25+ Wood Bat division
So Cal Angels 10, San Diego North Redbacks 2
By Britten Gerrard, for MSBLNational.com
PALM DESERT, CA, Jan. 20, 2014 – Shortstop Jason Brissey delivered a monster three-run triple in the seventh inning to lead the So Cal Angels to a 10-2 win over the San Diego North Redbacks and a Desert Classic 25+ Wood Bat Championship at Xavier Prep High School.
Up 4-2 heading into the seventh inning, John Ballard scored for the Angels after Ryan Keys was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Brissey then followed with the knockout punch as his three-run triple put the Angels ahead 8-2. The Angels added two more runs in the inning to take a commanding 10-2 lead which sealed the championship.
“It felt good to finally bust through,” Brissey said. “Both teams were putting a lot of guys on base and it was a good time to blow it open and relax a little bit and close the game. The bottom half of our lineup did a great job of getting on base.”
The Angels relied on just two pitchers over the weekend as Tony Baratelle and Brissey combined to allow just two runs and six hits while striking out seven in nine innings. Baratelle picked up the win.
A hardcore Seahawks fan, Baratelle admitted he celebrated a little too much the night before the final after Seattle beat the San Francisco 49ers to advance to the Super Bowl. However he was able to rally to help his team win the championship.
“I was tired and hung over and I didn’t have all my stuff, but I gave everything I could and got us through the five innings to set it up for Brissey,” Baratelle said. “It was a great weekend for me with my Seahawks going to the Super Bowl and winning this tournament with all my friends.”
In the big seventh inning, Ballard, Scott Ecker, Jared Callister and Keys all reached base before Brissey’s triple. After Brissey scored on a wild pitch, Ryan Benaboo walked before Tyler Mahon drove him in on an RBI-double for the sixth run of the inning.
“They (Redbacks) were pretty much done after that inning,” Baratelle said. “That put it away for us.”
Mahon added a solo blast over the right-center wall in the fourth inning as he finished with two runs and two RBIs for the Angels. Keys scored the first run of the game in the first inning while Payne crossed the plate in the second. Grey Holley added two RBIs.
The Angels finished 3-1 over the weekend to win the Desert Classic despite playing in the 25+ division with four players over the age of 40 and only four guys under 35.
“Despite our age we got the right combination of guys together and we were able to keep up with the young kids,” manager Ballard said. “We hit the ball well and our pitching was good. It’s a lot of fun playing with a bunch of guys who still love to play baseball.”
Brissey, who pitched the final four innings, said the entire team stepped up and rose to the occasion.
“Everybody played above their capabilities,” Brissey said. Our starting pitching kept us in a lot of games. When we’re able to click on all cylinders hitting-wise like we did in the seventh inning we’re a pretty tough team to beat.”
Walter Harrington and Jeff Fenster both scored on errors in the fifth inning for the Redbacks, however the San Diego-based squad struggled to generate any rallies. Chris Skaalen picked up the loss, allowing three runs and five hits in five innings.
The Redbacks finished 3-1 in tournament play, including rallying from a 4-0 deficit on Saturday after scoring five runs in the seventh inning. Pitcher Greg Walt allowed just one unearned run in the first game of the Desert Classic. The So Cal Angels finished 3-1.