2023 Rangers Outduel PBC Royals in Three Game Series for 35+ Division Title at South Jersey MSBL

South Jersey MSBL, 35+ Division

Hartford Rangers 11, PBC Royals 2 (Game three in best of three championship series)

Submitted by Rob Price, Rangers’ manager (Compiled by Steve LaMontia)

This was a great team win!  Both the semis and the finals went to a Game three and WE were able to beat a solid team that has been the champion for the past couple of years.  We made a memorable championship year, with a bunch of gamers that knew their roles and produced together!

Colorful Logo of the South Jersey MSBL

The team the Rangers faced in the finals was the PBC Royals. They were the number one seed and we were the two seed. We were the visitors in game three and were fortunate to get off to a fast start with a 5-0 first-inning lead. Our defense was exceptional all year, including the final game. We backed our pitcher, Joe Ruffino, and our catcher Mike Bergstrom. Joe threw a complete game victory.

I have always preached before the game, and in our team updates on the group chat, that if we back up our battery mates and focus on the first batter of each inning to get that important first batter out, then that puts us in great shape to win the inning.  We were able to win 11-2.

We are a team mostly made up of older players. In fact, we have seven starting position players in their 50s and we were able to drop down a division after winning the 45-year-old division in 2021 to play in the 35 A division. It was a challenge that we all were up to and we were fortunate to beat some of the younger guys this year, as we fought through the playoffs to win our first 35A Division Championship.  We can definitely chalk one up for the older guys winning against the younger ones!  I am looking forward to next year as another player/manager decision-maker.

Editor’s note: In my discussion with Rob, I was informed of his journey as a high-level umpire, which I found very interesting.  I wanted to share his experiences with you.  In Rob’s own words: “I also spent eight years in the minor leagues as a professional umpire working my way up through AAA and Major League spring training. I did not reach the ultimate goal of getting a major league contract, but I was selected to umpire the Dominican World Series and work spring training games with the Red Sox and Twins down in Fort Myers.  It was a great experience.”