Li La Vegas 13, North California Braves 9
‘Farano Leads Way in Marathon Victory’
By Rick Arbogast, special to MSBL
This championship game between Li-La Vegas and North California Braves in the Cactus lower division at Maryvale Stadium is a good example of two teams with character and perseverance. They had identical records of one win and five losses in pool play and had to draw on those same attributes in order to stay focused as, it took a total of 6 hours and 10 minutes to complete this game.
In the top of the first inning Ron Proctor led off for Vegas with a solid single and eventually scored on a single by Curtis Dancy. In the Braves half of the inning Jerry Lopez led off with a walk then stole second base and eventually scored on a sac fly off the bat of Tom McClain.
Moving to the top half of the fourth, Vegas scored two runs on a lead-off double by John Gilleres, followed by singles from Dan Farano and Dave Steere, a fielder’s choice off the bat of Ron Proctor and singles by Larry Goswick and Curtis Dancy. After a 2 hour and 5 minute rain delay that chased everyone from Maryvale, play resumed at Tempe auxiliary field #4 with Vegas up 3-1. Both teams had to dig deep to regain their focus as they continued their journey for the ring. Things heated back up in the fifth as Vegas right fielder Steve Jones singled to start the inning and Ian McMillan dropped down a nice bunt for a single. That set the stage for lead-off hitter Donnell Washington. He drove the ball to the right side for an RBI single and a 5 to 1 lead.
The Braves didn’t waste any time getting back into the game. After a 6-3 ground out, four singles in a row by Dave Sites, Jim Rini, Mark Stas and Will Bateson got the Braves right back in the game and knotted the score at five apiece. In the sixth, Vegas scored two more on a leadoff single by Ron Proctor followed by a triple off the bat of pitcher Larry Goswick for an RBI. With two outs, Coach and catcher Ed Jusino knocked a clutch RBI double to complete the scoring. Vegas was up 7 to 5 after six innings. In the top half of the seventh inning Vegas’ Greg Cole was inserted into the bottom of the order and with one out drew a base on balls followed by a single and a second base on balls. That brought up MVP Dan Farano, who delivered a bases clearing double. On the next pitch he stole third base and scored the fourth run of the inning on a single by Steere.
Farano later said, “We were kind of underdogs after losing five of our first six games. We were getting our butts kicked, but we kind of jelled and came back. Everybody pitched in. We won the last game in the last inning 16 to 15. We didn’t expect to be here but that’s how baseball is. Out here anybody can beat anybody and the tide just turned and everything we hit just dropped.”
Sites led off the bottom of the seventh for the Braves by getting hit by a pitch. A walk and an error loaded the bases and singles by Bateson and Pasillas scored two. A walk to the next batter prompted Vegas coach Jusino to bring in Steere. He gave up an RBI ground out to third and a fly out to left to end the inning with the score now Vegas 11, Braves 9.
After another 45 minute rain delay, Vegas scored two in the top of the ninth to finish the scoring, making the final 13 to 9 in favor of Vegas.
Coach Jusino was asked how it felt to be the coach of the World Series Champions. “Fantastic feeling. I just can’t describe it. The boys are a great group and we just feel wonderful, absolutely wonderful. I named Dan Farano the MVP because he was unbelievable with his hitting. The first game of the playoffs is where we just came together. We made errors and things happened but no moaning or complaining. Everybody just backed each other up. Great group of guys!”
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
LI-LA Vegas 0 1 0 2 2 2 4 0 2 13 18 4
North Calif Braves 0 1 0 0 4 0 4 0 0 9 9 3
WP:Larry Goswick LP: Toby Pasillas SV: none
3B: Vegas – Goswick
2B: Vegas – Gilleres, Jusino, Farano
Leading Hitters: Vegas – Farano 3×4, 4RBI’s, 2R, BB, SB; Washington 2×4, 2R, RBI, HBP; Goswick 2×3, RBI, BB; Dancy 2×3, RBI, SAC; Jones 2×3, R, HBP, Steere 2×4, RBI. Braves – Rini 2×3, 2R, 2BB, Bateson 2×5, 2RBI’s, R
SAC: Vegas – Dancy, Martin
SF: Braves – McClain
SB: Vegas – Gilleres, Farano. Braves – Lopez
Team LOB: Vegas – 14. Braves – 10
Time of Game: 3:28