2016 50+ American
New Jersey Reds 4, Long Island 1
‘MVP Boeckenstedt Stops Long Island on Compete Game’
By Andy Villamarzo, special to MSBL National
November 12, 2016, Clearwater, FL – Winning championships is no strange feeling for New Jersey Reds manager Andy Vazquez. So much so that the longtime MSBL manager has done it more than once. They have made the trip seven previous times and have come away with four rings. Saturday afternoon they added another feather to the cap, as the Reds used a big first inning to propel them to a 4-1 pitcher’s duel win over Long Island at the Carpenter Complex.
Vasquez coached his team to another successful season in the weather-friendly confines of Florida and returns to New Jersey with more hardware to add to his already impressive collection of national championships.
“Brad (Boeckenstedt) not only threw nine innings in this game, but he also threw 4.2 innings in the previous game. He was a battler today,” Vasquez said. “The team never quits. We have a very solid lineup from top to bottom, but when you play all week it starts to wear on the guys. (Long Island) played very well against us and they had an opportunity. Luckily we came away and became the winners.”
New Jersey got most of the runs they needed in the first inning, when they tagged three runs off of Long Island starting pitcher Rich Gosecki. From there, however, the Reds offense couldn’t kick itself into a higher gear and remained stagnant at the plate. The only other run New Jersey would end up mustering together was when Joe Rousso singled home Phil Forman and gave the Reds a commanding 4-0 advantage.
Pitching dominated the day between the neighboring state clubs, as Gosecki and Boeckenstedt, who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, both nearly went the distance in what both manager’s described as nothing other than a pitcher’s duel.
“(New Jersey) pitcher threw a good game,” Long Island manager Joe D’Andria said. “My pitcher just made a couple early mistakes. We misplayed a ball in the outfield and we just struggled to comeback from that. Both teams, basically after that initial first inning, had a tough time scoring runs. Both pitchers were on. Both teams were playing good defense. That’s the way this game is. You can’t make early mistakes and give extra outs because it’ll come back to haunt you. Total pitching duel.”
In the top of the ninth for Long Island, D’Andria had the meat of his lineup coming up to the plate and the results started to show not too long afterwards. Long Island was able to load up the bases against Boeckenstedt and the team’s No. 4 hitter, Bill Steele came up to the plate. On the very first pitch, Steele hit a deep fly ball to left field and that would become the third out and end the game, giving the Reds the 50-and-over national championship.
“I had all the right guys coming up,” D’Andria added. “Billy Steele hit the ball to the warning track, so I certainly had the right guy in at the right spot.”