Cincy Braves 9, Sacramento Braves 2

‘Time Tested Tournament Team Takes Title’

By Rodney Johnson, special to MSBL

October 26, 2019, Tempe Diablo Stadium – It’s not how you start but how you finish. Cincy’s performance bore that out in the 40 + Mountain Championship game at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Sacramento took an early league with a solo home run by Sam Calagna in the third inning. It turned out to be their high point. Cincy answered with a five-run fourth inning. That alone would have been enough, but they scored four more times in the sixth and cruised to a 9-2 win.

A pair of Sacramento errors opened up the big fourth inning that included three unearned runs. Mickey Borden’s triple was the key hit in the inning. Three hits and three walks led to a four-run sixth and put the game on ice.

Rich Ropp pitched a complete game to earn the win and MVP honors. Ropp allowed just two runs on five hits. Ropp walked just one while striking out eight. He had pitched seven innings in Cincy’s semi-final win against the Burlington Herd. “Rich had an incredible day going 16 innings today and winning both the semi-final game and the Championship Game,” marveled Cincy manager Mike Shadoan.

Cincy is very much a tournament team with players getting together from at least four different states to meet for the tournament. They have been playing in the MSBL World Series for 20 years and this was the team’s first title. “The group has changed over the years,” explained Shadoan. “The core has been the same, but this is the first time this group has played together.”  

The Cincy Braves went 6-0 in pool play and then rolled over the Clancy Irish 23-6 in their playoff opener before beating Burlington in the Semis.

Sacramento, also nicknamed the Braves, finished their pool undefeated as well. Sacramento beat the Dallas Cardinals (5-1) in their Semi Final matchup by as score of 9-2.  The Braves put together a team from two leagues from home. “We decided to put our best players together and try to come up here and win this year,” said Sacramento manager Blain Grantham. “This is going to be our tournament team moving forward.”

Ten different players had hits for Cincy in the title game as the wealth was spread throughout the lineup. Peter Schourek had three hits while Mickey Borden had a pair of knocks to lead the club. “It was once again, very much a team effort said Shadoan.

Team                         1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9          R    H   E

Sacramento             0    0    1    0    0    0    1    0    0         2     5   3        

Cincy                          0    0    0    5    0    4    0    0    x         9   13   2

Pitching Line: (Sacramento): Hoffman; Fisher (6). (Cincy): Ropp.

WP: Ropp (Cincy)

LP: Hoffman (Sac)

HR: Calagna (Sac)

3B: Borden (Cincy)

2B: Fisher (Sac); Jensen (Cincy)

Leading Hitters: (Sacramento): Lou Fisher 1×3; John Geunette 1×4; Jimmy Gallo 1×2; Sam Calagna 2×3, RBI . (Cincy): Peter Schourek 3×4; Scott Yanney 2×2; Mickey Borden 2×3, RBI; Pat Conley 1×3, RBI; Earl Williams 1×3; Dan Walker 1×1; Chad Jensen 1×1.

SAC: Perry (Sac)

SF: none

SB: Yanney 2 (Sac); Perry 2 (Sac)

DP: Sacramento 1; Cincy 1

Team LOB: Sacramento 5, Cincy 12

Time of Game: 2:28