2023 Bux-Mont 30+ Championship Series Nailbiter Sees Homers for Hope Yankees Take Home Title

Bux-Mont MSBL, 30+ Division

Homers for Hope Yankees 5, Deep Run Thunderhawks 4 (Game three in best-of-three championship series)

In a championship series for the ages, the Homers for Hope Yankees took on the Deep Run Thunderhawks in a best-of-three series that was a test of will and determination, which came down to the last out of the series to crown a champion.

In Game One, Deep Run jumped out to a 7-run lead early, and their offense on the day was led by home runs from Rich Delgato and Brian Van Vreede. Homers for Hope battled back on the base paths with seven stolen bases and timely hitting. Yankees starting pitcher, Dan Fox, added a home run in the fourth, and the Deep Run lead was cut down in the seventh inning thanks to a 3-run home run by Lee Middleberg. But it was not enough to hold off the league-leading offense of Deep Run, who won 10-7, and saw Thunderhawks pitcher Kevin Smith pick up the win.

Game Two was a back-and-forth battle out of the gate. With Homers for Hope facing a potential sweep, they jumped out to an early lead thanks to a 2-run single in the first inning from starting pitcher Kevin Vuernick, and a steal of home by Derrick Morgan in the second. But the potent Deep Run offense came alive in the third with a 3-run home run from Brian Van Vreede to give them a 4-3 lead.

The Yankees battled back in the top of the fifth, which saw Ryan Goodman double to knock in the tying run, steal third, and then score the go-ahead run on a sac fly from Lee Middleberg. Vuernick would then shut the door over the remaining three innings, earning the complete game win in which he allowed six hits and 0 earned runs.

Andrew Taylor took the loss for Deep Run, throwing seven complete innings, including 9 K’s and two walks. The Yankees 5-4 win sent the series to a decisive Game three to be played just two days later.

In the deciding Game Three, both teams were depleted of pitching, and Deep Run rolled out Game One winning pitcher Kevin Smith, while Homers for Hope would counter with Derrick Morgan, who had thrown only three innings all season, to face the potent Thunderhawk bats.

The Yankees jumped out to an early lead after Joe “Reds” Tierney stole home in the second inning. The third inning started off with Ryan Goodman walking, then stealing second and third, and scoring on a Lee Middleberg sac fly. The scoring continued with Kevin Vuernick doubling in Tom Crilley, then giving Homers a 5-1 lead.

Game two pitcher for Deep RunAndrew Taylor would come in to pitch, giving up only one hit and racking up 8 K’s in the final three innings, quieting the Yankees offense. Morgan kept the Thunderhawk hitters off-balance, scattering five hits over four innings, and giving up three runs, two earned, with one K and no walks.

Lee Middleberg would come in to pitch the final three frames for the Yankees, giving up only one hit, and one unearned run, with 4 K’s, including strikeouts of the final two batters in the seventh inning, stranding the game-tying and winning runs in scoring position to secure the 5-4 championship win! Morgan earned the win, and Middleberg the save.

This championship represents a bit more to the Yankees, who are part of the Homers for Hope charity organization, which uses baseball and softball events to raise funds in support of local families who have suffered a tragedy. This season, every player on the Homers for Hope Yankees used their love of the game to raise money to pay the bills for the Gonzalez family, whose son Nate is battling a brain tumor.

As fate would have it, Nate rang the bell to signify the completion of his most recent treatment just two days after the Homers for Hope Yankees won their championship, literally turning their homers into hope.

For more information about Homers for Hope, please visit www.homersforhope.org