2021 55+ National
San Antonio Bombers 2, Team Victory 1 (11 innings)
‘Championship Run Dedicated to Fallen Bomber Frederick Douglas’
Submitted by Jack Held, Bomber’s manager
The road to the MSBL 55 National Championship was very interesting for the FD 21 San Antonio Bombers. FD 21 is in honor of our fallen Bomber, Frederick Douglas, who passed away in January of 2020. Freddie was one of the original Bombers from the inception of the San Antonio Bombers in 1997.
With four Bombers fresh from winning the 2021 50 National title (Joe Whitmer, Phil Galloway, JR Broils, and Jack Held) we felt like we were playing with “House Money” on the path to another title. We had nothing to lose as winning one National Championship ring is an awesome accomplishment.
The 55 National division had eight teams but only the top two teams, after pool play, advanced right to the championship game. The next four teams played for a Mountain division title. Needless to say, finishing first or second in pool play was the strategy.
Our first pool play game ended in a 5-5 tie and who would have known that this tie would be key in finishing in second place in pool play. The Bombers scored three runs in the top of the ninth to secure a tie. The Bombers finished pool play 4-1-1 just ahead of a 4-2 team as the tie proved to be very beneficial.
During pool play pitcher Steve Stone closed four of six games securing one win, two saves, and a quality no-decision in the tie game. Pool play hitting was led by Steve Stone, Joe Kramer, Rob Kluba, JR Broils, Dale Eby, Jack Stern, Randy Mendoza, Lester Bedford, and Dave White. Key starting pitching performances in pool play came from Joe Sansom, Phil Galloway, Dale Eby, Gary Almes, and Randy Mendoza.
The Championship game against Team Victory ended in an 11 inning 2-1 win for the FD 21 Bombers and was one of the most exciting championship games the Bombers have ever played. Excellent pitching and great defensive plays from both teams. Victory took a 1-0 lead after three innings but in the top of the fourth, the Bombers tied the game on a clutch double by Steve Stone with the possible lead run thrown out at home plate. Joe Whitmer pitched 7 1/3 strong innings and was relieved by Steve Stone who pitched 3 2/3 innings to get the win. The Bombers took the lead in the top of the 11th on a timely clutch double from Randy Mendoza. The game ended in the bottom of the 11th as first baseman Dale Eby snagged a line drive bullet and doubled off the runner at first base for a game-ending unassisted double play.
The FD 21 Bombers were led in hitting with two hits each from JR Broils, Joe Kramer, Jack Stern, and three hits from Jack Held. Our tournament MVP Steve Stone had a fantastic week at the plate, playing second base, and his pitching as a closer was imperative in the Bomber championship run.
The FD 21 Bombers came into the World Series with only a 16-man roster due to some injuries from reliable veteran San Antonio Bombers. With only 16 players, it was safe to say everyone contributed and was instrumental in winning the 55 National title. It was an awesome week of baseball as the team had no egos to contend with, just a great group of guys that wanted to have fun and play baseball.
I truly believe Mr. Frederick Douglas was watching over us. Freddie had a saying he would use whenever a clutch situation came up, he would say “cool if you do and cool if you don’t”. Thanks to Freddie we did it!