2022 45+ National

Miami Yankees 12, Detroit Orioles 2

Submitted by George Kenhan

The Miami Yankees reached a milestone by winning the MSBL Holiday Classic 2022 45+ National division championship played at the USSSA Space Coast Complex in Viera, Florida.  The Miami Yankees team was created in 2021 and was formerly known as the Miami Marlins.  I stepped down as head coach to become an assistant and Javy Lopez took the reigns as manager. Lopez has done a phenomenal job of recruiting the missing pieces to put it together and win it all. The Yankees are built on great defense and solid pitching. With the addition of great hitters, the stage was set for tournament play.

The Yankees went 3-0 in pool play to secure the #2 seed in the tournament. The matchup between two powerhouse clubs, the Miami Yankees and the Orlando Spartans in the Semi-finals was the turning point of the tournament. It was a brisk Viera night with the Spartans taking the early 2-0 lead.  The Yankee’s patience at the plate led to the breakout inning against the hard-throwing Spartan’s pitcher putting the Yankees ahead 5-2.

Yankees pitcher and MVP Carlos Castillo pitched five innings the night before and threw all nine in this contest. In the top of the ninth, a very good Spartan’s team got a few breaks from errors that led to a tie game. Yankee shortstop Joey Kenhan dove at a ball between short and third and from his knees threw the runner out at third to end the Spartan threat.  The Yankees go ahead and eventual winning run started with a runner on second and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.  Chaz Lemoine drew a walk, and three pitches later stole second base. With two outs and a 3-2 count, I was fortunate to get the walk-off hit to left field to win the game and move the Yankees onto the Championship game.

It turns out that the championship game was a rematch between the solid Detroit Orioles, who defeated the Yankees the prior year 5-4.  Jason Kelly took the ball on the hill for the Yankees. Jason is one of many Yankee warriors who played many innings throughout the tournament. With a tired arm, Jason found the way to dominate with pitching experience and skill. This paved the way for the Yankees offense leading to a 12-2 championship game victory.

Carlos Castillo was voted MVP for his all-around performance.  Castillo was one of the leading tournament hitters while throwing five innings Saturday night and then coming back Sunday to go the distance with a dominant pitching performance. Honorable mentions who had a great tournament at the plate and defensively were Jose “Curro” Zabala, Joey Kenhan, and Bryan Probst.  

The Yankees are now 9-1-1 in their young two years of existence and are looking forward to future tournaments.  Start spreading the news!