2021 45+ National Division
Tri Valley 45’s 21, Las Vegas Rattlers 10
‘Tri-Valley Forties Back in the Winners Circle’
Submitted by Mark Murray/David Matthiesen
The Tri-Valley 45’s, known by all around the MSBL as “The Forties”, won the 2021 MSBL Las Vegas Kickoff Classic 45+ National Division with a perfect 5-0 record for their first MSBL tournament championship since the 45+ MSBL National Division World Series in 2009.
Much like their familiar MSBL tourney opponents the Boston Wolfpack, who competed in the 55+ division, the Forties were also playing in honor of the memory of a recently fallen Tri-Valley 40’s teammate and former tourney manager, John Sellick. John lost a year-long battle with cancer and his uniform was worn with pride by long time teammate Tim Rodriguez. The storied Forties tournament team have unfortunately also lost three other core players since 2019, which just happened to be the 2015 MSBL World Series tournament starting outfield trio of Derick Lynch, Anthony “Rook” Jones, and Kenny Beecham.
The Forties went 3-0 in round robin play with runaway wins over the Santa Clarita Athletics, Las Vegas Senators, and Silverton Red Sox.
In the semi-final, Tri-Valley faced off with the Willamette Hops in a game that took two days to complete due to field lighting issues. Following a 45+ minute lighting outage after the first inning, the Forties trailed the Hops 11-10 in the top of the seventh inning, but also had bases loaded with one out when the lights went out again on their regular evening schedule. The next morning, with 16 minutes left in the playoff time limit, the Forties plated six additional runs to go up 16-11, and then they were able to get the three outs in the bottom of the seventh to end the game. Joe Elias got the complete game pitching win across both days.
For the finals, the Tri-Valley 45’s were matched up with the always dangerous and repeat Kickoff Classic champion Las Vegas Rattlers and their ex-MLB lefty Vic Darensbourg. The Forties batting lineup proved to be up to the task while putting up impressive numbers to ultimately win 21-10. Joe Elias, fresh off his semi-final/two-day win, started the final and got through four innings before giving way to John Hadley to close out the game.