2022 60+ Central
Tri-Valley Tribute 4, Houston Tigers 2
This year’s MSBL World Series 60’s Central Division Champions was part of the original Tri-Valley Tribute team that was built during the COVID shutdown. This team repeated as ‘Back-to-Back Champions’ in the Central division. One great thing about this year’s team was that there were so many players that contributed.
Steve Roberts was added to the roster and he was our top RBI producer during the tournament. The team received stellar pitching from Eddie Delzer, John Hadley, Stan Holloway, and Mike Pankow whose combined ERA was below 1.00! Timely hitting and base running from Mark McNally, John Ramirez, John Hadley, Mark Aguillio, Jimmy Yamada, and John Hughes along with stellar defense from Jim Hadley, Raul Harris, McNally, John Hadley, Ramirez, and Pankow made this team very tough to beat.
The team was on a roll heading into the championship game against the Houston Tigers. The Tigers deserve a lot of credit as they played really tough. It was a close game with Tribute in the lead by a score of only 2-1 after four innings. In the fifth inning, Jimmy Yamada and Mike Pankow led off with singles. With one out, clean-up hitter Steve Roberts came to the plate and was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Jim Lakin came to the plate and hit a fly ball to right that allowed Jimmy to tag up and score from third, while Mike Pankow was able to advance to third. Rick Hanson then came to the plate and hit a sharp grounder to the Tigers’ second baseman who was not able to field it cleanly, allowing Pankow to score the fourth run of the game.
Meanwhile, Eddie Delzer was pitching a gem only allowing one more unearned run in the sixth inning. Eddie was the winning pitcher as he threw all nine innings, surrendering eight hits and striking out six to beat Houston 4-2.
This championship win is special because it was back-to-back, which is an immense accomplishment. Having come up short on other teams, despite talent, it’s clear that it’s hard enough to win one!
It was truly a total team effort with so many unselfish contributors. Eddie Delzer, John Hadley, and Steve Roberts made MVP contributions to this Championship, but Art Scears, the manager, was honored by the entire team by being named team MVP for pulling all the right strings.
What makes the Tribute team special and unique is not tournament wins, or the great players on the team, it is that this team is playing for the ones that we have lost or can no longer play this game. Three years ago, before COVID, the Tri-Valley MSBL was devastated by the tragedy of losing seven significant players to early deaths and four more to permanent debilitating injuries in less than 12 months. The loss of so many key players and more importantly dear friends gave rise to forming a motivated team of players willing to play with no name on their backs in honor of their friends. Mike Pankow convinced Art Scears to come out of his “Covid-Fog retirement”, who had managed multiple league, regional tournament, and World Series championship teams, to manage as a “Tribute”, hence Tribute was born.