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Don't Go Soft, Play Hardball!

2019 55+ Cactus

Chicago North Cubs 16, Red Deer Legends 5

By Rodney Johnson, special to MSBL

October 24, 2019, Tempe Diablo Stadium Chicago North’s Cubs took a walk on the wild side in the 55+ Cactus title game and came away with a 16-5 win. The Cubs walked 10 times in the first four innings against the Red Deer Legends and added two hit batters for good measure. The Legends went through four pitchers to try and stem the tide, but it was no use. Nine of the ten Cubs batters to walk scored along with one of the hit batters.

The Cubs managed nine hits in between to pile up 14 runs during that time to stroll off with the title. Ironically, they didn’t draw as single walk after the fourth inning. It didn’t matter. “We put a lot of runs on the board throughout the tournament,” said co-manager Alden Stiefel. “We’ve been here before and lost some championship games, but everyone game through beginning to end. We don’t have an MVP… this was a real team effort. Everybody on the roster got an at-bat, and everybody played,” beamed Stiefel.

Starting pitcher Brett Graves didn’t give up a run until the fifth inning after his club had built a 14-0 lead. He pitched to contact notching only two strikeouts while not allowing a walk. Graves also drove in half of the Cubs first 14 runs. He had two-run singles in each of the first two innings and then capped it off by adding a three-run double in the fourth. The first three batters in the order, Tom Behringer, Greg Dennis and Bruce Grossman, each scored three during the Cubs’ four-inning deluge.

The Canada based Legends gave its fans something to cheer about in the seventh inning when Dave Rivers launched a solo homer over the right-field fence. Greg Dennis answered for the Cubs with a two-run double in the bottom of the inning to close out the scoring.

Chicago North finished the tournament undefeated after going 6-0 in pool play and then coasting through the playoffs in convincing fashion. The Legends were nearly as good going 5-1 in pool play and then winning a pair of one-run games in the playoffs.

The Cubs advanced to the finals by beating the Motor City Firebirds 9-0 in the semis. The Legends got there the hard way by outlasting the South Bay Zephyrs 14-13 in eleven innings.

“We came down here to play some ball and enjoy the weather so it has all been a success,” said Legends manager Bye Braun. This was the first trip to a championship game for the Legends. “This was a group of 55s, so the mind always says yes, but sometimes the body doesn’t cooperate,” added Braun. “This is a great group of guys and we had a wonderful time.”

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

Legends                    0    0    0    0    4    0    1    0    0         5   12   0       

Cubs                           3    5    0    6    0    0    2    0    x        16   15   1

Pitching Line: (Legends): Bond; Hankins (1); Greenwold (2); Kirk (4); Scherger (7).

(Cubs): Graves.

WP: Graves (Cubs)

LP: Braun (Legends)

HR: Rivers (Legends)

3B: none

2B: Serda (Legends); Graves (Cubs); A. Stiefel (Cubs); Dennis (Cubs).

Leading Hitters: (Legends): Rick Serda 2×4, RBI; Lorne Nielson 2×4; Dave Rivers 2×3, RBI; Ted Remenda 1×2, RBI. (Cubs): Greg Dennis 2×3, 2 RBI; Bruce Grossman 3×3; Brett Graves 3×5, 7 RBI; Alden Stiefel 3×4, 2 RBI.

SAC: none

SF: none

SB: Amari (Cubs).

DP: Cubs 2.

Team LOB: Red Deer Legends 6, Chicago North Cubs 11

Time of Game: 2:53

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