NSEW Connection 14, Las Vegas 60s 6
Submitted by Chuck Person, Manager
NSEW Connection is a team from all over the US that comes together to play in MSBL tournaments.
Entering the 2023 Las Vegas Open we started out slow losing the first game against the Las Vegas 60’s 12-2. Although we were in this game until the sixth inning, we could not get out of our own way and left multiple runners on base. After completing the first game, I sensed we were warming up and becoming more cohesive.
For game two, we were matched up against the Vets and beat them 24-3. The next was game three versus the Combines, a team mostly made up of players from Canada and California.
This game was interesting as it did not count toward the standings or advancement. We tried to keep the mindset that the game mattered and to engage in momentum, batting, defense, and motivation. The Combines were missing several key players who chose not to play. We sent out Tony Palacios, one of our relief pitchers to handle starting pitching responsibilities. This allowed our regular starting pitchers to rest. Tony was awesome and we won the game, 19-6.
We played the Combines again in game four, the semi-final. They were fully loaded with their entire roster and we knew we had to bring it! We started John Kukla (aka Kukes), who pitched incredibly well. We were down 2-3 going into the fourth inning, then “Kukes” settled in and did not give up another run and completed the game. We won this game 9-3 and were off to the Championship against the Las Vegas 60’s.
The Las Vegas 60’s were undefeated in this tournament and the team that had given NSEW Connection our only loss. Adam Mahl, one of our starting pitchers, pitched the complete championship game. Offensively we put seven on the board in the first inning and never came close to giving up the lead and won, 14-6.
I have to mention that three of our games, including the semi-final and championship, consisted of pitchers throwing complete games. This is our second championship in eight months and we feel like we are becoming an established team. As always, Connection was unified on pitching, hitting, defense, and camaraderie. Below is the roster for the Las Vegas Open:
Arizona – Adam Mahl #5, Chuck Person #47, Kirk Bridges #18, Hector Ortiz #17/California – James Gass #1, Jose Gonzalez #51, Jose Irizarry #3, Martin Guerrero #6, Richy “FLACKO” Acosta #10, Robert Sanchez Jr # 53, Vince Artalejo, Tony Palacios #33/Detroit – AJ Hampton #52/ North Carolina – Robert “ROBO” Poole #12/Wisconsin – Mike Starshak #13/Texas – Brian Penn #4/Illinois – John “KUKES” Kukla #15, Sam Paschka #17
Special recognition to Ann Penn. Ann does a fantastic job in taking care of Team Connection. Her time, patience, and impact on our team is an incredible asset. Thank you, Ann!