Submitted by Bud Maison, Tournament Director and SOCO League President
The first annual Pikes Peak MSBL Classic took place on July 1-2 where ten teams from Colorado faced off in two divisions of play to support a local area high school baseball program. As a result, the MSBL of Southern Colorado was able to raise and donate $1000 to the Fountain-Ft Carson HS Baseball program.
Six teams competed in the MABL (18+) Division while four teams competed in the MSBL (35+) Division of play. An evening storm on July 1st that hit at 7:30 caused the two games to be suspended in the MSBL Division until Sunday. This weather delay caused the grass diamond to become unplayable on July 2nd resulting in the Semi Finals of the MABL Division to cancel and the top two teams to move directly to the finals.
After falling behind against the Denver Bandits, the Colorado Isotopes proved to be persistent and hung around within reach of the Bandits. The end resulted in a 7-7 tie, which guaranteed the Isotopes an appearance in the Finals. On the other side, the Oysters fell behind quickly to the Colorado Springs Chaos 7-1 after two home runs. But, the Oysters fought back with back-to-back-back home runs, and an additional home run bringing them up by one run 8-7. The Chaos threatened in the bottom of the final inning only to come up short in the end and dropping a game that had seven home runs in the game.
As the Oysters and the Isotopes moved on to their finals, the Oysters assumed the home team role by allowing the fewest runs in the MABL division. The Isotopes came out hot in the top of the first and took an early 1 to 0 lead as Lewis scored on a sharp hit single to right by Tim. The Oysters answered with five runs in the bottom of the first and never looked back. Vaughn and Chambers scored on a Liester triple follow by back to back to back singles by Cope, Meals and Strack-Loertscher. On the mound for the Oysters, the tournament MVP Chris Chambers (BA .615, 9 RBI, 5 R, HR, 2 struck out the side in the top of the second. Vaughn started the bottom of the second with a double off the left center field wall and scored on a Liester single. Cope and Meals followed with singles to score Liester making it a 7 to 3 ballgame.
The Isotopes answered in the top of the third scoring two runs off a Tim double to the center field fence. The Oysters gained the momentum back as Vaughn led off the bottom of the fourth with a towering home run to right center and added another run as Liester scored on a Meals double.
The Isotopes would not go quietly, manufacturing two runs in the fifth and gaining two more off a 2-run shot by George in the sixth. The Oysters proved to be too much adding four more runs and turning to their bullpen getting three solid innings from Matt Brown and a 3-up-3-down ninth inning from Liester. Oysters 13, Isotopes 7.
The Oysters look to defend their 2016 SOCO (Southern Colorado) MABL league title and return to the 18+ National MSBL World Series in Phoenix, AZ this October. The Oysters All Tourney Team:
– Thomas Meals – BA .615, 10 RBI, 4 R, 2 HR, 3 2B
– Mike Cope – BA .571, 6 RBI, 7 R, 2 HR, 2 2B
– Jordan Liester – BA .555, 7 RBI, 7 R, 2 HR, 3B, 0.00 ERA, 6 IP
– Frank Vaughn – BA .500, 5 RBI, 7 R, HR, 2 2B, 5 BB
In the MSBL division, after receiving a 100 year-like rain storm with high winds and peasized hail for 45 minutes to an hour on the evening of the first day of play, two games were suspended after the start and resumed on Sunday causing the top two teams in the Division to play three games on July 2nd. Three teams had 2-1 record during round robin play, but only the top two teams qualified for the finals. This resulted in a rematch of the 2016 MSBL-AA Championship series between the Colorado Springs Bombers and the Southern Colorado Pistols. However, the Pistols assumed the home team role with the lowest runs allowed in the MSBL tournament, while the Bombers got to work.
In the top of the first, the Bombers struck first with a 2-run blast by first baseman Eric Lenberg. Then in the second inning, Chris Dahl started the inning off with a double to left center and scored later on a one out single by Gary Welte building a 3-run lead over the Pistols. The Pistols would put runners in scoring position but was not able to get them across the plate until the bottom of the fourth inning when Justin Wood got a 1-out double, then scored on a 2-out single by Bud Maison.
In the bottom of the eighth, after a pitching change by the Bombers, the Pistols launched their comeback and took the lead by scoring five runs off of pitcher Ben Wirt. The Bombers would not go down without a fight, as noted during the 2016 league Championship game where they came back to win off of a 2-run double in right center field off the tip of the center fielder’s glove in the bottom of the ninth inning.
After striking out the first two batters and getting two men in scoring position in the final frame, Kevin Kelly of the Bombers hit a single up the middle. However, shortstop Barrett Skaggs collided with runner Chris Dahl while attempting to get to the ball and Dahl continued to run and rounded third to attempt to score. Center fielder Tim Walstrom scooped the ball and hurled it to catcher Bud Maison, who dove to tag Dahl trying to score. The officials called Dahl out at the plate, ending the comeback by the Bombers. The final score was 6-4 with the Pistols winning the MSBL Division.