San Antonio Lone Stars 8, Rhode Island Salty Dogs 4
By Rodney Johnson, special to MSBL
November 2, 2019, Tempe Diablo Stadium – ‘To err is human; to forgive is divine.’ While English poet Alexander Pope originated this proverbial phrase more that one hundred years before baseball was invented, it never applied more than it would in the MSBL 60 + National Championship game. After losing the title game 8-4 to the San Antonio Lone Stars, it was the Rhode Island Salty Dogs that could use a little forgiveness. They had already displayed that they were human by committing five errors accounting for four unearned runs. That proved to be the margin of victory for San Antonio.
It’s not hard to find forgiveness or the Salty Dogs. “We were missing a couple of our key guys that got sick and had to go home,” explained Rhode Island manager Noah Clark. “We got here (the championship game) on band aids and oxygen.” After finishing at the bottom of its pool with a record of 2-3-1, the Salty Dogs upset the pool-winning Sacramento Royals (5-1) by a score of 5-2 in the semifinals. “Rich Figueroa pitched a great game and we were fortunate to beat them.”
San Antonio’s Rob Calvert and Dan Pawelek had first inning RBIs to burst the bubble in the title game. Both runs were unearned. Another error by Rhode Island in the third led to another unearned run for the Lone Stars. Rhode Island fought back with a pair of fourth inning runs to narrow the gap but the bottom of the inning proved to be their downfall. Two more errors led to a pair of unearned runs as five runs crossed the plate. Bill Rector, Ron Piacenti, Phil Underwood and Dave Minchow each drove in runs to seal the fate of the Salty Dogs.
The Lone Stars were 3-2-1 in pool play (the tie was against Rhode Island). In the semifinals they topped Team Victory 9-4 to advance to the finals. “We just seemed to get better and better throughout the tournament and peaked at the right time,” said manager Joel Morley. “Pitching and defense it what wins tournaments and we had plenty of both.”
Rob Calvert went the distance on the mound to get the win in the title game. Calvert also pitched a complete game in the semifinals and earned MVP honors. “At his age, it is hard to find someone who can do that,” said Morley. “This is a team that has played together in tournaments all over the country. We keep attracting quality players in terms of playing ability and just the kind of people they are.”
Phil Underwood, Vernon Wells and Blaine Olson each had a pair of hits to lead the San Antonio offense. Dave Deitrich and Tom Lizotte each had three hits in a losing cause for Rhode Island.
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Rhode Island 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 1 4 15 5
San Antonio 2 0 1 5 0 0 0 0 x 8 12 2
Pitching Line: (Rhode Island): Otis; Ivy (4); Wheeler (6). (San Antonio): Calvert
WP: Calvert (SA)
LP: Otis (RI)
2B: Minchow (SA)
Leading Hitters: (Rhode Island): Dave Detrich 3×4; Tom Lizotte 3×4; Dave Palumbo 2×3; Mark Jaenig 1×3, RBI; Paul Contraras 1×4, RBI. (San Antonio): Phil Underwood 2×5, RBI; Vernon Wells 2×3; Blaine Olson 2×3, RBI; Ron Piacenti 1×4, RBI; Dave Minchow 1×4, RBI.
SF: Minchow (SA)
SB: Lizotte (RI); Underwood (SA)
DP: Rhode Island 3; San Antonio 2
Team LOB: Rhode Island 11, San Antonio 13
Time of Game: 3:00