2020 55+ Cactus

Milwaukee Rangers 12, Auburn Braves 4

‘Oliver and Gambatese Co-MVP’s’

Submitted by Mickey Pruefer, Rangers manager

October 30, 2020, Tempe Diablo Stadium, Tempe, AZ-Prior to the start of the championship game, the Rangers had three ceremonious first pitches. Up First, John Drilling, (age 83). John threw to his son Mike Drilling. Second, Don Pruefer, (age 82), threw to son Mickey Pruefer. In Memory of Jerry Gambatese Sr., Grandson/Son Sal Gambatese pitched to Father/Son Jerry Gambatese Jr. These Ranger fathers have followed their sons during their entire playing career. We are all deeply saddened with the passing of Jerry Gambatese Sr., one month prior to the tournament.

Our family are our biggest fans that consistently attend our games in Milwaukee as well as Arizona. We had three sets of Parents, twelve wives, three children and two grandchildren. The closeness of Family and their support drove us to our National Championship. We are a large family that enjoys one and another and our baseball community.

In the top of the second inning, Jose Alba singled, Mickey Pruefer singled and then Al Albert sacrificed runners to second and third. Jerry Gambatese followed with a sacrifice fly to right field to plate the game’s first run. Then Tracy Wheeler singled to left and the Rangers led 2-0. 

In the bottom of the second the Auburn Braves stormed back to take the lead. John Daly singled and Mike Lehtola reached on a fielder’s choice. Mike De Necochea was hit by pitch, Scott Reeves singled and Mike Baker walked with the bases loaded plating Auburn’s first run. Gregg Yardley then cleared the bases with a booming double and the Auburn Braves were leading 4-2 after two innings of play.

In the top of the fourth the Rangers scored seven runs to put the game away.

Tom Schroeder singled, Al Albert singled and Jerry Gambatese was hit by pitch to load the bases. Marty Buckenberger singled with a bounding ball over the third baseman’s head going into left field to score two runs. John Bannigan, nicknamed ‘bat again’, walked, which reloaded the bases. Jack Barron followed with a single, driving in a run. The big hit was by William ‘Mo’ Wallace.  Mo tripled into the left center gap which cleared the bases, scoring three.

In the fifth inning Marvin Oliver hit a solo inside the park home run expanding the Rangers lead to 10-4.

In the seventh inning Matt Sanfelippo tripled and scored on a batted ball by Mike Drilling. Drilling later scored on an RBI single by Jose Alba. The battery of Matt Sanfelippo pitching and Jack Barron catching remained unchanged throughout the course of the contest. 

The Rangers are a ball club with selfless individuals so it is difficult to name a single MVP. Marvin Oliver had several defensive web gems, hit two inside the park home runs and batted .500. Jerry Gambatese also had a batting average of .500 and threw out the game tying base runner at the plate in the quarter finals. Jerry also played an excellent shortstop during the tournament so both players were name Co-MVP’s.

WP: Matt Sanfelippo-Rangers, C-Jack Barron-Rangers

LP: Eric Guilmont, Braves, C-Scott Reeves, Braves, Kevin Krantz (5), Braves

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

Milwaukee Rangers     0   2    0   7    1   0   2    0    0         12      19    12    0

Auburn Braves              0   4    0   0    0   0   0    0    0          4       10     4      1