2015 50+ National
“Bertrand’s Complete Game Seals the Deal”
Team Victory 11, Boston Wolfpack 1
By Dave Brunette, Team Victory manager, and Steve LaMontia, MSBL
Ali had his Frazier. Butch had Sundance. Team Victory has the Wolfpack. These two heavyweights know each other well and the respect runs deep both ways. Team Victory kept pounding and pounding on their way to scoring in each of the first six innings of the 50-over National championship game in Las Vegas. That makes it tough to combat if you’re trying to catch up. As it turned out, the Boston Wolfpack spent the entire game chasing Team Victory and could never close the gap as Team Victory piled it on with an unexpected 11-1 lopsided victory over the tournament-seasoned Wolfpack.
John Knoblauh, Frank Bons and Doug Thigpen all went 2 for 4 for Team Victory as they scored two in the first inning, one in the second, two in the third, two in the fourth, three more in the fifth and capped the scoring with one more run for good measure in the sixth inning. The Wolfpack finally got on the board with their lone run in the top of the ninth. Knoblauh and Thigpen scored twice as did John Love and John Murray.
Greg Bertrand threw a complete game for the victory but wasn’t at the top of his game. “Greg walked four and gave up nine hits but kept them off balance,” said manager Dave Brunette. “We know these guys very well and they are great hitters and battle every at bat.Thankfully Greg has a history of being tough on them so we had the right guy on the hill.”
Team Victory has won 18 of their last 26 overall tournaments since 2008 in the Desert Classic in Palm Springs, Las Vegas Kickoff Classic, Las Vegas Open and the World Series in Arizona and have the pedigree of a true championship contender, but the Wolfpack reputation also speaks for itself. This was a true national division match-up. “Some teams may start to relax after a big lead but the Wolfpack has a reputation of getting off the mat better than any team I know,” continued Brunette. “We knew we had to keep scoring because they were only one big inning away from scoring a lot of runs. We weren’t trying to pile on, we just knew we would need every one of those runs if not more.”
Dave Morrow was also the king of the hill by pitching complete games in the second and third games and only gaving up a total of four runs. The one-two punch at the top of the order, John Knoblauh and Bob Pone, stole a combined 11 bases to keep the pressure on the defense.
Team Victory started the tournament by dropping their first game 10-6 to the All-Star Baseball Academy, after being up 5-1. That was a wake-up call. “After that game everybody really got focused. Our bats got stronger as the tournament went on and thankfully we peaked at the right time to help Greg.”