2023 65+ Division

Tri-Valley Gigantes 18, Paladin 17

Submitted by Ben Cabanas, Gigantes manager

The Tri-Valley Gigantes defeated Paladin, 18-17 in the 65+ Championship at the MSBL Las Vegas Kickoff Classic at Desert Diamond Stadium. It was a nail-biting 12-inning game that started with the Gigantes jumping out to a 6-0 lead in the top of the first as the first six batters, Gary Huizar, Joe Polance, Mark Weathers, Derrel Blair, Dale Skinner, and Dale Robbins all scored.

The Gigantes continued to score while Paladin chipped away at the lead and finally tied the score in the bottom of the seventh, 14-14. Gigantes starter Mike Allen, who got the save in the semi-final game the night before, gave way in the bottom of the seventh to Gary Huizar, who pitched masterfully the rest of the way with Rick Salmeri catching.  The Gigantes scored one run in the top of eight to take the lead, only for Paladin to tie in the bottom half.

The Gigantes again took the lead in the top of the tenth only to be tied again in the bottom half.  In the top of the 12th, Derrell Blair, Dale Skinner, and Dale Robbins scored three runs to take the final lead. Paladin made their final comeback attempt, scoring two runs while having the winning run on base, before falling short.

The Gigantes started the tournament slow with a 9-4 loss to Paladin. In the second game, the hitting machine turned on as the Gigantes scored 91 runs in the next four games. The winning streak started with a 26-6 win over the Vets led by perfect days at the plate from Gary Huizar and Dave Scola, who each had three hits, a walk, and an HBP.  

In the semi-final game, we beat the Inland Angels, 20-18. The Angels jumped out to a 9-1 lead but the Gigantes chipped away and finally took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth. Middle innings reliever Ray Quinteros and closer Mike Allen cooled off the Angels’ offense after a hot start. Excellent signal calling from catcher Larry Rehberg was critical, as he caught the entire game.  Joe Polance had a perfect evening at the plate including a home run.

It was a great team effort with everyone contributing. A few contributions to note are pitchers Mike Allen, Ray Quinteros, and Gary Huizar. Catchers Larry Rehberg and Rick Salmeri. The hitting machine was led by Joe Polance, batting .800 with two home runs, Gary Huziar .611, Dale Skinner .579, and Dale Robbins .500. Also swinging hot bats and hitting over .400 were Mark Weathers, Steve Mahler, Dave Scola, Ray Quinteros, and Bob Thompson.