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Don't Go Soft, Play Hardball!

2015 50+ American

Team Victory 4, Boston Wolfpack 2

‘Bons Leads the Way at the Plate’

By Jason Skoda, special to MSBL

October 23, 2015, Tempe Diablo Stadium – As ballplayers get older the swing may slow, but stays on the same plane usually. Even though a pitcher’s velocity certainly decreases over time the control and feel for pitches can usually be maintained with regular time on the mound. Defense deteriorates at a different, a seemingly quicker, pace. The routine play that used to get gobbled up is now a bang-bang play, balls that used to gloved in the hole now make it to the outfield and balls in the gap are no longer chased down. Just don’t tell that to Team Victory as they used great defense, especially in the 4-2 win in the 50 American MSBL World Series championship victory over the Boston Wolfpack at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

“We played great defense the whole week,” Victory manager Rafael Fuentes said. “That’s the one thing can really help or kill you. It was the difference in us.”

It was pretty clear in the win over the Wolfpack as Victory fielded everything clean as Fuentes continuously pitched to contact, getting one strike out, walked one, and let the defense do the work.

“We probably have six shortstops of this team,” Frank Bons said. “I’m serious when I say we have the best defense in the country in this age group. These guys make every play and at this level that means everything. You will a lot of games when you don’t give the opponent free bases.”

The Victory, which went 6-2 in the tournament, was able to play free and easy from the get-go as Bons hit a three-run, two-out double in the first inning to put the Wolfpack, who went 5-3 overall, in catch-up mode from the start.

“One two-out hit was the difference,” Wolfpack manager Dave Benedict said. “It was a well played game by both teams. They got that early lead and were never able to square it up.”

The Wolfpack, who have lost several times, including last year’s finals, to Victory, was able to add single runs in the second (Benedict RBI single) and ninth (Dean Borrelli RBI single) innings,, but never cashed in on potential rallies. One that really hurt came in the seventh when they worked two walks and with one out, Russ Ward hit ball that looked to find a spot behind first near the foul line but second baseman Bob Pone was able to use his range to track it down for the second out.

“Guys our age are not supposed to make that play,” said Bons, who was named team MVP. “That play saved us from some damage.”

Wolfpack starter Ray Chadwick took the loss, giving up three earned in two innings, while former major leaguer Dennis ‘Oil Can’ Boyd pitched six solid innings to keep Victory within reach. The damage had already been done and Team Victory, whose core players have been together about 10 years, brought home its fifth MSBL World Series ring.

“It never gets old,” said Bons, who has seven total rings. “This team did everything right and it paid off.”

Team                                 1      2      3      4      5      6      7      8      9              R     H     E

Boston Wolfpack              0      1      0      0      0      0      0      0      1              2      6      0

Team Victory                    0      0      3      0      2      0      0      0      0              4      5      0

Chadwick, Boyd (3) and See. Fuentes, Valencia (7), and Sanchez.

WP: Fuentes. LP: Chadwick

2B: Bell (TV); Bons (TV)

Leading Hitters: Wolfpack– Delgado 2×3, run; See 2×3, run; Bordelli 1×3, RBI; Benedict 1×3, RBI. Victory – Bons 1×3, 3 RBI; Love 1×3, run, RBI; Bell 1×3, run.

SAC: Benedict (BW)
LOB: Wolfpack 10; Victory 2.

Total game time: 3:03

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