Chicago North MSBL, 65+ Division

Padres 4, Rangers 0

‘Brendan and Baniak Combine for Championship No-Hitter’

Submitted by Mike Haase, Padres manager

In spite a late start, the Chicago North MSBL 65 Division had a very successful second year.  We expanded from four to five teams and were able to play our full 20 game-schedule.  There were a lot of close games with three of the five teams finishing at 10-10.  The Padres were able to get hot down the stretch, winning six of their last seven games to finish at 13-7 and win the regular season championship. 

In their first playoff game the Padres played the Giants, who had won their regular season series three games to two.  In the first inning Russ Bonadonna, Les Gan and Angel Ramirez all reached safely to load the bases with no outs for cleanup hitter Mark Cottone.  Mark hit a long double to center field to clear the bases and put the Padres up 3-0.  But the Giants came back and were able to tie the game at 3-3 going into the bottom of the fifth inning.  The Padres then scored two runs to take the lead with Russ Bonadonna getting the game winning hit and RBI’s.  It was the first game he played since his Mom, the Padre’s biggest fan, lost a courageous battle to cancer and the team dedicated the win to her. The Padres held on the last two innings to win the well-played game 5-3.  Angel Ramirez started the game and pitched three solid innings. Wayne Brendan pitched the final four innings to earn the win and Frank Gaweda chipped in with two hits. 

The Rangers were the 2019 playoff winners, and they beat the A’s 2-1 in nine innings to move into the finals.  Pitching four innings each for the Rangers were Ray Huard and Will Rosales, father of major leaguer Adam Rosales.  For the ninth, they turned to Dave Schulz, who had just started playing the last few weeks of the season as he was recovering from a shoulder injury.  Dave was pitching for the first time all year but was able to throw a scoreless inning and pick up the win.   

For the championship game there was a very strong wind blowing in from left so it shaped up to be a low scoring game.  The Padres again were able to score in the first inning, pushing across two runs.  The big hit was a deep double into the left-center gap by Les Gan.  The Padres later had another 2-run inning and played outstanding, errorless defense to make the four runs stand up and win the playoff championship by a final 4-0 score.  Maury Bell at shortstop and Angel Ramirez at third both made many great plays to anchor the defense, and pitchers Wayne Brendan and Mike Baniak were able to take advantage of the wind and weather to combine for a no hitter against a very good hitting Rangers team. Brendan got the win with his four solid innings and Baniak pitched the final three innings for the save.  Hitting stars were Les Gan, Angel Ramirez and Frank Gaweda with two hits apiece. 

A good time was had by all of the 65 Division players in what was a very unusual year.  Assuming we get COVID under control, we expect to grow to at least six teams for 2021 and we all look forward to another year of fun and good competition playing the game we love.