Waikiki Beach Boys 29, Denver Grizzlies 14
‘Beach Boys Ride Good Vibrations to Repeat Title’
By Jason Johnson, special to MSBL
October 29, 2017, Hohokam Stadium, Mesa, Ariz. – Going into the championship game the Waikiki Beach Boys knew their pitching would be their biggest hurdle to repeating as champions in the Father/Son Cactus division and they were right as they allowed 14 runs to the Denver Grizzlies. That didn’t seem to matter, though, as the Beach Boys scored 29 runs to capture back-to-back championships.
“Our offense has been our strength this year,” said Beach Boys manager Gary Firestone. “Coming into this game our pitching was pretty thin. The best thing we’ve got going is our offense and we’ve played fundamental baseball.”
After an inning and a half it didn’t look like the Beach Boys would have an easy road as the Grizzlies jumped out to a 5-0 lead led by a two-run triple from son Ryan Windham. The triple was followed up by a single from son and team MVP Zach Broussely to get the Grizzlies their fifth run.
In the bottom of the second inning the Beach Boys got on the board scoring three runs including a two-run double from son Jesus Gonzalez. Gonzalez led the team in hitting with five hits and nine RBI. After a quiet third inning the Beach Boys put the pressure on by scoring a combined 26 runs over the final five frames. During that span team MVP, father Eddie Mercado, slowed down the Denver offense allowing just three runs in the ninth inning when the game was out of reach.
“Eddie Mercado pitched in four or five of the eight games we played including five innings today,” said Firestone. “He’s a dad pitcher in his mid-50s, we didn’t have any kid pitchers left, and it was a great performance on his part.”
This Beach Boys team was very different from last year’s championship team. About half of the team were newcomers.
“On our previous teams the fathers were younger and good position players,” said Firestone. “This team, the fathers are older and they are pitchers that have to play defense. Last year the dads were the MVPs and this year it’s the kids.”
This was the first ever appearance in the championship by the Grizzlies. Even though they didn’t take home the hardware it was a special experience for the fathers. Grizzlies manager Dan Clemens has brought his son in past years but this year his daughter made the trip and played on the team. Rachel Clemens has had surgery on both of her knees but was very excited to play with her dad.
“This was our fourth tournament and each one is special in a different way,” said Clemens. “For the dads, they get a little weepy eyed at the opportunity to play with their sons. We’re the ones who have been coaching our kids and telling them how to do things and now we have to put our money where our mouth is and go out and do those things.”
The Denver Grizzlies went 2-2 during pool play with their key win coming in their third game. They were down late in the game and scored three runs in the ninth inning to win and it turned their tournament around.
During pool play the Beach Boys lost their first game but were able to grind out wins in the remaining three games to finish 3-1. The Beach Boys got contributions from everyone on the roster and all of their pitchers went at least two or three times during pool play.
In their semifinal game the Grizzlies defeated the Terre Haute Volkers Group 6-5. Denver was able to score a couple of early runs to put the pressure on Terre Haute and were able to hang on for the win. Father Dan Clemens pitched the first four innings while son and team MVP Zach Broussely tossed the next four.
In the semifinals the Beach Boys defeated the Chicago Rippers in a 7-5 nail biter.
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Denver Grizzlies 1 4 0 2 4 0 0 0 3 14 21 4
Waikiki Beach Boys 0 3 0 6 5 5 4 6 X 29 24 3
WP: Nick Wheeler LP: Kirt Padilla
2B: Cameron Padilla (DG), Dan Clemens (DG), Fernando Gonzalez Jr. (BB), Gary Firestone (BB), Juan Gonzalez (BB), Jesus Gonzalez (BB), Darius Curiel 2 (BB)
3B: Ryan Windham (DG), Jesus Gonzalez 2 (BB)
Leading Hitters: Grizzlies – Ryan Windham 4×5, 3B, 3 RBI, 3 R; Zach Broussely 4×6, 3 RBI, 3 R; Dan Clemens 5×5, 4 RBI, BB; Beach Boys – Jesus Gonzalez 5×5, 9 RBI, 3 R, 2 2B, 3B; Darius Curiel 3×3, 2 2B, 5 RBI; Jessy Hinojosa 3×5, 5 R, 5 RBI, BB
HBP: Peter Curiel (BB), Ian Maldonado (BB), Eddie Mercado (BB)
SB: Zach Broussely 2 (DG), Dan Clemens (DG), Dayton Clarke (DG), Ian Maldonado (BB), Emilio Benevides 2 (BB), Juan Gonzalez 2 (BB), Victor Mercado (BB), Victor Mercado Jr. (BB)
Team LOB: Grizzlies 17, Beach Boys 7
Time of Game: 3:29