Nassau Pirates 3, Westside Bandits 2
‘Downing Wins MVP on the Bump’
By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
October 20, 2019, HoHoKam Stadium, Mesa, AZ – Being a grizzled veteran of scorekeeping for all World Series divisions throughout the years, I am accustomed to fastening the seat belt and making sure the pencil is sharp enough for all of the boxes I will be filling in when assigned to cover a 25-over championship game. The younger generation certainly knows how to pound the ball! As I approached the task of keeping score for the Nassau Pirates clash with the Westside Bandits to decide the 25+ Mountain championship I was ready to go. Pencils sharp, Gatorade saddled up next to me, batteries in the camera and recorder, along with my assortment of energy bars to keep me well fortified. Well, my pencil remained as sharp as when I walked into the stadium, as Josh Downing of the Pirates threw a complete game victory, holding the tournament-tested Bandits to two runs on five hits over nine innings. Yes, mom, good pitching stops good hitting.
However, the Bandits staff of Ishikawa and Lester Lugo held the lead at 2-1 until two runs pushed across for the Pirates in the bottom of the eighth, as Michael Bolling reached on an error to begin the inning while Andrew Brauer singled and Michael Kuta and Greg Ludwig walked before the Bandits recorded an out. A groundout RBI by Luis Gomez scored the second run of the inning but the damage was done and sent the Bandits to the plate in the top of the ninth behind for the first time all day.
Three quick flyout’s put a close to the game and the celebration was on, highlighting the first World Series title for the New York-based Pirates, who joined forces with a slew of ballplayers from the Chicago Rippers.
“This is like a weight off our shoulders,” said Pirates player/manager Dean Glanzman. “These guys worked so hard. We played almost everybody in every game and they all contributed. We were just savages and never quit. Two years ago we lost in the semi-finals and last year we lost in the championship but we finally got it done. We have many championships back in Long Island but now we get to take the national trophy back home and tell everybody what we’re all about. This is everybody’s trophy.”
The champion Pirates were able to scratch out only five hits themselves but they capitalized on every opportunity that presented itself. The same duo of Bolling and Brauer accounted for the other lone Pirates run in the third, as they started out with two singles, followed by a walk to Kuta. Greg Ludwig was hit by a bases-loaded fastball, scoring Bolling for the only other run of the game.
“It’s hard to pick one MVP from this group,” continued Glanzman. “Downing threw a fantastic game today, Craig Ross had some walk-off hits for us this week but for today’s game the MVP has to be Josh Downing. Mendi threw a complete game in the semifinals. All three could be MVPs”
Michael Bolling and Andrew Brauer led the Pirates with two hits apiece, with the only other hit being a single in the second inning by Joe Kitt. Michael Kuta, however, drew four walks on the day without recording an out.
Danny Catalan led the Bandits at the plate with a 1 for 2 performance, two walks and one run scored. David Treat, Jose Rodriguez, Mark Martin and Ishikawa collected the remainder of the Bandits hits, with their two runs being scored one in the fifth and one in the sixth.
“We lost to these Bandits in our first pool play game,” concluded the proud skipper. “We played a really bad game but I told the guys that that game didn’t define us and we all came together and just kept rolling all the way through.”