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2016 50+ Cactus ‘Ring’ Division

Auburn Braves 17, Long Island Yankees 0

‘Callahan Earns MVP Honors With Shutout’

By Jason Johnson, special to MSBL

October 21, 2016, Tempe Diablo Stadium, Tempe, Ariz. – The circus wasn’t in town but a “bus full of clowns” – as the Auburn Braves affectionately refer to themselves as – pulled into Tempe Diablo Stadium on Friday afternoon and were all business as they clinched their second consecutive World Series title in Arizona.

The core of the Braves team began playing together 18 years ago with another local team and they decided to branch off creating their own club and they’ve been together ever since. Manager Mike Baker says the most important thing a new player to the team needs to have is that they are fun to be with for three and a half hours.

“We’re a busload of clowns,” said Baker. “We don’t have any creepy ones but we’ve got happy and sad ones. There’s just a real unity here. We’re a team that plays together all year so we’re very close-knit.”

Starting pitcher and team MVP Terry Callahan wasn’t clowning around on the mound and spun a complete game shutout with some help from teammates who made several stellar defensive plays throughout the game. It was Callahan’s second complete game in as many days and third total for the tournament.

In the first two innings the Braves jumped out to an early 4-0 lead with RBI from Dave Everingham, Taylor Welz and John Daly. The lead gave Callahan a nice cushion allowing him to throw strikes and make the Yankees put the ball in play trusting his defense and they didn’t disappoint.

“I told the team that when they generate runs the way they do and play defense the way they do it makes my job easy,” said Callahan. “I can just go and put the ball in play and have confidence that these guys have my back.”

The offensive barrage continued in the fourth inning when the Braves blew the game wide open scoring eight runs. With one out Greg Yardley hit his second of three doubles in the game to drive in two. Yankees pitcher Jose Avila struck out Everingham for the second out and it looked like the Yankees were going to be able to get out of the inning with limited damage but the next eight batters would reach safely for the Braves to add on six more runs.

“We knew we needed to put the pedal to the metal because the Yankees are a good hitting ball club,” said Braves manager Baker. “We’ve played them a half dozen times and we just happened to catch them on an off day today.”

Yardley and John Daly were the stars at the plate for Braves combining to go nine for nine with six doubles, six RBI and six runs scored.

The Yankees struggled all afternoon to string together a rally. Frank Esposito was the only player in the Long Island lineup with a multi-hit game going two for three. Despite losing their third consecutive championship game in Arizona, the Yankees are still hungry for that title and said they will definitely be back to compete for another.

“I play for my passion for baseball and to stay in shape and we come to Arizona every year,” said Yankees manager Bernie Ellison. “We’ll be back.”

Pool Play

Long Island played to a 4-2 record in pool play earning a second-place spot in the division. Ellison said that not one particular player stood out as it was truly a team effort and everyone pitched in their part. Auburn went 5-1 during pool play to earn top honors in the division heading into the playoffs.

Playoffs

The Yankees played a double-header the day before the championship and outscored their opponents 40-7 in the two games to earn the berth to the championship game.

Auburn also played a double-header the day before the championship game and they defeated the Inland Angels in the second game 8-3 with Dave Kephart earning the win. Callahan pitched a complete game in the first game of the double-header and turned around to pitch a complete game shutout the next day in the championship.

 

2016 World Series

Division: 50 Cactus Upper Division

Venue: Tempe Diablo Stadium

Date: October 21, 2016

Team                                   1      2      3      4      5      6      7      8      9              R     H     E

Long Island Yankees         0      0      0      0      0      0      0      0      0              0      7      3

Auburn Braves                  2      2      0      8      3      0      2      0      X             17   21   1

Pitching Line:

WP:Callahan   LP: Esposito

2B:Yardley 3 (AB), Daly 3 (AB), Krantz (AB).

Leading Hitters: Auburn Braves – Yardley 4×4, 3 2B, 2 RBI, 4 R; Daly 5×5, 3 2B, 4 RBI, 2 R; Krantz 2×5, 2 RBI. Long Island Yankees – Esposito 2×3.

SB: Welz (AB)

Team LOB:Yankees 9, Braves 12

Time of Game: 2:40