Chicago Central MSBL, 60+ Division
Chicago Central Northstars 8, Islanders 5 (Game two in best-of-three championship series sweep)
Submitted by Glenn Gaffney, Northstars manager
In the first playoff game against the Colt 45s at Montini, Tom Foote pitched the first four innings and was near flawless facing only 15 batters, one hit, no earned runs, and no walks. Rich Williams polished of the Colt 45’s 1,2,3 in the fifth. Mike (Needels/JeffJr) Niedziela and Mark Sena led the offense with Mark pounding out two long doubles and three RBI’s. The final score of game one was 12-1 after 4 1/2 innings.
In Game two at Tiger, Billy Alvarez cruised through four innings allowing one earned run, six hits, no walks, and two K’s, while facing only 18 batters. Tom Foote shut down the fifth with two K’s. The Northstars offense was led by Jerry Bornoff and Wally Czarny who combined for six hits, two doubles, five runs scored, and a stolen base. Needles led off this game and was 2-2 with a HBP and a stolen base. Burger and Footer also had two hits. The final score was 12-2 after five innings.
In the championship series against the Islanders at Montini, Billy Alvarez faced off against Tom Howell, who hopefully will team up for the 65+ Nords this October in Arizona at the World Series. Billy shut out the challengers, facing 25 Islanders in 6 2/3 innings, allowing only five hits and one walk.
Tom Howell only gave up seven hits and bagged seven K’s with no walks. In the first inning, a double by Wally, followed by a hit by Tom Foote, broke the ice 1-0. In the third with two outs, Joltin’ Joe Davis singled, Vinnie doubled and a clear-eyed, perfect vision Wally again came through large and cracked a triple to score two.
It was all pitching and defense after that on both sides. Dan Kraiss came in with the bags juiced in the seventh to get the final out for a game one ‘W’ with the final score of 3-0.
In game two, Bobby Buffa started at Tiger pitching 4 2/3 innings, allowing four runs, three earned, on eight hits and one walk. The Islanders started veteran Jack Pohlmeier, who allowed only one run in the first from a Vinnie and Tom Foote combo of hits.
However, in the fifth, the Nordsmen came back to make the game 4-3 with hits by Denevi, Burger, Sena, and Niedziela. Kraiss captured the bottom of the fifth which included a key stolen base attempt toss-out of Carl Franco by Jerry Bornoff to Wally Czarny at second.
The Champions showed off their offense prowess in the top of the sixth with a lead-off hit by Rich Williams, followed by a Vinnie single and then the ‘Islander Special’ double steal. Wally, Tom, and Jerry seized on that momentum with three straight hits. Larry Burger piled on with a 2-out hit for a big four-run inning. The Islanders tried to come back in the bottom of the sixth and scored one run but in turn, gave it back in the top of the seventh to the real Jeff Davis and Steve DeFillipis.
Mike Denevi shut down the Islanders in the bottom of the seventh, 1,2,3 with a K and two weak ground outs, making the final score 8-5 and securing the championship. The Awards Champagne Party was ON with Super Chef Tom Spathies!
The Northstars completed the 2023 Season at 20-0-1. Thanks for a great season and I hope to see you all again next year!
Below are a couple of championship videos taken after the final game: