Lehigh Valley MSBL, 55+ American Division Playoffs Champion
Riegelsville Reds 8, Old Prospects 3
‘Iron Man Kwiecinski Takes the Mound for Complete Game Victory’
Submitted by Greg ‘Doc’ Stokes, Reds manager
The series was between the Riegelsville Reds and the Old Prospects for the 55+ championship. We had split a doubleheader earlier in the year so we knew we were in for a dog fight. They are a good team and many of their players have been in the league a long time.
We played the first game on Saturday and we allowed six unearned runs. Dave Morris pitched plenty well enough to win, however we played tight and just couldn’t get it together and lost 6-3. The Old Prospects played well behind Keith Shaffer,who is a real smart pitcher and has pitched in the league a long time. With one out and two on base, Shaffer pounced on an attempted bunt for a hit by Guzik to get the second out in the ninth. He showed over and over the experience and skill that comes with facing hundreds of batters in his career.
My pregame speech on Sunday was short and sweet. We got that out of our system yesterday, have fun and play the game for each other and let’s go out and win the championship. As poorly as we had played on Saturday, we played just about error-free for two games on Sunday. Wayne Cawley was caught by Billy Kwiecinski and the two of them kept the OP off balance all game. They were backed up by a couple of double plays by Kevin Bell and Joey Vasile and Wayne threw a guy out from his knees at first base. Kwiecinski and Vasile teamed up to throw a guy out at second when Billy showed off that arm so that was about it for stealing. We also nailed a guy at home with Dave Guzik showing off a strong arm from center hitting Morris on the cut off and Kwiecinski putting on the perfect tag at home.
Our offense pounded out 17 runs in a 17-7 win for game two. Now we knew we had a chance and the boys smelled blood in the water. After catching 16 innings, Billy Kwiecinski took the mound and pitched an absolute gem of a final. Our leadoff batter Bob Beck, who had a hot bat all season, smoked a ball to deep left center that would have one hopped off the fence but the Old Prospects Jim McRoberts made an ESPN highlights reel back hand grab in stride running flat out. Everyone applauded his catch and with a tip of the hat sat Beck on the bench. What a play!
This game was definitely not over until the last play when the ball was smoked at Nelson Albert at first. He managed to knock it down and it three hopped to Vasile,who was backing up from second. They never gave up on the play and Albert returned to first and Vasile threw him out by a step.
Some of these boys lived through the growing pains of a new team with not so much talent and a couple of 0-18 seasons. Slowly but surely, we built a good team around some excellent pitchers and our record started to improve. I said at the beginning of the season that we had the talent to win the championship and that should be our goal. It took a few games to get it together but you could see that the team was getting better with each game. We finished the season at 5-5 and were 4-1 in the playoffs and finals. I simply could not be prouder of this team. They never quit and never doubted that they could do it and on Sunday it truly showed. Hats off to you fellas and thanks to the Old Prospects for a tough series. Can’t wait for next season. LET’S GO REDS!!!!!