USA Volkers MBI 15, Sacramento Solons 1
By Jason Johnson, special to MSBL
October 19, 2019, Fitch Park, Mesa, AZ – In the first inning of the 70 National Division Championship game Volkers came out and made a statement scoring six runs led by a two-run double by Gene Baratta. They left little doubt as to why they went undefeated during pool play and earned the top seed in their division en route to a 15 run, 26 hit barrage to take home the championship for the second year in a row.
“He (Baratta) was struggling coming into the game and we were struggling with whether or not to bat him,” said Volkers co-manager Pat Fynes. “I’ve played with him for 10 years now and I’m a big believer in water seeks its own level and I’m very glad I put him in the lineup.” Heading into the game Baratta was batting .190 for the tournament but Fynes trusted his gut and inserted Baratta into the sixth spot in the batting order – a key spot for a run producer. After his first inning double Baratta continued to execute at the plate with another two-run double in the sixth and an RBI single in the eighth. The three hit effort earned Baratta the championship game MVP honors.
Fynes pulled the right strings all tournament as co-manager and proved he is an important cog in the Volkers machine. For his efforts and decision-making, Fynes earned the tournament MVP award as the team leader. “Pat didn’t play an inning in the field or have an at bat all tournament and he earned our team MVP award,” said co-manager Billy Jacobs. “That shows you how important he has been to this team as our co-manager.”
Last season, Volkers star Mark Adams was sidelined for the tournament after suffering a heart attack in the first inning of the tournament but he was back this year and proved to be a key contributor with three hits and two runs scored. Teammate and doctor Marse McNaughton assisted Adams on the field in 2018 when Adams was experiencing a heart attack and was the one to advise him to go to the hospital. Nicknamed the ‘Green Lantern’ for his lightning quick speed and his bright green shoes, McNaughton utilized his quickness to leg out three infield singles and scored three times for Volkers in the championship game proving to be a hero with not only the stethoscope, but also the bat.
Unfortunately for the Solons, they simply didn’t have the firepower to keep up with the Volkers offense. The Solons stranded 17 runners and were lacking clutch hits throughout the game. Volkers made several stellar defensive plays in the field to quell any type of rally. “We knew what we were up against when we got here,” said Solons spokesman Lanny Ropke. “They are an All Star team and we knew they were tough. We couldn’t put it together.”
Pool Play and Semifinals
During pool play the Solons battled to a 2-3 record and played against the 3-2 St. Paul Saints to earn a bid to the championship game. In the semifinal game it was tied at four after seven innings but the Saints pitcher ran out of gas and the Solons opened up on them scoring eight runs in the final two frames to win 12-4.
Volkers went 5-0 during pool play earning an automatic bid to the championship game. They only allowed 14 runs to cross the plate all tournament which is a testament to the strong defense they played all week.
What’s in a name…
The Solons was the name of the Sacramento team in the old Pacific Coast League which inspired the name of the MSBL team. Solon is the Greek word for a senator and because Sacramento is the capital of California the old PCL team chose the solon as its team name.
WP: Baker LP: Ewbank
2B: Krause (USA), Baratta 2 (USA), Brye (USA)
Leading Hitters: Solons – Smith 3×5; Wukmir 1×2, BB, HBP, R; Williams 2×4; Volkers – Baratta 3×4, 2 2B, 5 RBI, 2 R; McNaughton 3×5, 3 R; Adams 3×6, 2 R, RBI
SF: Brye (USA)
HBP: Wukmir (SAC), McAtee (SAC)
Team LOB: Solons 17, Volkers 14
Time of Game: 3:06