Southern Wisconsin MSBL/MABL 45+ Division

Grays 5, Crawfords 3

By Kevin Mack, Southern Wisconsin MSBL

The 45+ championship was decided on the last day of the season between the Grays and the Crawfords. The Grays would be champions if they won either of two games scheduled for that day. The Crawfords would be champions if they won both.

Dave Keene took the mound for the Grays in game one and worked a scoreless first inning allowing one hit, a single by Eric Selje. In the bottom of the first Dave’s brother-in-law Andy Sutherland led off with a single. Matt Varney followed with a single and Dave drove them both home with his first triple of the season. Tom Hopkins, Dan Ketter, Kevin Mack and Glenn Griffin each followed with singles for two more runs, staking Keene to a 4-0 lead.

The Crawfords battled back, scoring a run in the third on hits by John Snitka, Tom Day and Doug Rosenberg and adding two in the fourth when Tony Barone and Sean Michael Dargan scored ahead of Scott Jennings’ two run single.

With the lead cut to one run Keene and the Grays stranded a pair of Crawford runners in the fifth and Keene led off the bottom half with a base hit, coming around to score on Dan Ketter’s single. Keene then retired the Crawfords in order in the sixth and stranded Snitka, whose lead-off double was the Crawfords last meaningful hit of the season, in the seventh.

The Grays won 5-3 to claim their first league crown!

League recap: by Kevin Mack

One word can describe the 45+ division of the MABL of Southern Wisconsin, and that word is ‘balance.’ Two seasons have now been completed and all three teams have won 13 games and lost 13 games. The Crawfords finished at 6-6 and repeated their second place finish in 2014, while the Bears dropped to 5-7, with the Grays (7-5) claiming the pennant after finishing third last season. Highlights for the Grays included an at times all left-handed infield (including catcher) and a battery (for two innings) featuring 78 year old Milt Friend pitching to 67 year old Bob Bezzi.

Some league leaders were Eric Selje of the Crawfords, most hits and most runs, 21 and 17, Bill Nowak of the Crawfords, most runs and RBI, 17 and 15, Keith Richley of the Crawfords, total bases, 25, and Dave Weidenhamer, also of the Crawfords, a 1.280 OPS.

Jim Wichern of the Bears led in steals with 10 (in just nine games), and his teammate Bruce McNeill was second in batting average at .536, while Grays rookie (and lefty shortstop) Tom Hopkins led in triples with two. Also contributing mightily to the Grays first place finish were Dan Ketter, third in batting average with a lofty .528, third in hits with 19, third in RBI driving in 11 and steady as a rock at first base. Starting catcher Dave Keene also pitched a complete game, a pennant clinching win on the season’s last day while his daughter got married in an outdoor ceremony on the other side of the outfield fence during a Grays game. The Grays won that game while Dave attended the wedding but he kept an eye on his team!

Division vice president Sean Michael Dargan says to expect a fourth team next season …