won their first four games and moved out to a 10-1 record, seeking a wire-to-wire championship. The Pirates, however, after dropping their first two games, gelled around new pitcher Jay White and won ten straight, including the first of two games against the Diablos, moving into a percentage points league lead. That lead was short-lived, however, as the two teams met again the following Friday night to play their rain-out make-up and Andrey Hansbro staked out his claim as the league’s best pitcher, scattering six hits and shutting out the Pirates, 6-0.
The teams were then split into two four-team divisions for a round-robin tournament. It had been thought originally that if the regular season produced one champion and the tournament another the two teams would be matched in a final, ultimate championship game. Obviously the regular season co-champions rendered that scenario moot but the possibility remained for one of the two co-champions to claim the tournament crown and be ultimate champions.
True to form the Diablos emerged from their pool 3-0 but faced not the Pirates(1-2) but the Latin Raiders in the tournament championship game. 30 mph winds with temperatures in the low forties forced the postponement of the Friday night affair to Sunday afternoon.
The game began with the temperature a balmy fifty degrees with a steady wind. Welcome to October baseball! The Diablos scratched out a run in the bottom of the first when Chad Bieri’s single drove home Andrey Hansbro, who had led off with a single. The Latin Raiders came back strong with a four-run second inning off Hansbro, including a single by starting pitcher Oscar Gutierrez and an RBI double by Sixto Herrera. The Diablos chipped away with single runs in the second and third and took the lead for good with a four-run fifth. Shane Mesenberg, Tom Kersten and Chad Bieri hit consecutive singles in front of Scott Hmielewski’s three run homer. Hansbro held the Latin Raiders without a hit for the third through eighth innings, allowing a run in the eighth built around a pair of walks and a fielder’s choice ground ball.
The Raiders went down swinging in the ninth with back to back singles followed by back to back walks producing a run but Hansbro struck out two of the last three hitters and the Diablos had their tournament championship with a 10-6 victory.
Jay White led the league in wins with nine, strikeouts, innings pitched and complete games. Hansbro led in winning pct. (5-0) and ERA. On the offensive side, Shane Mesenberg of theDiablos led in total bases and RBI, Hansbro led in runs scored and Bill Nowak of the Home Brewers lapped the field in hit by pitches with nine (in just twelve games played, no less). Tom Kersten of the Diablos led with four home runs while three players managed three:Luis Tavarez of the Latin Raiders, Mesenberg, and Matt Kanters of the Madison Mariners.