2014 Houston Hardball League Crowns Spring Champs

Submitted by Joe Banasik, Houston Hardball League president

Diablos 4, Colt 45’s 1…30+

As the last seed in the 30+ Division Spring Tournament, the Diablos were the unlikely favorites to win the spring season. But don’t tell them that! With determination and mostly flawless play, the Diablos went undefeated in the winners bracket sending everyone in their path packing. The originally scheduled championship game was rained out in the third inning but after a reschedule and getting the team prepared once again, manager Aaron Swarts and the Diablos were ready. They jumped on the Colts early on 1-0 and then scored three more runs late. Despite a ninth inning surge by the Colts, the Diablos held on using a total team effort including a complete game pitched by Zach Parks. Congratulations to the Diablos, they are the 2014 30+ Division Spring Champions!

Front L-R: Greg Olmstead, Nate Cano, Robbie Fleeger, Brad Pettit, Randy Reyes Back L-R: Henry Martinez, Don Noftsier, Alex De Las Cuevas, Tony Rose, Russ Pharris, Ruben Solis, Steve Jacobs, Brian Erickson

Contributed by Don Noftsier, Colt 45’s manager

The Colt 45’s opened the season with a 13-5 win over the Diablos, then the next six games we went 1-5. We finished strong, going 6-1-1 over the last eight games, which included another victory over the Diablos 11-7.

We opened the playoffs with a 13-3 win over #4 seed Yankees, then we went on to beat the #1 seed HBC by 8-5, setting up another game versus the Diablos, which we lost 13-7 sending us to the losers bracket to face the #3 seeded Texas Thunder. We won that game 19-0 for the right to play the Diablos for the championship. Our first attempt was rained out so after a week’s rest we went into the championship game confident.

The game was played at 1:00 p.m. at Lamar High School and it was a very close game. Going into the late innings the Diablos had a couple of timely hits and I made a managerial decision to intentionally walk a batter, playing the odds. The outcome was not what I had hoped for. We were able to plate one run and had men on base, however the game ended with a infield fly giving the victory to the Diablos, 4-1.

A’z 6, Forty-Fives 5…45+

Front Row: (L-R) Ward Brigham, Paul Mancillas, Jon Meyers, Don Lostak, Nate Wishnow Back Row: (L-R) Gordon Boswell, Scott Cobb, Joe Holloway, John Reiter, Jay Henderson, Jason Forks, Marvin Keller, Ron Hilburn Not Pictured: Lester Beaird, Joey Martinez, Shaun Coleman

The Houston A’z won their second championship in three years by defeating the Forty-Fives, 6-5, in the 2014 Spring Post-Season tournament. The A’z were down 4-1 early on, but chipped away and took the lead in the 6th thanks to an RBI double by Marvin Keller. Marvin also pitched 8 innings, retiring 14 of the last 16 batters he faced. While the Forty-Fives tied the game in the top of the 9th, Jay Henderson was the walk-off hero with his two-out, RBI single in the bottom of the 10th. Congratulations to managers Shaun Coleman and Gordon Boswell and the Houston A’z. They are the Spring 2014 45+ Division Champions!Tigers 11, Colts 3…55+

The Tigers defeated the Colts by the score of 11-3 to win the first ever 55+ Division Championship. This division was new for 2014 and with four teams made up of mostly long-time veteran players, anyone could win it. It took a solid Tigers offensive effort and five great innings pitched by Wayne Hook followed up by Joe Ainsworth to close it up. Congratulations to manager Steven Carter and the Tigers. They are the 2014 Spring Season 55+ Division Champions!

Rockies 9, Eagles 0…Open Division

After the Eagles soundly won Championship game one giving the Rockies their first loss in the double elimination tournament, they bounced back in game two with a solid 9-0 victory. Steve King pitched 5 2/3 innings to get the win while Bryan Swinford and Luke Prihoda contributed with two RBIs each. This Championship marks the 25th title during the Rockies dynasty dating back to its first championship in 1991 (Twins). Congratulations to Steve Folk and the Rockies. They are the 2014 Open Division Spring Season Champions!

Bayou Blaze 7, Zephyrs 2…North Houston Wood Bat

Contributed by Joe Banasik, Houston Hardball League president

TheBayou Blaze are back on top once again in the North Houston Wood Bat League. An all too familiar dominant pitching performance by Ryan Miller led the way as Miller carved up the Zephyr lineup with six innings of three-hit baseball yielding just one earned run and striking out six. He was relieved by Tommy Rozell who fired three hitless innings of his own. Offensively, the scoring began with a scorching RBI single down the left field line by Zach Sonnier followed by a two-RBI single to right field by Blaze catcher, Kevin Poppe.

That is all the Blaze would need, but the offense didn’t stop there. Tommy Rozell tacked on a couple more in the fifth with a deep, two-RBI double to left field. When all was said and done, the Bayou Blaze captured their third league championship with a score of 7-2. Congratulations to the Bayou Blaze. They are the 2014 North Houston Spring Season Champions!