Astros 7, Miami Yankees 6 (10 innings)
Submitted by Frank Parisi, Astros manager
‘A Walk-off Championship Win’
The New York Astros, trailing 6-0 early, was able to come all the way back and win it in dramatic fashion, 7-6, scoring the winning run in the bottom of the tenth inning. The win gave the Astros their very first Florida tournament victory after many tries and close calls. But that is only half the story.
Through the years, we have had very good success in our home leagues and northeast tournaments in the 25+ and 35+ age groups, winning multiple times. However, we haven’t been able to break through in Florida. We’ve been competing in the Fall Classic (35+ and 45+) for over ten years and this was our second Holiday Classic (45+). The team is comprised of a mix of talent and personalities. Mostly our local team, adding other talents from our home league as well as some Florida and California players to round out a very good roster that has grown together over the years.
It’s not how you start but how you finish, right? We started 0-2 on the first day losing two tough games. We didn’t panic, as the team went into ‘must win’ mode and the guys responded. On day two we got past a good Orlando team, winning 7-6 to get us into the playoffs and that’s when things really got interesting.
Heading into the playoffs at 1-2, we knew we had our work cut out for us.
The Playoffs started with a wild 10-9 walk-off victory over the Lehigh Valley Railriders. Phil Baldwin won it in style with a bottom-of-the-ninth, walk-off base hit. The game was so crazy that it included three ties and five lead changes.
After catching our breath, the Astros were able to advance past the Warriors in the quarter-finals behind the great pitching of Jason Fohrenbach (9 innings, 0 ER). This set up a Finals game versus the Miami Yankees.
This was the same Yankee team that beat us in the 2022 Fall Classic playoffs on their way to a tournament run. In that game we had the tying run thrown out at the plate in the ninth inning. It’s even crazier that the same three people (hitter, runner, and third base coach) were involved in both Fall Classic and Holiday Classic game-ending plays. Hats off to the Miami Yankees, who competed their butts off, and are a very good baseball team and an even better group of men.
It took every person on our roster to get this done and here is a glimpse:
Mark Flatten, Tournament MVP. Mark played flawless shortstop, batted over .400, pitched out of multiple late-inning, bases-loaded jams to get wins, and got the championship-winning hit.
Phil Baldwin, MVP runner-up. He caught every inning, batted .385, was a bulldog behind the plate, and had the winning hit in the semi-finals.
Ryan Gorecki hit over .380 and played great infield, making a few web gems at second.
Joe Reznick hit over .375, played Gold Glove first base, and had two game-changing at-bats in the finals.
Dalton Young was a force in the middle of the lineup all tournament hitting .350 and played solid outfield.
Jay Fohrenbach made four appearances with 17 innings and a complete game quarter-final win.
Patrick O’Donnell hit .350 for the tournament and provided his usual steadiness at third base.
Joe Giannie pitched 14 innings over three solid appearances.
Dave Brohman pitched over 11 innings and started the championship game, giving us a chance to win.
Tommy Conley pitched two relief appearances with 0.00 era in both the semi-finals and finals.
Omar Norris played a steady right field while getting a few clutch hits himself.
Greg Visco played multiple infield positions and had key playoff at-bats.
Mo Bonnilla, who pitched and played infield, really came alive in the playoffs after struggling early showing his mental toughness and resolve.
Billy Pisani played steady centerfield while his bat got hot in the playoffs.
Mike Smollon, a new addition, helped by giving us quality innings out of the pen.
Astros bench and third base coach Billy Peck contributed his experience, baseball IQ, and presence to prove once again invaluable to the team.
To be able at any age to still go out there and play the game that we love is truly a blessing. Congratulations to all the champions and hats off to all who competed.
Here are some YouTube links to various championship videos:
“WOW, it doesn’t get any better than this. This was one heck of a ride!”