Tri-Valley Tribute 14, Yonder Travelers 5
Submitted by David Matthiesen, Tribute Co-Manager
The Tri-Valley 55+ Tribute scored early and often in their 14-5 championship game victory over the Yonder Travelers in the Mountain section of the 2022 55+ National/Mountain division.
After a 4-2 pool play record and a 12-inning semi-final win, the Tribute jumped to a 6-1 lead in the championship as powered primarily by the hitting of co-MVPs Loren Peterson (4-for-5) and Lenny Towle (5-for-5). Just when the Travelers had gradually trimmed the lead down to two runs to claw their way back into contention, Tri-Valley plated seven more runs over the next three frames to put the game out of reach.
Co-MVP Fernando “Nando” Naranjo went the distance on the mound for the victory, which is an amazing feat considering he had just pitched 9 2/3 innings of relief in the semi-final victory over San Diego North the day before. Moreover, Nando had significantly pulled his calf muscle early in pool play, and with days of rest, treatment, and a small adjustment to his pitching motion, he was able to gut through and lock down both playoff victories for the Tribute.
Catcher Mark Murray was also tabbed as a co-MVP for his clutch batting, on-base prowess (6 HBPs!), and tireless catching that included all 12 innings of the semi-final victory. As all four players had truly stellar weeks, it was unanimously voted by the team that all four would share MVP honors. All three hitters batted well over .500 for the week, combined to drive in and/or score most of Tri-Valley’s runs, and all played significant roles on defense.
Honorable mentions go out to shortstop Jonathan Parkhurst and DH Steve Roberts, who also had fantastic stats for the week. Beyond Nando, the pitching staff of Vince Duffy, Mike Pankow, John Hadley, Eddie Delzer, Steve Reno, Mike Auer, and Scott Murray all combined to put the Tribute in a position to get to and ultimately win the championship.
The Tri-Valley 55+ Tribute is co-managed by Art Scears, David Matthiesen, and Mark Murray, while Mike Pankow is the “co-GM” along with Art. The 55+ Tribute edition are the evolution and culmination of two of the most successful tournament teams in MSBL World Series history: the Tri-Valley 40’s and the Tri-Valley Giants. The Tribute name that started in 2021 comes from honoring the untimely passings of several of our teammates over the last 5+ years. We carry them in our hearts every time we play, because they no longer can. To this we pledge that we will not put names on the back of the Tribute uniforms, so we can all focus on the name on the front.