Team Puerto Rico 14, Philadelphia-Chicago Coalition 6
‘Martinez Perfect at the Plate: Named MVP’
By Andy Villamarzo, special to MSBL National
Dunedin, FL., November 5, 2016 – The first inning was about the closest frame of the entire contest in the 55-and-over ‘wind jacket’ championship game played Saturday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. With both teams making far trips to play in Florida, many on hand expected a tightly contested game.
Team Puerto Rico after the opening frame went on to scatter 12 runs over the next seven innings of play to easily get by Philadelphia-Chicago Coalition 14-6. Puerto Rico amassed 22 hits and took advantage of three errors made by Philadelphia-Chicago. In a game where Puerto Rico led by as many as 10 runs at one point, Philadelphia-Chicago was never able to fully regain its footing after the initial 2-2 tie.
“There was a lot of work done in Puerto Rico and finally we put it all together,” Puerto Rico coach Orlando Garcia said. “At this age, putting a team together and getting everything is very, very difficult. In our case, we come from Puerto Rico where everything is already difficult for us. We went through a lot to be here and we’re happy to come home with a championship.”
Everything started off great for Philadelphia-Chicago in the top of the first inning, as Larry Greenwich singled home two runs to give the Coalition a 2-0 lead. Puerto Rico matched their opponent’s opening frame with a couple runs of its own to tie the game up at 2-all. From there, it was practically all Puerto Rico.
Over the next seven innings of play, Puerto Rico would ahead and score multiple runs in five of the frames, including six runs between the fourth and fifth. Garcia named Victor Martinez the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and for very good reason. Martinez’s play on Saturday was near perfect for Team Puerto Rico, going 4-for-4, with four singles on the day.
“I believe I was named MVP because I came through in the clutch the whole day and all tournament,” Martinez said. “It was very tough and a sacrifice for everyone to make this happen. Our goal is to come back here next season and win another championship.”
The Coalition tried to make things interesting in the top of the eighth inning, when Philadelphia-Chicago were able to plate Larry Bowstring and Don Cooper and cut Puerto Rico’s seemingly large deficit down to 12-6. Garcia’s club made sure there would be no comeback attempt, as they scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth to make the game out of reach.
“I think their pitcher got in a groove,” Philadelphia-Chicago coach Bob Brown said. “The first inning, we were aggressive, but then in the second was different. I thought we could make a comeback, but they were taking it easy on us. I was extremely proud of the guys. We came down here with six pitchers, five of which I’ve never seen pitch before. Great bunch of guys. What more can you ask for.”