2020 Delaware Pirates Survive Ninth Inning Rally, Secure Combined 45+/52+ Division Crown in South Jersey

South Jersey MSBL, 52+ ‘A’ Division

Delaware Pirates 8, Marlton A’s 6

Submitted by Sammy Segarra, Pirates manager

The 2020 52+ “A” Division Delaware Pirates of the South Jersey MSBL finished their regular season with a complete turnaround from 2019 going 10-5-1 and leading the division until the last game of the season, where we dropped a double-header by losing game one and tying game two to the 45 “A” division Jersey Shore Shockers, therefore surrendering the regular season division title by one point and first round bye to the Marlton A’s.

No worries for me as we featured newcomer and league leading RHP Tommy Messick along with fellow newcomers Marc Portmann, Jamie Olson, Billy Dienno and Joe Schoenfeld to team up with veteran Pirates and 2020 All Stars and offensive leader’s shortstop Mike Ickes and outfielder Gary Carmon along with other key returning Pirates from 2019 to form what I like to call a “Complete Team”!

Before we into the playoff action please note that our division was a combination of 52+ teams and 45+ teams which made every game ultra-competitive.

Playoff game one was against the 45+ Elk Township Rays who finished the season 1-15. We won that game 8-1.  Playoff semi-final game two was against the 45+ PBC Royals, which was tough competition but we won 14-9.

The Finals stage was set against our biggest and best competition in the 52+, the Marlton A’s. The A’s feature a very balanced attack with their offense and stellar defense along with fellow 2020 All-Star Gabe Mastrangelo. We were going with what got us to the final, our ace Tommy Messick. This was going to be a game you didn’t want to miss!

The A’s jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. The Pirates responded with a run of our own in the top of the second to make it 2-1.  The A’s scored two more runs to make it 4-1 going into the top of the third, where we scored two more to make it 4-3.  

Finally, we broke the game open in the top of the fourth, touching up the A’s for five runs to make it 8-4 and forcing A’s manager Fred Abrams to pull his starter.

This didn’t deter the A’s, as right hander Tim Stretch kept us scoreless the rest of the game. The A’s scored another run to make it 8-5 in the bottom of the fifth.

Here comes the most exciting Inning, the bottom of the ninth.  Gabe Mastrangelo led off the inning with a double. A fourth ‘HBP’ by Messick put runners on first and second with one out but that wasn’t the worst part. Because it was his fourth hit batter, by league rules Messick was forced to exit the game. This was the break the A’s were looking for since Tommy was putting it to them all game.  Enter Pirates right hander, Marty Nemo.

A wild-pitch advanced the runners to second and third with one out. Nemo’s next hitter drew a walk to load the bases. Nemo got the #2 hitter to pop out to his battery mate, catcher Jose Matias for the second out. Up came A’s number #3 hitter Julio Vigo, who promptly got a hit making the score 8-6. 

So here we are with two outs, bottom of the ninth, bases loaded with the tying run on second and the #4 hitter Jack Beck at the plate. 

Matias received Nemo’s pitch and made what was I like to tell him, because Jose is friend of mine, the throw of his life!  Matias fired the ball to Joe Schoenfeld at first base! Schoenfeld makes the tag! Pick off! Game Over! Pirates claim the 2020 SJMSBL 52+ Title!

I have to tell you, I’m not so sure that I’ll have the pleasure to manage a finer group of gentlemen. They made my job as Manager very easy because of their personalities. And we all know Managing is about managing people first.