Milwaukee-Rock League, 35+ Division
Milwaukee Rays 6, Snappers 3 (game two of sweep)
‘Rays Claim First Championship in Milwaukee’
Submitted by Eric Saltz, Rays manager
This was one hell of a season for the Milwaukee Rays, who won their first championship in the 35+ division of the Rock Baseball League.
The Milwaukee Rays were the #3 seed in 2020 with a 9-6 record in the regular season, squaring off against the #1 seed Snappers team that finished the regular season with a record of 11-5.
Game one of the championship featured Ryan Slaght throwing for the Snappers and Chad Tindal throwing for the Rays. The Rays put up two runs in the first inning on singles by Paul Archambault and Mike Anchondo, and added another in the third inning on a one out double by Tom Starck. Brian Henschel doubled in Mike Grabarczyk in the fifth to score the final run for the Rays.
The Snappers put up two runs in the bottom of the eighth on a single by Justin Miranda, who scored later in the inning. Chad Tindal went the distance for the Rays to earn the 5-2 win, scattering eight hits over nine innings, striking out eight while giving up one earned run.
In game two, Brian Henschel took the mound for the Rays and was opposed by Bryan Behringer. The Rays drew first blood in the bottom of the first after a Grabarczyk single, a sacrifice bunt by Brad Nowicki, a walk to Bryan Henschel, and an RBI fielder’s choice by Paul Archambault. Pat Barr drove in a run in the bottom of the second inning, and Andy Rappl drove in another to bring the score to 3-0.
The Snappers answered back in the third with a walk to Nick Schreiber, an RBI single off the bat of Brian Rehm, and an RBI double by Marcellus Dawson. The Rays responded in the fourth with Tom Starck adding his second hit of the day followed by a 2-run home run to left center by Mike Anchondo.
In the sixth Scott Mack drove in Jansen, who had doubled earlier in the inning, to close the gap to 5-3. Mike Anchondo walked in the bottom of the eighth and moved over to third on a single by Jon Brackett. Pat Barr would then drive in the final run of the game with a sacrifice fly, scoring Anchondo.
Brian Henschel went nine innings for the Rays to secure the 6-3 win, striking out eight while allowing three runs.
The Rays would like to thank Pete Panagos and his outstanding Snapper team for a hard fought and well played series.
I would like to congratulate and thank the 2020 Rays team for a hard-fought season. In a year where there were so many challenges on and off of the field, this team really started to gel together and began to break bricks at the midpoint, culminating with our first 35+ Championship.
Personally, I started in MSBL in 1997 in Long Island, NY as a member of the Baldwin Brewers, who then became the Long Island Twins in the Long Island MSBL. I grew up in Melville, NY, a mile from the MSBL headquarters, and used to drop by the MSBL office to buy baseballs from Steve Sigler himself. This was my second year as player/ manager of the 35+ Rays and this was my first championship in my 23 years as a member of the MABL/ MSBL.