Utah Pirates 7, Agua Dulce Reds 3
By Russ Christ, special to MSBLOctober 23, 2015, Maryvale Stadium (Phoenix, AZ) – Danny Pawelek is a pitcher. That’s an understatement. He’s a 6-4, 225-pound magician on the mound. He changes speeds, works the corners, possesses pinpoint control and appears to out think every batter.
The Utah Pirates’ righty, 63, hurled a complete-game gem to help his team defeat the Agua Dulce Reds 7-3 in the 50+ Central Division of the 28th annual MSBL World Series. It was familiar territory. Since 1994 Pawelek has won 17 MSBL championships with various teams.
Against the Reds, Pawelek, a pitching coach from Springville, Utah, scattered eight hits, struck out one and walked one. The three unearned runs he allowed in the ninth were the result of two hits and three infield errors. When Reds’ hitter Muncie Carillo grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game, the Pirates could finally relax after winning seven of eight games during the week.
“It would have been nice to get the shut out,” Pawelek said. “We’re a little disappointed, but it’s still good. It’s nice that MSBL allows us to play and live out our boyhood dreams.”
A former catcher who began competing in MSBL tournaments in 1994, Pawelek retired the side in order from the second to the fifth inning. The Pirates’ defense also turned a double play in the fifth to help the right hander.
Gary Firestone, manager of the Reds, had nothing but praise for Pawelek. “He’s my teammate in 60 and over and he’s probably one of the most amazing pitchers that comes to this tournament,” Firestone said. “He doesn’t put anything right down the middle of the plate. He throws sliders away, fastballs in on you. Plus, we made more errors today than we made all week and it cost us.”
Pawelek is used to being a workhorse for whatever team he joins. He pitched 39 of his team’s 48 innings in 2010 and recorded four wins.
For the Reds, who finished 7-1, Tony Corona had two hits and two RBI. Juan Avila had two hits. Brent McClintock was 2-4 with an RBI and Hector Zapata was 2-4 with two RBI to lead the Pirates. Dave Carter was 2-4 with a double for Utah.
Jose Magallon suffered the loss. He left the game after the Pirates scored four runs in the fourth to take a 5-0 lead.
Catcher Neal Warner had the key hit in the fourth, a single into center field that scored two. It gave his team a bigger cushion. “I had a chance to drive in a couple runs. I had two strikes on me and was able to hit it up the middle,” he said. “It was critical to get a lead and take the pressure off.” Chad Foster served as acting manager during the championship game for the Pirates. “It was a great team effort,” he said. “We had a couple guys go down. Our manager had to leave for his son’s wedding. I couldn’t be happier for these guys.”
Pawelek pitched 43 innings during the week, none more important than his final nine. “You really have to hide the ball from Danny,” Foster said. “He’ll throw all week if you let him. We had some key hits and played great defense until the last inning.” Warner, the Pirates’ catcher, was also effusive in his praise for Pawelek. “There is nobody like him,” he said.
Pirates 0 0 1 4 0 0 2 0 0 – 713 5
Reds 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 – 3 8 1
2B: D. Gibbon (Pirates), D. Carter (Pirates)
RBI: T. Corona (Reds), 2, N. Warner (Pirates), 2; B. McClintock (Pirates), 1; T. Campos (Pirates), 1; B. Hill (Pirates) 1; H. Zapata (Pirates) 2;
DP: Reds (1); Pirates (2)