Waikiki Beach Boys 13, Rochester Red Wings 8

MVP Flores Hits and Runs Beach Boys to the Title’

By Russ Christ, special to MSBL

All good teams typically have a catalyst at the top of the order. Meet Jorge Flores. He’s 52. He’s a dispatcher for a transportation company. And he’s fast.

Flores, the MVP, center fielder and lead-off hitter, went 4-4, stole four bases and scored three times to lead the Waikiki Beach Boys to a 13-8 win over the Rochester Red Wings in the 50 Central Division championship.

For Gary Firestone, the manager of the Waikiki Beach Boys, the old proverb the “third time’s a charm” rang true at the 29th MSBL World Series.

This year marked the third consecutive time a team he managed advanced to the final game. With losses in 2014 and again last year, Firestone thought he might be due, so he changed the name of the team (he lived in Hawaii for over a decade) and the uniforms.

Thanks to Flores, a potent offense, his best pitcher, and close wins in round robin action, Firestone’s Los Angeles-based team walked off the baseball diamond at Maryville Baseball Park in Phoenix with a ring.

“It feels a lot better than losing,” Firestone said. “This is my 29th year and I’ve won quite a few championships, but this is my most enjoyable win because of these guys. Every game we played in round robin was a close one. Last year we blew teams out and fell apart in the championship. This year was the opposite. These guys like getting dirty. They play hurt. My second baseman broke his finger in the second inning and wouldn’t let me take him out. He just sucked it up and played the game.”

Flores, who singled four times, led the charge. “It was a team effort to win this game,” Flores said. “I want to thank all the guys. It’s about time we won. It feels beautiful. It’s a monkey off my back.”

Firestone was proud of the fact that he spent .99 cents on the Waikiki uniform jerseys, a deal he found online, but he was equally impressed with the victory.

Waikiki jumped out to an 8-1 lead after four innings, but Rochester scored twice in the seventh and added four in the eighth after the Beach Boys scored four runs in the seventh.

Flores realized Rochester was tough. “You have to give credit to the Red Wings. All the teams in this tournament fight back and it’s never over until the 27th out,” Flores said.

Firestone also got a great game from his ace, Tony Covarrubias, a right- handed, side arm pitcher. He scattered 15 hits, struck out five and threw all nine innings to earn the win.

Red Wings starter Ron Watson, who gave up eight earned runs in four innings, suffered the loss. “It was an awesome game and we’re happy with the result. It was a pleasure to be out here,” Covarrubias said. “My respect to Rochester. They have a good club, a good hitting team.”

Both Flores and Firestone said the win wouldn’t have happened without their pitcher, who allowed two unearned runs through six. “Tony is our ace,” Flores said. “We knew he would finish it.” “He has pitched for me for the last 12 years,” Firestone said. “He’s the best pitcher I got.”

They key inning may have been the seventh, when Brian Dominguez singled and Jose Castanon doubled to start a four-run rally. Four hits later, including RBI singles by Flores and Emilio Benevides, the Beach Boys led 13-4. Maurico Carrillo went 3-4 for the Beach Boys, while teammates Jose Ibarra and Dominguez had two hits.

Jay McAndrews was 3-4 with two RBI, Ken Shaw was 2-3, Rob Rusch was 2-4 with an RBI and Joe Ferrando was 2-4 with an RBI for the Red Wings.

Waikiki finished 7-2 on the week while the Red Wings, managed by Vern VanSkiver, ended the week with a 5-4 record.