2020 60+ Cactus

AZ/CT United 12, Motor City Firebirds 5

‘MVP Scimeca Leads the Way with .694 Average’

Submitted by Chris Means

In 2019, the AZ / CT United team was formed by combining mostly players from the great state of Connecticut as well as Arizona, with a few from California.  That team did well in pool play and made it to the first round of the playoffs.  Sadly, they were knocked out in the first round on a walk-off bloop single over second base in the bottom of the ninth.  That defeat had lingered all year on all of us.

During pool play in 2020, the United had a schedule of 2-1-1-2 games played in four days.  The United went 5-1 and earned the #2 seed for the playoffs.  On Friday, 11/6/2020, the United drew the Paladin team in the first round.  United won by a score of 12-1, setting us up to play the Giltner Logistics team, which defeated the #1 seed Diamond Dream Mustangs 8-7 earlier that same day.  Playing our fourth game in less than 24 hours, we were able to defeat the Giltner team by a score of 11-3.  Meanwhile, the Motor City Firebirds were having their way in the playoffs, dispatching both of their opponents.  The Motor City Firebirds versus the AZ / CT United were the two teams that had made it to the 2020 Championship game.

The game was back and forth through the first six innings.  The Firebird team had an outstanding infield.  They pulled off FOUR double plays and one TRIPLE play!  That’s 11 outs recorded – which left only 13 outs overall they needed to get for the rest of the game.  The United still managed to overcome the stellar defense of the Firebirds, however, finally breaking through with their bats in the bottom of the seventh inning.  Behind some clutch hitting from Steve Musco, brothers Tom and Steve Roberts, Rob Rusch, Tony Scimeca, twin brothers Paul and Mark Carrozza, United steadily pulled away.   Time after time United batters delivered key base hits, or dropped down perfect sacrifice bunts to advance the runners, etc.  We played fundamentally sound baseball at its finest.  The final score was United 12 and Firebirds 5.  The final out was a pop-up to second baseman Mike DiMino to preserve the win.

United winning pitcher John Beady went seven strong innings while reliever Chris Means finished the final two frames.  United finished the week with a record of 8-1 overall.

Team MVP Tony Scimeca led the way amongst all United hitters, going 25 for 36 for a .694 average, along with 19 RBI during all nine games.   Team manager Mike DiMino stole 17 bases during the week, averaging nearly two per game. 

Three United starting pitchers, Rob Rusch, John Beady and Chris Means were 2-0 each, with FIVE complete games between them.  Starting pitchers Steve Klein and Les Riell also recorded wins for the United in pool play.

MSBL Hall of Famer Greg Schienda was on the United team and was attending his 30th tournament.  Along with many other United players, he had never won a ring.   All of them can now scratch THAT off their “bucket list”.