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Sacramento Men’s Senior Baseball League Relocates to New Army Depot Park

Submitted by Alan Van Ness, League President

(Photos by Jane Burkitt) The Sacramento MSBL opened the Sacramento Army Depot Park, our new home, on July 17th, 2019.  The city of Sacramento donated land to replace McAuliffe Park, the long-time home of SMSBL and Sacramento Babe Ruth. More than 10 million dollars was spent by Sacramento State University to replace McAuliffe Baseball Complex. We now have two Triple A equivalent fields with LED lighting and 20 acres of land to develop into a beautiful park for the next many generations to play baseball.

The 50+ Division Sacramento Dragons and the Sacramento Athletics were on Field one as I was honored to throw out the first pitch. On Field two, the Sacramento Royals played the Nationals. There are many complex issues to work through and finish developing, but the fields are playable. The Night League broke it in and the following morning our Golden League played.  The Sunday League then had a full day of four games at our new home. In the first week all three leagues played at the new complex.

The SMSBL will hold a “Thank You Ceremony” on August 18th from 10-11 am followed by an open house from 10-2 pm. We will include city officials, Sacramento State officials as well as extend an invitation to the public to come view our new home.  I hope to see many long-time players, both current and former, show up to see what they have a part of.

It took many SMSBL volunteers in the mid 90’s to help build our original home. It is because of the foundation they laid as to why the city has decided to replace the two-field McAuliffe Baseball Complex. Sacramento State University will build new high-rise dorms where McAuliffe once was. I am very blessed to lead such an outstanding baseball league that continues to grow.  (additional pictures below)

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Dave Reynolds, Puget Sound Senior Baseball League: ‘A Baseball Miracle’

The story below was written by Puget Sound Senior Baseball League president Tom Evans Krause and posted on the Puget Sound website for all to read.  We obtained permission from Tom to reprint this article about long-time league member Dave Reynolds, who faced some serious health issues in 2018, lost 55 pounds from his 6′ 5″, 230 pound frame yet at the age of 68 vowed to make it all the way back and play again.  This story is Dave’s ‘Baseball Miracle’ as written by Tom Evans Krause.

By Tom Evans Krause

This is a story of love, faith, determination and, yes, add in a bit of miracle power.  Pitcher/First Baseman Dave Reynolds has played in the MSBL-affiliate Puget Sound Senior Baseball League for fourteen seasons.  He’s been a mainstay for the Tacoma Tugs, who have competed in several different PSSBL age brackets over the years.  Dave has also played for the 3n2 Rangers for a number of seasons in other PSSBL divisions.

A 5-time divisional champion who has also won multiple national championship rings, Dave Reynolds has more than 140 career wins while sporting a .360+ batting average.  He was inducted into the Puget Sound Senior Baseball League Hall of Fame in June, 2018.

Just four months later Reynolds experienced what he initially thought was a reaction to a flu shot.  In reality, he had experienced a gall-stone attack on his pancreas which led to pancreatitis.

He developed pseudo cysts which grew from walnut to grapefruit size….and got infected. This led to “walled-off” pancreatic necrosis—his blocked pancreatic enzymes had eaten two-thirds of his pancreas which, unfortunately does not regenerate itself. Nearly two liters of fluid—the remains of what was once two-thirds of his pancreas—was removed the day after Christmas and a tube was inserted to drain the remaining “necrotic debris” for nearly 3 months.

Throughout this health crisis Reynolds had to flush the tube 3 times a day and could not stand or walk without having light-headedness, dizziness and shortness of breath.  He was wheelchair-bound and couldn’t exert himself in any way.

After doctors were able to save one-third of Dave’s pancreas, his appetite returned and he was able to eat 3500-4000 calories a day for a week in early February, 2019.  Despite the high calorie intake, he still lost 10 more pounds for a total of 55 pounds dropped since October.  Doctors instituted new treatments to help him overcome pancreatic enzyme insufficiency and on March 13, 2019 he awoke after the best sleep he’d had in 5 months and all symptoms appeared to be gone.

Dave Reynolds was cleared to start working out a week later assisted by team mates and a sports therapist.  It was the answer to many prayers.  Reynolds’ wife, Helena, who was by his side (or behind pushing his wheelchair) for the entire ordeal, wrote to family, friends, team mates and players throughout the league that “it would take a miracle for Dave to get back on the field this season.”

The 68-year old Reynolds’ began an arduous training regimen guided by a sports therapist and assisted by Tugs team mates.  Over the next four months he gained back 30 pounds of muscle mass with an eye toward rejoining his teams for the remainder of the 2019 campaign.

The love for baseball can be an incredibly strong motivator and Miracles Do Happen!

Reynolds rejoined the Tacoma Tugs for his 15th PSSBL season on Sunday, July 14th, taking the mound as the starting pitcher against the rival defending champion Rainier Division (60 & over) Mariners.  He threw three strong innings facing 16 batters while only giving up two runs – one of which was unearned.  In his first at bat Dave singled and scored while the Tugs built a 9-2 lead.  Despite a furious comeback by the Mariners against his bullpen, Reynolds and the Tugs persevered 9-7.

The next night, July 15th, Dave pitched 48 more pitches in 4 stellar innings, went 2 for 3 with a walk and left the game with a 3-2 lead.  Although the Tugs didn’t win that game, Dave is winning his health back.

Love, faith, determination, miracles – the inspirational Dave Reynolds story, which continues to unfold each day!

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2019 AA Paving Nationals Topple Rival Pirates for North County (San Diego) 53+ Spring Title

Top L/R: Doug Buetel, Dave Tenney, Jon Kirk, Chuck Schmidt, Rob McKnight, Earl Andrewson, Marshal Giggs, Dennis Dusso. Bottom L/R: Andre Burgos, Dwayne Widman (DW), Caroline (Princess) Schmidt (scorekeeper/player), Dave Wilkins, Joe Parra, Rick Foreman, Tommy Lopez, Dave Henry.  Not pictured: Kevin Kron, John Mulkey, Rick Itzkowich, Geno Sutter. 
Managers: Dave Wilkins & Jon Kirk

Submitted by Dave Wilkins, Nationals Co-manager

The championship game was between us, the AA PAVING NATIONALS and the S.D. PIRATES in the MSBL NORTH COUNTY (San Diego) 53+ South division.  Our two teams have played each other for the championship for the last 3 seasons.  All have been very good games.  The first season we lost by one run with the tying run on third and the winning run on second and couldn’t convert.  The second season (last season) we lost by five runs.

At the conclusion of this season we both had the same won/loss records, however the PIRATES had defeated us twice in the regular season with us defeating them only once as one of our scheduled games against each other was rained out.  This season was both of our team’s final game in the league and we came out on top 9 to 5.

Our MVP of the game was our pitcher Doug Buetel, who pitched 8 1/3 great innings.  He pitched out of two bases loaded situations, one in the fifth inning and one in the ninth inning.  Tommy Lopez hit a double to score the game tying run in the fifth inning.  Dennis Dusso, Marshall Gibbs, Joe Parra and Dave Tenney all came up big with RBI’s in the top of the ninth inning to put us ahead by four runs.

Earl Andrewson pitched the last 2/3 of the ninth inning to seal our victory.  Earl came in the game with one out and two men on base.  He gave up a double and one earned run and walked the next batter.  The next batter got on base on an E-6 which scored an unearned run.  Then Earl settled down and got the last two batters out on ground balls to end the game and secure our season as league champions.  A GREAT WAY TO GO OUT!!

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2019 Seals Post Fantastic Season in Sacramento Men’s Senior Baseball League Spring Session

Submitted by Scott Brown, Sacramento Seals

The Sacramento Seals played the Spring SMSBL season with thoughts toward their great friend and teammate John ‘JC’ Caputo as he battles stage 4 pancreatic cancer.  He is a founding father of the Seals and such a great person to be around.

The Seals played in the 50+ National division, the upper of the two divisions, and managed to go 9-2, led by our skipper Scott Stevens, who batted .385 and filled the big shoes of playing third base for JC and handling lineups and post-game refreshments!  Scotty is a great coach and we all enjoy playing for him.

The other leader of the team is definitely our catcher Matt Walbeck, formerly of the MLB Angels, Tigers, Cubs and Twins.  He has brought so much to each individual player as well as to the team. We owe him so much. Thanks Matt!!  Matt not only was the captain on the field as our catcher but he batted .500, had an OPS of 1.325 along with our first baseman Brian Jones, Tom Seaver’s nephew.  Steve McNeely also was a much needed bat and pitcher for us as he had two wins and batted .438.  We had so many solid players, such as Glen Gross, Eric ‘ET’ Taylor, Scott Babcock, Rick Nowaski and Eric Sex, just to name a few.  Eric also led the league with 17 runs scored.  All those guys hit over .360 and Glen and ET posted a combined 4-1.

We lost to the Royals in the Championship game by a score of 5-4.  The Royals are led by Sacramento HOF players Steve Welch, Gary Stonebrook and Tim Burkitt.  It was a great game and came down to the last out, as we had a runner at third base.  We are very lucky to play in the SMSBL run by our president Alan Van Ness and his crew. We want to throw out a big thanks to all of them!

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2019 Pikes Peak Classic in Colorado Springs Crowns Champions

Submitted by Bud Maison, Tournament Director

The 2019 Pikes Peak Classic MABL Championship finals between the Rocky Mountain Royals and the Rocky Mountain Oysters was won in comeback style. The Oysters jumped to a 5-0 lead but could not hold it. The final score was 10-6, Royals.  Adam Bartczak took home the MVP honors with two home runs and four rbi! Several highlights from this weekend including a no-hitter shutout by Brandon Pociask. The Royals are led by Manager Sloan Soulia.

The 2019 MSBL 50+ Championship between the Denver Mets and the Denver Stars demonstrated the heated rivalry. The Mets were 3-0 and the Stars knocked out the Legions Pistols to get into the finals. The Mets jumped out to an early lead in the first inning 4-0 and never looked back. The Stars made it look interest by getting within two runs in the fifth inning, but then the Mets took charge and the game got away from the Stars with a final score of 14-4. The Mets MVP was Jorge Fernandez. The Mets are led by Manager Nelson Rodriguez.

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2019 Sacramento Reds Claim 50+ American Division Spring Title

Sacramento Men’s Senior Baseball League, Spring 50+ American 

Reds 8, Orioles 3

‘Reds Topple #1 Seed Riverdogs on Way to Championship Over Orioles’

In an interview with Steve Brown, the Red’s Manager/Player, Brown stated that “It was a great team win.  Jim Marquardsen started on the hill in the Championship Game and pitched great and ended up pitching a complete game.  Our offense scored two runs in the first inning to give Jim a little bit of a cushion and he was able to relax and throw his game.  We also played great defense to keep them from scoring.

I am so proud of all the guys and it took the whole team to get us there, let alone to win.  It is tough for me to single out only a few guys because EVERYBODY contributed, but I guess I have to in order to help paint the story. But let me be clear, everybody in the team picture were and are key guys to this team and this Championship. Truth be told, our Reds struggled during the regular season with some tough losses by a run or two in the late innings on several key games.  In addition, like other teams I’m sure, we had several key injuries and could not seem to get in a rhythm due to games being postponed and even cancelled due to the weather at the end of the season.

We were lucky to even make the playoffs as the number four seed.  “As the four seed we had to play the first place Riverdogs, who are a tough team and had 10-runned us the last time we played them.  I think we surprised them for sure.  We struggled a bit at first, and had to make a pitching change in the second inning and went with our last available pitcher, Steve Kinyon, to close it out.”

Due to arm injuries and other factors with several of our other pitchers, we had no real plan if Steve got into trouble.  Steve pitched great and thankfully was able to go the rest of the distance and put us in position to win. It was a great game that went back and forth and all came down to a play at home plate to end the game.   We got the final out with a huge relay throw from Jason Standley in left field from a gap line drive double to deep left center field.  Jason tracked it down and relayed it to Brent Roloff at short who then threw a bullet to our catcher Eric Ferrari who put the tag on for the third and final out.

This play was huge because it prevented them from tying up the game or worse – losing it all with a walk off single.  We ended up scraping by with a 11-10 win against the Riverdogs, putting us in the Championship Game against the Orioles.  For both playoff games we really came together as a team.  It all happened with the right mix of great pitching, good at-bats, solid hitting and scoring, and huge defensive plays in both games.  “I could not be prouder of these guys individually and as a team”, said Brown.

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2019 Royals Capture 50+ National Spring Title in Sacramento Men’s Senior Baseball League

Sacramento Men’s Senior Baseball League, Spring 50+ National Division

Royals 5, Seals 4

‘Royals Shut Down Top Seed for Spring Title’

Submitted by Jim Tygrett-DeNuzzi

(Photo courtesy of Jane Burkitt) The Royals won the 2019 Sacramento Spring League 50+ championship with timely hitting and quality pitching.The Royals went into the playoffs seeded third and defeated the two-seed Nationals 4-1 with a great pitching performance from Gary Stonebrook. We then went up against the top seeded Seals and came away with a hard fought 5-4 nail biter for the win.

Tim Lindsay pitched the championship for the Royals and he and Seals pitcher Eric Taylor virtually matched each other for seven innings. Bobby Wooden produced the game winning rbi for the Royals, with Wooden, Roy McDaniel, Fred Lievano, and Skye Ropke producing two hits apiece during the game. Ropke also made a run saving catch in short right field from his shortstop position that prevented the game from going into extra innings.

The rest of the Royals players contributing all season are: Steve Welch, Phil Adams, John Daly, Mark Shillingburg, Eric Ferrari, Tim Burkitt, Rob Ericsson, Steve Aldag, Lanny Ropke and manager Jim Tygrett- DeNuzzi.  Special thanks goes out to our scorekeeper Kelly Welch.

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Redwood Empire Baseball League Celebrates 30 Years with MSBL

By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

The Redwood Empire Baseball League (REBL) is one of the MSBL’s premier leagues and is located in Sonoma County, California.  Started in 1990 by originating president Mike Zaccagna and celebrating their 30th anniversary this year under the MSBL banner, they are currently under the leadership of league president Rick Cantor, a post he has held since 2003.

“One of the things we are proud of as a league is in 2003 when I took over the helm we had 10 teams and now we have 38.  We must be providing a pretty good product,” stated Cantor.  “We were only exclusively an over-30 league at that time and now we offer play in 25+, 35+, 45+, 55+ and 65+ divisions.  We were one of the pioneers of the 65+ division five years ago with three teams and are now up to five and look to expand to six hopefully next year.”

As the league gets longer in the tooth it is always important to remember the original pioneers who were in the mix back in 1990 and are still active on and off the field.  “We are so blessed to have good people involved.  Our Legacy members (original) are Mike Zaccagna, Larry Hendrickson, Brad Silva, Paul Demattei, Don de Cordova and Art Hernandez.  Without the support of these men we wouldn’t be where we are today,” said Cantor

The 54-year old Cantor continues to play in the REBL, suiting up for the Pirates in both the 35+ and 45+ divisions.  He is only an occasional MSBL World Series participant because of some annual family commitments and timing issues but that should give way in the next few years.  “I would love to get back to Arizona.  It’s a great time.  I’ll be back before too long.”

Family involvement is also huge in the Redwood Empire Baseball League.  A nice family atmosphere has been one of the reasons this 30-year league has thrived.  “Nothing is more important than family.  It’s difficult as a player to fully enjoy the experience if those around you are not supportive.  Their involvement is necessary to be able fully enjoy it.  We are very fortunate to have conveyed that feeling.”

So what drives Rick to be the best president he can be?  “I have my own motivation to be the best I can be.  Don’t cut corners.  It’s important to have the guys playing on the best facilities and with the best umpires and teammates.  It’s my job to make sure that happens.  It’s nice to receive the league recognition and means a lot but I can’t take full credit for any of what goes on.  Our 13 board members are just as responsible and deserve to be recognized as well.”

Since coming into the league in 1995 and taking over in 2003 there must be some special moments that stick out. “I have played ball all my life and have accumulated many special moments but one that sticks out is when my father-in-law and long-standing league member, ‘Doc’ Charp, retired from his medical practice and we made his next game more of a party atmosphere with music and festivities.  He means so much to the league, and of course as Kimberley’s father he means a lot to me, so it was very touching and a day I’ll never forget.”

If you would like to read more about this special league as they celebrate their 30th anniversary, here is the link to their website:

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MSBL League Spotlight: Western Mass Wood Bat Baseball League

By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

The 25-over Western Mass Wood Bat Baseball League is an MSBL affiliate that began play in 2009, currently boasts eight teams and is headed up by 34 year-old league president Tony Consiglio, a position he has held since 2018 after serving as previous president Ted Davis’ vice president.  We recently had an opportunity to chat with Tony to fill in some blanks regarding why this gem of a league, located in Springfield, Massachusetts, is such a success.

Mike Whatley was the original president in 2009 and is still involved in the workings of the league, as is Ted, and I think the continuity of leadership and league administration is what lends itself to our success,” stated Consiglio.  “We had six teams last year and grew to eight this year and hope to grow from there.  I think a lot of that has to do with that continuity.”

Tony plays for the 12-2 Bullies in the WMWBL and is currently batting a solid .476 so he is no armchair administrator.  “I love just being around baseball and our players.  Staying involved in our great game is what means so much to me.”

One of Tony’s most memorable moments as president was a few weeks ago when his Bullies team faced off against Mike Whatley’s Senators in a league game in Cooperstown, New York, home of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.  “We had to try to get on their schedule last winter,” explained Tony.  “It was fantastic and this winter we are going to attempt to reserve a league weekend where everyone can experience a league game in the middle of all that history.”

The eleven-year-old league offers a 20-game summer schedule, with a ten-game minimum player attendance policy to qualify for the playoffs.  “A lot of our players are married, have girlfriends and also have kids.  That’s a big commitment off the field.  But we have found that they all love the league so much that they exceed the requirements and also bring their families.  That is very gratifying.”

They also offer a fall league.  “The fall league is a lot more casual and players may switch around on teams and play for the fun of playing before the northeast weather takes hold.  We still have playoffs but it is toned down a bit.”

We asked Tony what is the most satisfying part of being the president of the WMWBL.  “Just being able to know that we are helping to provide a way for people to keep playing and follow their dreams.  So many people I know don’t play anymore but would have if they had a chance like this to play baseball.  Mike and Ted started the league in the right direction and we still work together to deliver a quality experience.  I am happy to be able to carry the torch.”

“The organizational structure of the MSBL is invaluable in being able to tap into,” continued Consiglio.  “To be associated with baseball players from around the country in a baseball-only business is really special.  We’d be lost without the great league insurance program along with involvement with all of the national tournaments and the constant contact of the home office.  Just to know they are there just in case is a great comfort.  We feel that the national organization is always there and are very happy to be involved in the MSBL.”

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South Jersey MSBL Holds Annual Camden Little League Baseball Equipment Drive

Submitted by Lou Marshall, League President

It was a scorching hot day but people turned out for our fourth annual equipment drive, started in 2016. We filled two trucks with equipment for the Camden Little league system. We have branched out now to not only support the North Camden Little League but take care of the whole City of Camden and all the youth baseball organizations. The generosity was overwhelming.

This keeps growing year after year. I am very proud of our South Jersey Men’s Senior Baseball League and I am thankful for MSBL National giving us a platform to help those in need.