2022 50+ Central
Mustangs 7, Chicago North TSP’s 4
Submitted by Mike LaComb, Mustangs manager
The Mustangs Baseball Club won their third consecutive World Series 50+ championship! The previous two years were at the Cactus level and this year moved up a level and won the Central division title.
As the week began, it didn’t look like another Mustang championship was in the cards, as the team got off to a slow 1-3 start in round-robin play. But, with their backs to the wall, the wins started to come as they went undefeated the rest of the way. The defense and the pitching set the tone as Ron Barckhoff at shortstop and Chris Dunn in center captained the on-field defensive play. Robert Maher and Joe Flanagan handled all the catching. Dave Kaufmann led the team in innings played, as he held down left field all week. Tom Taylor did some pitching and was the bench coach of the team for the third year in a row.
On Wednesday in round-robin play, the Mustangs defeated the defending 2021 Central champion Long Island Panthers in a walk-off with Derick Smalling getting the walk-off hit. Then that afternoon, the team went on to beat the defending 2021 National level champion San Antonio Bombers behind a complete game pitched by Mark Gleason. Rick Barthol, Willie Jutze, Nick Arico, and Ralph Rodriguez each had key hits in the day’s action. It turned out that if the team had lost either one of those games, they would have been eliminated from playoffs. But with the two wins, it propelled them on.
In the first round of playoffs, the Mustangs had to beat the hard-hitting Caballeros team from Puerto Rico, with Lincoln Moquete pitching a complete game win for the Mustangs. Rick Clough, Carlos Perez, Vince Towns, and Robert Calvert provided the firepower with some doubles and a triple in the gaps to carry the offense.
As the team entered the championship game against the top-seeded Chicago TSP team, Lincoln Moquete again got the ball as the starting pitcher for the fourth time in the week. He went into the sixth inning before he finally said enough. He pitched 34 innings in the tournament! The gutsy Mike McLeod took the mound, fighting back an injury sustained early in the week which had sidelined him. He pitched four scoreless innings for the save.
The Mustang offense was led by Steve Hutchinson and Derick Smalling who both had three hits. Dave Haggart, Rick Clough, and Robert Calvert each had two hits to lead the way to the championship.