DC MSBL 45+ Division
Potomac River Bandits 4, Rangers 1
Submitted by Dan Florio, Potomac River Bandits
The Potomac River Bandits swept the Rangers in the finals of the DCMSBL 45+ division, extending their championship run to five seasons. Entering the playoffs with a 10-2 record, the Bandit offense roared in an 18-2 first round playoff win against the DC Express, a 19-11 slugfest in the semifinal game against Luis Aparicio’s White Sox, and in an 11-3 win in the first game of the best of three championship series against the Rangers. The Bandits completed the sweep with a hard fought 4-1 thriller.
The final game pitching matchup pitted two grizzled veterans with championship studded careers, Ranger Barney Owens and Bandit Dave “Tuna” Thune. Owens was working on a mere 36 hours of rest after pitching his 55 plus team into the finals with a nine inning shutout two nights before. Tuna was the starter and winning pitcher in the Bandits’ first round game before getting the hook after 5 innings, and netted a win in relief by putting down the White Sox insurrection in the semifinal round.Owens and Tuna locked horns for three scoreless innings, both escaping scoring threats with clutch pitches to dangerous hitters. The Bandits broke through with an unearned run in the fourth when Rick “The Neck” Fleming led off with a double, was moved to third on Frank “Fresh” Cappello’s ground single to right, and scored on an error.
The Rangers scaled Tuna for an unearned run of their own when Pete Jones led off the fourth with a walk, got to third on a stolen base and passed ball, and scored on Owens’ RBI ground out. The Bandits squeaked across a go ahead run in the fifth as Owens finally started to show some fatigue. Mike “Mac” McGlaughlin scored on The Neck’s ground out after the bases were loaded on walks.
Tuna wiggled out of trouble in the fifth and sixth, twice stranding the tying run in scoring position. With Owens giving way to the bullpen after five innings of work, the Bandits pushed across two insurance runs in the top of the seventh on a two RBI single by Fresh that was set up by a walk and Mac’s soaring double. Tuna canned a final Ranger rally, as he caught the potential tying run fishing for strike three to end the game. With his third win of the week Tuna reeled in the tournament MVP award.
The five year run of championships ties the longest streak in DCMSBL’s 27 year history. The Bandits’ formula for success has been a combination of various joint replacements and other advanced medical procedures, a continued influx of extremely talented “youngsters”, and the ability to get an unusually diverse set of characters pulling in the same direction on and off the field. Bandits who have participated in all five championship seasons are Luis Andrade, Frank Cappello, Manager Bill Chew, Bill Chichester, Jay Dennis, Dan Florio, Mike McGlaughlin, Matt Mohay, Mark Shifflett, Luke Thayer and Dave Thune.