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2014 A’s Squeak By White Sox for Fresno 18+ Title

Fresno MABL 18+ Stan Bledsoe Division

Fresno A’s 7, White Sox 6

Submitted by David Geiger, manager

The A’s had great performances all around in their 22-1 season in the Stan Bledsoe division of the 18-over Fresno MABL, led by great pitching from Corey Miller and Nathan Lee. Their playoff games were won on consecutive walk off home runs by Carson White. The championship games were a great team effort led by Corey and Nathan with the wins.

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2014 Floods Overtake Astros in Sacramento Open Division

Sacramento MSBL Open Division

Floods 10, Astros 8 (11 innings)

Submitted by Dave Caffrey, Flood manager

The Floods beat the Astros 10 – 8 in 11 innings on September 21st at McAuliffe Field to win the Sacramento MSBL Open Division championship with an overall record of 21 wins and just 2 losses.

Alec Moorhouse got the start for the Floods and the Astros struck for two quick runs in the bottom of the first, but Moorhouse wriggled out of a bases loaded one out jam to limit the damage. The Floods took the lead in the top of the fourth when Joe Caffrey reached on an error and Moorhouse doubled. Then Matt Ceriani singled sharply to drive them both in, and he scored on a fielder’s choice later in the inning to give the Floods the 3 – 2 lead.

The Floods extended the lead to 5 – 2 in the fifth on doubles by Ryan Ceriani and Eddie Lavorico and Moorhouse’s RBI single. But the Astros came back to score an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth to make it 5 – 3. The Floods made it 7 – 3 in the sixth on singles by Terrance Rodgers, Ryan Ceriani and Lavorico, and a sacrifice fly by Rob Dyer, but this game was just beginning to get going.

The Astros came back with two runs in both the seventh and eighth innings as the Floods defense scuffled some, and the game moved to the ninth inning tied at 7.

Caffrey and Matt Ceriani singled in the top of the ninth, and with two down Daryl Grant delivered the go-ahead base hit to make it 8 – 7 Floods. But the Astros were not going to go quietly in this one.Lavorico took over on the hill for the Floods and the Astros put together a single and a double to knot the score at eight and the game moved to extra innings.

After both teams went quietly in the tenth the Floods broke through in the top of the 11th. Dyer singled leading off and Lavorico hit a shot to the fence in center field that went for a triple driving in Dyer. Then Matt Ceriani singled to drive in Lavorico and make the lead 10 – 8 with the Floods needing just three outs to nail down the championship.

But nothing was going to be easy in this game. The Astros loaded the base with no outs in the bottom of the 11th on a couple of singles and a walk. The next batter hit a one-hopper back to Lavorico, who fielded it and threw to Rodgers for the force at home, and then Rodgers fired to Grant at first to complete the sweet 1-2-3 double play. Two pitches later Lavorico got a ground ball to short that was gobbled up by Ryan Ceriani and the game was over with the Floods winning 10 – 8.

Lavorico was the winning pitcher and he also drove in three runs, including that go-ahead run in the top of the 11th. Matt Cerianihad five hits in the game and also drove in three. Ryan Ceriani had four hits and scored twice and Moorhouse added three hits with an RBI and a run scored.

This was the second consecutive SMSBL Open Division championship for the Floods.

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2014 Dallas Rangers Defeat the Reds in North Texas 45+ Masters

North Texas Adult Baseball League 45+ Masters Division

Dallas Rangers 3, Caddo Reds 2

The Dallas Rangers won the Masters 45 and up division of the North Texas Adult Baseball League in Dallas.They finished in second place in the regular season with a 13-3 record and beat the defending champion Caddo Reds 2-1 and 3-2 in the playoffs. The Rangers received outstanding pitching from Earl German and Sefrino Pilly Sierra.They also received great defensive help and timely hitting from John Mahalik and Tio Pena. The Rangers now head to the MSBL Fall Classic in Florida to try and bring home a ring.

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2014 Angels Top Rays in 25+ National in Tucson

Tucson MSBL 25+ National Division

Angels 7, Ray’s 5

Submitted by Billy Moore, Angels managerIn a best of three series, the first game went into extra innings after we were all tied up at 6-6. In the top of the 10th, we, the Angels, scored one run and our relief pitcher, who had entered the game in the eighth, came in and saved the game. In the next game, we jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, and continued tacking on a run here and there throughout the game. The Rays never gave up and started to get some timely hits with runners on and were battling back. In the end, we were able to hold them and won the game 7-5.

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2014 Royals Take Bite Out of Cobras to Claim Chicago Midwest Suburban Title

Chicago Midwest Suburban MSBL Central Division

Royals 9, Cobras 8

Submitted by Raphael Cohen, Royals manager

Our two game sweep of commissioner Larry Kolcz’s Cobras in the Chicago Midwest Suburban MSBL was a total all around team effort. There were no standout stars, we got timely hits and made the right plays at the right time. We won the first game 8-7 and won the second game 9-8 in the bottom of the ninth with a walk off single by the starting pitcher, #13 Tim Ciotola. It was fitting that the winning run was scored by manager/player #10 Raphael Cohen. This was just our second year of existence in the MSBL!

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2014 Angels Top Off Great Season in Milwaukee 28+ Division

Rock League 28+ Division

Submitted by Jim Rinelli, Milwaukee Angels manager

After battling through the playoffs as the fourth seed in the division and the overall eight seed in the league, the Angels fell to theMudhens two games to none in the championship series. The Angels got pushed to the limit in their playoff run first by beating the five seed Barons 2-1 in 10 innings and then knocking off one seeded Knights 5-4 in 10 innings. Then went on to play the number two seeded Bulls in a best of three series winning game one before losing game two. In the third decisive game the Angels held on to win 4-1 to claim the Rock League 28+ American League Championship.

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2014 Tarheels Sweep Blue Sox for Title in 18+ Atlanta Sunday Division

Atlanta MSBL 18+ AL Sunday Division

Tarheels 14, Blue Sox 6

Submitted by David Whitley

The Tarheels entered the AL playoffs as a three seed and played the Muckdogs in the first round. We took game one by a score of 2 to 1 in a great pitching battle. The next two games were far different. The Muckdogs beat us by a score of 10-0 in game two which forced an ‘IF’ game. The Tarheels won that game by a score of 12-0 highlighted by a grand slam by Ryan Raper.

In the second round, we played the number two seed, the Dirtbags. Both games were exceptionally well pitched and defended by both teams. The Tarheels won game one in a ninth inning comeback to force extra innings and prevailed 5 to 2. We also won game two in another excellent game by both teams by a score of 2-0.

In the finals, we matched up against the fifth seeded Blue Sox who had upset the number one seed the previous week. The Tarheels won game one by a score of 6-0 behind an outstanding pitching performance by JB Johnson and the hitting of Clay Remole. In game two, the Blue Sox jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and the game was very close until the sixth inning. The Tarheels eventually won the game 14-6 behind the pitching and hitting of Clancey Hall along with great hitting and defensive efforts by Taylor Bowles, Matt Allen and Rico Ramirez. Tyler Whitley totaled five runs scored on the day.

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2014 ‘Hutch’ Saves the Day for Orioles in West Virginia

West Virginia MSBL

Orioles 4, Charlies 3

Editor’s note:  This passionate accounting of a special night was written by Brian Nickerson, a team member of the Orioles in the West Virginia MSBL.  The summary is too long, is pleading for some editing, there is no highlighting of names or events but it is written from the heart.  I am going against the grain here and posting this story untouched.  To try to edit this player’s passion would be an injustice-Steve LaMontia

“A Championship for the Ages”

Top Row L-R: Josh Rakes, Jeff Altizer, John Witt, W. Brian Nickerson, Chris Ojeda, Scott Amburgey and Mark Adkins.  Front Row L-R: Wes Adkins, Aaron Amburgey, Matt McClanahan, Todd Hutchinson and Junior Shaffer.  Not Available: Seth Amburgey, Ricky Vinyard, David Quick, David Brown, Aaron Chapman and Mike McClain

Written by: W. Brian Nickerson

(Charleston, WV) – As the evening descended upon Triana Field, situated in the heart of Charleston, West Virginia, just across from one of the most impressive State Capital Buildings in the nation, there was a noticeable tension and anxiety in the air. For this evening, another WVMSBL Championship Series was set to begin. However, this 2014 Championship Series was not just “another” series; it was a series between two heavyweights: the Charlies and the Orioles. For clarification purposes, let me explain: since 2006, no other WVMSBL team has a won a championship. Coming into the 2014 season, the Matt and Lee Bradley managed Charlies had won 5 postseason championships (’06, ’07, ’10, ’12, ’13) and every regular season title since ’08, while the Orioles, managed by Junior Shaffer, had won three postseason titles (’08, ’09, ’11). Further, of the 8 championships split between the teams since 2006, 5 were decided on the field between the two teams. All of this leads to one conclusion: these two teams are fierce rivals. For comparisons sake, think “Red Sox vs. Yankees” or “Cardinals vs. Reds,” except on a different level; these two teams were native of the same town, fighting for that championship. There has never been any love lost between the two and this late summer evening would prove no different.

Earlier in the playoffs, the Orioles had knocked off the Charlies behind a team performance topped off by a late home run by Todd Hutchison, meaning the Charlies would have beat the Orioles twice to win the double-elimination championship format. The Orioles sent right-handed junk ball vet Scott Amburgey to the mound, while the Charlies opted to rest right-handed flame throwing (and arguably the league’s best pitcher) Chris Hunt for a potential win or go home game the next evening, instead electing to start another quality arm.

Any manifestation of nerves dissipated immediately for the starting pitchers, as Amburgey and the Charlies starter put down their opponents in order in the first frame. In the 2nd inning, the Charlies struck first, scoring 2 runs on a combination of errors, a free pass and a hit. The Orioles matched in the bottom half on hits by Mark Adkins, local rock legend Chris Ojeda, Brian Nickerson and Junior Shaffer. Shaffer ripped a double down the left field line, driving in the tying run and potentially the go-ahead run, but the Charlies left fielder gunned down Nickerson at home plate to keep the game knotted at 2. Starting in the third, the pitching began to take over. Amburgey pitched a scoreless third and fourth frame while the Charlies starter put down the Orioles in order in the 3rd, 4th and 5th innings, striking out two batters and allowing no hits in that span. The Charlies dealt a blow to the Orioles in the top of the 5th, scoring one run on a combination of an error, a walk and a couple of hits. Left fielder Brian Nickerson prevented the Charlies from adding to their lead by throwing out a runner at home plate for the third out of the 5th. Starter Scott Amburgey was pulled in the inning after throwing 4.2 innings and allowing 3 runs, zero earned, scattering 5 hits, and giving way to local DJ Todd Hutchison in relief.

Hutchison started what would be his epic contribution in the top of the 6th inning. Hutchison, or “Hutch” as he is called, walked the bases loaded. Rather than allow the Charlies to widen the gap. Hutch and his defense struck out two and threw out another, getting out of the 6th inning unscathed. In the bottom half, the Orioles Wes Adkins led off by gapping a double to left field. Adkins was followed by Oriole stalwart and former Marshall University second baseman Aaron Amburgey, who grounded out, moving Adkins to third base with one out. The next batter, another Oriole and former Marshall University great, Josh Rakes, reached first on an infield single, putting runners on 1st and 3rd with one out, leaving the Orioles with a great opportunity to tie or take the lead heading into the 7th and final inning.

However, Jeff Altizer followed Amburgey with a fly out, of which the Charlies easily handled while also preventing any runners to advance. With two outs, Mark Adkins came to the plate and quickly fell down 0-2. At this juncture, feelings of anxiety, nervousness, urgency and frustration were beginning to fall upon the Oriole players and fans. Wiley veteran Josh Rakes felt this urgency and in an attempt to score Adkins from third to tie the game, caught himself in a run down between first and second in hopes that Adkins could swipe home before he was tagged out. Unfortunately, the Charlies’ shortstop made a great throw to home, resulting in umpire making a controversial call ruling Adkins out. In response to the call, the Oriole dug out cleared and the fans roared in protest in what both teams agreed should have resulted in the tying run. However, Adkins was ruled out and the Charlies took a 3-2 lead into the final inning amidst a frustrated, almost-downtrodden Oriole team.

“The Inning”

The silence, tension and ever decreasing confidence were becoming palpable in the top of the 7th as Hutchison again allowed the bases loaded. Somehow, the Oriole players, behind the south paw, in the face of all odds, were able to escape yet another jam allowing no runs. While the Oriole players collected in the dug-out prior to their last chance to tie this game, the message from Manager Junior Shaffer was clear: “Boys, we’ve done this as a team all year and we are going to do this as a team right now. I have said all season we have something special, and we are going to prove that right now.” This type of perpetual optimism and faith, in the face of seemingly impossible odds, is what makes Junior Shaffer a great manager and leader.

In the bottom of the 7th inning, the Orioles sent hitters 5 through 8 to the plate, who had combined to go 2-7 in the game, striking out three times. Rather than bring in a fresh arm, the Bradley Brothers decided to let their man finish up the game, meaning they would have Stud Righty Chris Hunt in a winner take all game the following evening if they were to win. The Charlies’ players and fans were confident and raucous heading into the deciding frame. The stage was set for what would become one of the most epic and exciting endings to any baseball game, one that the players and fans in attendance will never forget and one that will live on in WVMSBL folklore for eternity.

To lead off the 7th, Mark Adkins ripped another single. The hit seemed to breathe life into the Orioles. During the bustle after the single, Aaron Amburgey quickly and sternly looked at the next better up, Todd “Hutch” Hutchison, and delivered a short and succinct message: “END IT.” To end the championship game on a walk off home run was a pipe dream, I thought. No way, right? As Hutch stepped to the plate, the Oriole players and fans were filled with cautious optimism. Pitch number one was a ball. Pitch number two was a strike. The count was 1-1 as the Charlies starter prepared to deliver pitch number three. Hutch took a short and compact swing, pulverizing a line drive to right field. The Charlies right fielder immediately turned around to start running towards the fence. Simultaneously, every last Oriole player had jumped the dugout rail onto the field. Could it be?

Seconds later, the baseball cleared the right field fence, resulting in pure pandemonium, from Oriole players and fans alike, as Hutch had just catapulted the Orioles to their fourth WVMSBL championship by way of a walk off home run. The Orioles celebrated on the field as the Charlies solemnly trotted toward the visiting dug out. This one had to sting. As the night concluded, I could only think one thing: This game was a game for the ages, not only for the ending but for the quality of baseball played by both teams. It added another epic chapter the Charlies/Orioles rivalry and hopefully reminded everyone involved of what a special game baseball is, and what a privilege it is to continue to relive boyhood memories on the diamond into your middle ages.

On behalf of the entire Orioles team and especially Manager Junior Shaffer, I want to extend a big thank you to Kenny Phillips, the man behind the WVMSBL. If it wasn’t for Kenny, we would not have a league. Additionally, I would like to thank Matt and Lee Bradley for not only letting us use Triana Field, but also for their tireless work in ensuring the field was always in great playing shape. Last but not least, I want to thank the Oriole players for great camaraderie and a wonderful season. We did have something special. Can’t wait for 2015!

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2014 Volpes Orioles Defeat Fountain Hill for 25+ Lehigh Valley Crown

Lehigh Valley (PA) MSBL 25+ Division

Volpes Orioles 6, Fountain Hill 2

Contributed by Jim Reagle, Volpes Orioles manager

2014 was the year of the Volpe’s Orioles in the Lehigh Valley MSBL 25 + Division. The team was managed by Jim Reagle who signed with the Orioles in 1994 and became the manager in 2008. This was the fourth trip to the finals and the second title for the Volpe’s Orioles under the management of Jim Reagle who was assisted by veteran Matthew “Hap” Smith and new comer Tim Loch.

The team was led offensively by Derek Caldwell, Tim Jones, Kevin Sawyer, Vince Leone, El “Beasto” Ortiz, Steve Wentzel, Steve Pondish and Eric Ehrhardt. The pitching staff was anchored by Scott Hoch, David Martin, PJ Yurick, Tom Gallagher, Ryno Smith and the closer was Derek Caldwell. The defense was led by Marc Stewart, Derek Engle, Matt Markus, Mike Richmond, David Crosson, James Mayers, Mike Wagner and catcher Johnny Braz.

The Orioles had a good mix of talent, but that means nothing without team chemistry and the team chemistry was evident in the playoffs when it was made perfectly clear that the playoffs are about winning not getting playing time.

In the playoffs the Orioles came from behind five times and before a packed house at Hackett’s Park the Orioles beat a talented Fountain Hill squad, 6-2 to win the championship two games to one and finish the season with a 20-5 record.

Now that the season is over we have to thank God and our sponsors:Volpe’s Sports Bar & Grille, Reagle Insurance, Lehigh Valley Bat Works, Smitty’s Auto Body, Performance Food Center, AccuCare Chiropractic, The JA Corvino Tax Resolution Firm and Shop.com/instride.