Santa Rosa Rosebuds 5, MSL All Stars 3
‘Rosebuds Win First Trophy for Wildfire Victims’
By Jason Johnson, special to MSBL
October 22, 2017, Hohokam Stadium, Mesa, Ariz. – With wildfires threatening their neighborhoods and businesses back home the Santa Rosa Rosebuds made the trip to Arizona with more than baseball on their minds. Santa Rosa was missing six players who stayed home to assist their families in defending and recovering from the blaze and every member of the team knows someone that was impacted by the fires.
“For the last couple of weeks we’ve been dealing with the fires up north and we’ve got people on the team that have lost their homes and some of the guys don’t have a place to work when they get back home because the places they work at burned down,” said Rosebuds manager Mike Miller.
As firefighters battled the inferno back home under the smoke-filled sky the players from Santa Rosa that were able to make the trip to Arizona felt fortunate enough just to breathe clean air.
“To be honest, just being able to come here and breathe fresh air is a relief for us and being able to play in the championship with Santa Rosa on our back is awesome,” said Miller. “Some of these guys made some really big sacrifices just to get here because the fire is still burning.”
Backup shortstop and one of the team leaders, Nate Wall, had a hard time holding back the tears before the game when asked about what a championship would mean for him this year.
“Indescribable. Just winning for us would be a monkey off our back,” said Wall. “But to bring that little bit of hope home would be good. I barely made it out because of my family members’ houses and places where I grew up at. We’re just trying to enjoy this because tomorrow we go back to reality.”
In the previous three years the Rosebuds played in the championship game only to come up empty handed and that wasn’t going to be an option for them in 2017. Santa Rosa struck first when Justin Wade drove in Dominick Palumbo with a sacrifice fly in the second inning.
“Our second-place shirt was getting kind of old and the plaques in my room aren’t as pretty,” laughed Miller.
The All Stars responded in the third inning when Geno Aielli hit a two-run double to put them ahead.
Their lead proved to be short-lived when the Rosebuds answered with three runs in the bottom of the third led by a Sammy Bruno RBI double. The two-run cushion was just enough to give Rosebuds starting pitcher Mike Miller some breathing room as he retired the next six batters.
The All Stars fought back in the seventh inning when Cody Gustafson drove in Dan Miller with a single to pull them within one. With two outs and the bases loaded the Rosebuds turned the ball over to relief pitcher Palumbo who was able to get a groundout to preserve the lead and end the inning.
In the bottom of the eighth inning the Rosebuds added an insurance run when Jerod Lunardi hit a double to left field driving in Bruno. Palumbo retired the All Stars in order in the ninth striking out two earning the save.
While the city of Santa Rosa rebuilds homes and businesses they can be proud of their Rosebuds who were able to bring home their first trophy from Arizona. The MSBL World Series provided a brief escape for a team that’s very proud of their hometown. If the rest of the city is as resilient as the Rosebuds, the city will rise from the ashes like the Phoenix – also the namesake of the city where they had a run for the ages to capture their first championship.
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
MSL All Stars 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 5 2
Santa Rosa Rosebuds 0 1 3 0 0 0 0 1 X 5 6 0
WP:Miller LP: Chenoweth S: Palumbo
2B:Aielli (MSL), Bruno (SR)
Leading Hitters: All Stars – Aielli 2×3, 2 RBI; Gustafson 1×2, RBI; Rosebuds – Bruno 2×4, 2R, RBI; Palumbo 1×3, R, RBI; Lunardi 1×2, RBI.
SF: Wade (SR)
HBP: Esparaza (MSL), Aielli (MSL), Lunardi 2 (SR), Muniz (SR)
SB: Chenoweth (MSL), Miller (MSL), Muniz (SR)
Team LOB: All Stars 7, White Sox 7
Time of Game: 2:30