Kansas City MSBL, 45+ Scott Matteson Division
KC Rockies 3, Blues 2
‘Undefeated Season Dedicated to Scotty Matteson’
Submitted by Jim Fracol, Rockies manager
Our KCMSBL 45+ Rockies team was formed several years ago by Scotty Matteson, a decades-long MSBL member. Scott sadly, and unexpectedly, passed away last winter, shortly after the conclusion of our Rockies 2018 championship season, our fourth consecutive. Scott was not only a great GM, evidenced by the many winning seasons and championships his teams won, but he was also a major contributor to, and voice for players, in our leagues. Above all else, Scott was a great friend to scores of players.
Scott always showed up early for games, and when I could, more often than not, I’d arrive early too, just to talk with Scott. We obviously talked about our team and league some, but we also talked about work, our families and life in general. Rockies 3rd baseman/Catcher Dave Thomas took the reins during last off season and took on the General Manager position after Scott’s passing, to ensure we stayed together as a team and continue playing in memory of Scott.
Our 2019 Rockies team dedicated our season to Scott. We set a goal to go undefeated, and that goal was accomplished. Without Scotty in mind game after game, I’m not sure we could have done it. We are his team. To honor Scott and his many contributions to our league through the years, our KCMSBL 45+ league is now the Scott Matteson League.
Our season kicked off April 29th with a dedication ceremony to honor Scott by naming our KCMSBL 45+ league after him. The ceremony included a tribute to Scotty from long time KCMSBL Commissioner Tom Prendergast, and a dedication speech provided from current Commissioner Mike Holmes, followed by our game. We won that first game 13-3, setting Scotty’s Rockies Team on the path to our fifth consecutive championship.
When hearing of teams going undefeated you might think games were one blowout after another. That was not necessarily the case with our team this season. We do have good players and won a number of games comfortably early in the season, but there are other good teams in our league too, so our season was not a cakewalk. Along the way five of our 17 games were won by three runs or less with three of those being one run wins including the championship game 3-2 win against a years-long rival, the KCMSBL 45+ Blues. Two other games were won by four runs.
As for the championship game, played September 30th, it was just what you would expect and hope for with two good teams and long-time rivals playing for a trophy, and the script couldn’t have been written any better for the Rockies.
The Blues are a very good team and played us really well. Got to tip our caps to them for playing a great game. Both teams got superb pitching. Rockies pitchers scattered five hits over the seven innings, with starter Chris Lucas throwing five terrific shutout innings and Luke Town coming on in relief in the sixth and finished the game with a quick 1-2-3 seventh.
Our Rockies team consistently plays good defense and some great
plays were made in the championship game behind Chris and Luke, from center
fielder Pierre Burris’s outstanding diving catch on a blooper in the
sixth, and he and Scott Zavelo running to catch balls hit to the
outfield. Also, shortstop Dan Paule vacuuming every ground ball that
came within 20 feet of him like they were nothing, and he and second baseman Alan
Scarp turning a big double play.
Offensively we came through when we had to against a really, really good Blues pitcher. The Rockies started off with a nice bottom half of the first inning with Pierre Burris and Brad Eikenbary getting hits after one was out putting runners on first and third, and Tim Beauchamp doing his typical cleanup hitter thing, rocketing a line drive to the opposite field caught by the right fielder to sacrifice Pierre home for the first run of the game. We couldn’t have drawn up a better start in such a big game!
In the third inning with the score still 1-0, Steve Mays
started the inning with a real nice hard-hit line drive single between third
and short, moving to second when Dan Paule took one for the team by getting
hit by a pitch. Runners then moved to second and third bases on a wild
pitch, followed by Pierre Burris knocking one in with an RBI to give the
Rockies a 2-0 lead.
We did miss a couple of opportunities, stranding runners in scoring position during the middle innings. We wasted a double by Scott Zavelo in the fourth, and we did not get Ronnie Deaver home after his leadoff single in the fifth and then moving to second on Matt Dayton’s perfect sacrifice bunt. Obviously, the Blues pitcher had a lot to do with our missing these opportunities. But, that’s baseball. You forget your missed opportunities and look forward, and we did. The best was yet to come!!!
After the Blues tied the game 2-2 in the top of the sixth (the Blues have no quit in them), coming to bat in the bottom of the sixth inning we showed what this team is all about when we answered immediately. We had our 3-4-5 hitters coming up, and Brad Eikenbary didn’t waste any time, leading off the bottom of the sixth with a line drive hit, and scored what turned out to be the winning run on Luke Town’s long, hard hit game winning RBI double to left, giving us the 3-2 lead. That was all Luke, who had just come in to pitch in the top half of the inning, needed to finish the game!
In the top of the seventh Luke got a ground ball to short, a fly ball to center and a ground ball to second, everything up the middle. Like our second baseman Alan Scarpa says, “middle closed”. We couldn’t have ended the season any better! This one was for Scotty M.
2019 was a very special and satisfying season, played with heavy hearts after losing our leader, but knowing we accomplished something Scotty would be proud of. We are very proud of our fifth consecutive championship.
We did not keep pitching statistics, but we have a great staff with Chris Lucas, Luke Town, Charlie Dorman, Jeff Stewart and Brad Eikenbary. We would be just as comfortable with any of these pitchers throwing in the championship game.
Team Batting Avg: .379
Rockies Season leaders:
Batting Avg – .514 (Tim Beauchamp)
Hits (3 players) – 18 (Brad Eikenbary, Scott Zavelo, Tim Beauchamp)
Runs – 19 (Dan Paule)
RBI’s – 14 (Tim Beauchamp)
Doubles (2 players) – 5 (Dan Paule, Tim Beauchamp)
Triples – 2 (Dan Paule)
Home Runs – Got blanked here
BB – 9 (Chris Lucas)
HBP (2 players) – 4 (Dave Thomas, Brad Eikenbary)
Stolen Bases- 8 (Scott Zavelo)
2019 Rockies 45+ Scott Matteson League game scores (final record 17-0):
4/29/2019 vs Devil Rays – 13-3
5/13/2019 vs Brewers – 12-2
6/3/2019 vs Blues – 9-1
6/10/2019 vs Devil Rays – 12-1
6/17/2019 win vs Royals – 12-8
6/24/2019 win vs Brewers – 15-5
7/1/2019 win vs Cardinals – 7-6
7/8/2019 win vs Blues – 3-0
7/15/2019 win vs Devil Rays – 5-1
7/22/2019 win vs Royals – 6-2
7/29/2019 win vs Brewers – 11-4
8/5/2019 win vs Cardinals – 7-5
8/12/2019 win vs Blues – 7-6
8/19/2019 win vs Devil Rays – 11-2
9/9/2019 win vs Brewers – 14-2
9/16/2019 win vs Cardinals – 12-7
9/30/2019 win vs Blues – 3-2 (Championship Game)