LA Athletics 10, St. Paul Saints 4
By Russ Christ, special to MSBL
October 27, 2017, Maryvale Stadium, Phoenix, AZ-Heavily favored, undefeated, and with its ace, Danny Pawelek, on the mound, there was little chance the LA Athletics would lose. And they didn’t. Pawelek threw a complete-game, seven hitter to lead the Athletics past the St. Paul Saints 10-4 in a 65 plus American division championship game in the 30th annual MSBL World Series. The contest took place at Maryvale Baseball Park in west Phoenix, Spring Training home of the Milwaukee Brewers. LA finished the week 6-0.
A workhorse in every sense of the word, Pawelek is a rare pitcher. Whatever team he’s on, the tall right-hander will gladly complete games several times a week if needed. “This week I only threw 21 innings,” Pawelek said. “Last year I averaged 25 innings over six weeks of this stuff, so I’m pretty well rested.”
Of course, Pawelek needed help and got it, especially from his stingy defense and battery mate, Bob Quick, who was named MVP. Pawelek was quick to point out that he couldn’t have beaten the Saints without his catcher. “Bobby Quick caught every game,” he said, “and we’ve been doing this for a lot of years, so I don’t have to think too much. That’s my danger, when I think. And it’s a lot of fun being in a familiar place like Maryvale.”
Quick earned MVP honors largely for his commitment with Sherwin’s pitching staff. Behind the plate for nearly every inning during the A’s unblemished run, he prepared for the tournament by doing squats. “I try to get down in a catcher position, get up and throw and do 125 a day,” Quick said, “and that gets me in shape. Plus, in a game like this I know what Danny throws and how he throws, so that helps. He did a great job out there.”
Mike Denevi, batting in the three hole, was 4-4, scored three times and had two RBI for LA. He had plenty of help. Al Alt, Pawelek, Jack Charles and Craig Aramaki had two hits apiece for the Athletics, who jumped out to a 3-0 first-inning lead and led 7-0 after the fourth. Four of the first five A’s batters singled in the first. Aramaki, Denevi and Pawelek, who drove in two runs, singled in the fourth. There were no extra base hits in the game and five double plays.
“It was my first time playing 65’s,” Denevi said. “We had a great group of guys. Danny won three games for us and could have easily been a co-MVP. He’s a force.”
Sherwin has experienced as much success in the MSBL World Series as any manager, winning 25 rings. “They are a good team,” Sherwin said, “and Danny pitched how I expected Danny to pitch. It got a little shaky there in the last inning, but we had great defense all week and we hit when we needed to. We had quality pitching and great fielding and that’s what we needed.”
Pat Thompson, who managed the Saints (4-3), wasn’t surprised with the outcome. “We needed to play a perfect game,” he said, “and we didn’t.” His team scored two in the ninth, but Pawelek was involved in a double play to stop the rally. Right-hander Dave Sobiech, who left after the fifth inning, took the loss for the Saints.
0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 —4
3 0 1 3 2 1 0 0 x —10
DP: Saints (3), Athletics (2)
SAC: D. Little (2)
Key Stats: C. Aramaki 2×3; M. Denevi 4×4, 3R, 2 RBI; J. Charles 2×2, 3R, 2BB; D. Pawelek 2×2, 3 RBI; A. Alt 2×4 (Athletics); R. Johnson 2×3; L. Berg 1×1, BB; M. Miller 1×2; K. Hannemann 1×2 (Saints)
WP: Danny Pawelek
LP: Dave Sobiech