2023 Santa Barbara Waves Win First Title in Santa Barbara Men’s Adult Baseball League

Santa Barbara Men’s Adult Baseball League, 30+ Division

Waves 7, Zombie Cats 6

‘Ironman Simon Takes Care of Business on the Bump’

Submitted by Matt Hurst, Waves manager

This was the first-ever title for the Waves and only the second championship game appearance by the team in its history.  We made the title game last year, our first ever. We won the regular season league title, another first, and had high hopes going into the playoffs.

The team won six of our last seven games, all in tight contests, showing the team’s heart, grit, and reliance on each other to do what it takes to win. A lot of it was good pitching and defense, which, as you know, isn’t always common in these leagues.

We won every playoff game by one run, digging deep when it mattered most. As catcher and captain, I had a front-row seat to watch our starting pitcher, Dorian Simon, pitch three complete games in the playoffs and all one-run wins. He’ll give me credit for calling the games, but he had to execute the pitches. Further, we also bat 1-2 in the lineup, and it is only our third year playing on the Waves.

Our playoffs featured a double-elimination to get to the title game, with a winner-takes-all format in the finale. We earned a bye week with two wins in the first two playoff games, but a rainout pushed us another week out. Some may call that good fortune.  But for the Waves, we were disappointed.  We were ready to play, and worried about rust.

That quickly disappeared when we had a 1-2-3 first inning, and Dorian hit a leadoff home run. Tim Acree then hit a 3-run home run in the second inning and 4-0 felt like we were dominating. Give credit to the Zombie Cats, as they came back and took a 5-4 lead with two home runs of their own, but we never backed down. We pushed across a run to tie it, with me scoring on Matt McPherson’s base hit, and when the Zombie Cats scored again to take a 6-5 lead in the seventh, we pushed across another run when longtime Wave Paul Kouns lined an RBI single.

A bases-loaded walk brought in our go-ahead run in the same inning. The Zombie Cats had the tying run on second with two outs in the ninth, but a ground ball to third, scooped up by David Camargo, who fired to McPherson at first base, kicked off the celebration!

I hosted a team party at my house for all the Waves and our supporting families that night. We had a taco catering service serve us all-you-can-eat tacos, and we celebrated late into the night. We all signed the ball from the final out, and I have it sitting on my mantle at home.

It was great to see so many longtime Waves like Shawn Curt, Mike Parsons, Mike Troy, Brian McDonald, Kouns, J.J. Brunner, and McPherson finally get to celebrate after so many years of losing. And for the newer Waves like Dorian and myself, father and son combo Jon and Steven Hoot, and Camargo, Israel Soto, Acree, Daniel Ojeda, Andy Triant, and Cody Bidlow, two title games, and one championship trophy has hopefully turned the tide and winning will be our ‘new normal,’ or so we hope.