Rock Milwaukee League, 55+ Division
Pilots 13, Brewers 9
Front row (l-r): Pat Hudec, Marvin Oliver, Tim Urban, Dave Globig, Al Alt, Stuart Schramm, John Becker, Frank McCann and Mike Derrick. Top row (l-r): Gary Schultz, Bill Tschanz, Bill Windler, Dan Trivett, Mike Fleissner, Geoff Radloff, Dan Cauffman, John Arnold, Scott Radtke, Mike Drilling and Terry Teske. Not pictured: Mike Biagioli, Jeffrey (Ace) Vollmer
‘Becker Shuts Down Brewers in Relief’
Submited by Bill Windler, Pilots manager
Navigating outstanding competition, the Pilots landed the 55+ Rock League MSBL championship by sweeping the Brewers in the best-of-three championship. The league is composed of eight teams from the Milwaukee area with the majority of games played at the Rock Complex in Franklin, Wisconsin.
It was the seventh 55+ title in nine seasons for the Pilots, and the sweep belied the degree of difficulty. Two days after John Arnold pitched the Pilots to a 15-3 victory in the series opener, the clincher saw the champs come back from an 8-5 deficit to prevail, 13-9, in an almost four-hour ordeal.
In the opener, Arnold went the distance, allowing six hits and striking out five. Marvin Oliver hit a two-run homer and knocked in three runs, Geoff Radloff went 3 for 3 and Mike Drilling and Arnold each had two hits and two RBI. John Becker scored three times, and 10 Pilots had hits in a 15-hit attack. Steve Brothers had three hits for the Brewers.
In the second game, Becker provided the pitching heroics. Coming on in relief with the Pilots down, 8-5, and the bases full of Brewers with one out in the fourth, Becker extricated the team from that jam without further damage and sailed through the last five innings, allowing just two hits.
Meanwhile, the Pilots took the lead with a four-run fifth on the strength of key blows from Drilling and Scott Radtke. Two more runs in the sixth and two in the ninth provided the final cushion, but the lead never seemed truly secure until the last out despite the Pilots’ 22-hit attack and Becker’s masterful pitching.
Oliver went 4 for 5 and stole four bases, Dan Trivett had three hits, Dave Globig drove in three runs and Frank McCann, Becker, Terry Teske, Radloff and Dan Cauffman added two hits each. Tom Schroeder had three hits for the Brewers.
The Brewers were one of two teams to beat the Pilots (18-2) during the regular season. The other was the Lugnuts, an outstanding team that finished one game back during the regular campaign.
The Pilots worked their way past the Rays and defending champion Mets in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
For the season, Arnold was 14-1 with a 1.54 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 75 Ks in 105 innings. As a hitter (.500, 28 RBI), he walked 14 times, just two fewer than he allowed as a pitcher.
Radloff hit .636, Drilling (.553) drove in 30 runs with a 1.433 OPS, Becker (.500) scored 32 runs and Oliver (.440) scored 27 runs and homered from both sides of the plate. Other .400+ hitters included Trivett, Cauffman, Mike Fleissner and McCann.
Globig (.396) and Trivett handled the bulk of the catching, and Trivett, Gary Schultz and Becker anchored a pitching staff that walked just 45 in 158 innings.
Teske (.333, 10 walks) and Bill Tschanz (.326) were among the steadiest fielders, with Radtke (five doubles, 18 RBI) providing solid play and much-needed versatility throughout the season.