2015 Desert Classic: 60+

Dodgertown West 11, Arizona Jays 2

‘Valle Earns Complete Game Victory’

By Lois Akahoshi and Tom Crompton, special to MSBL National

January 19, 2015, Palm Springs, CA-The 60+ championship game between the Arizona Jays and Dodger Town West was a match-up between two veteran Desert Classic Tournament teams. For the Jays this was their first championship game in their six visits to the Classic, while the Dodger’s have played ten previous Classics while winning two.

Both teams came into the championship with 3-1 records and the trophy appeared up for grabs. In the top of the first the Jays looked ready to go as they put four runners aboard. A Dodger error put their lead-off batter on then a double by Al Coughron and two singles, by Blair Hanna and Ron Oates, kept the inning alive. However, Dodgers pitcher Armando Valle limited the damage by allowing only one run to score.

In the bottom of the first the Dodgers took advantage of the two Jays miscues and rode an RBI single by Albert Ulibarri to tie the game.

To say that Dodger pitcher Valle settled in after the first inning would be an understatement, as the Jays were limited to a single by Armando Hurtado through the fifth inning. Solid defense by third baseman Ulibarri and shortstop Steve Ashman, along with several fine running catches by Dodger’s outfielders, continually thwarted the Jays offense.

Jay’s pitcher George Koras, also showing off his stuff through the first five innings, gave up only five hits and two runs. After five innings the Dodgers clung to a 2-1 lead.

The sixth inning saw both teams’ hitters come to life but Dodger pitcher Valle and the Dodgers’ stellar defense began to wear the Jays down. The Jays managed to plate a game tying second run with a base hit up the middle by Hurtado and an RBI single by Dick Woodward. That would be all the Dodgers would allow for that inning and the rest of the game.

In the bottom of the sixth the Dodgers capitalized on four hits. Back to back to back doubles by Dave Cripe, Rob Glushon and Ulibarri, mixed in with a walk and three Jay errors, enabled the Dodgers to score five runs. Jay’s pitcher Karos, who had thrown a 107 pitch complete game win in the semi finals, had given it all he had but the Dodgers finally wore him down with five runs in the sixth. Karos gave way in the seventh while Woodward and Ernie Barten finished up the game.

The Jays went down in order in the seventh and the Dodgers now had the luxury of facing a depleted Jays staff. The Dodgers sent eight batters to the plate and on three hits and two walks, scored four runs to take an eleven to two lead into the eighth.

Dodger Pitcher Valle was tiring but gave up only one hit and a walk the rest of the way. His final stats: two runs on eight hits, one walk and one strikeout. But his really astounding feat was his eighteen first pitch strikes.

The outstanding Dodger pitching and fielding, to go with an offense that produced eleven runs on thirteen hits, gave the Dodger Town West the Desert Classic 60+ championship.