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2014 Braves Squeak by Brewers for 35+ American Crown in Atlanta

Greater Atlanta 35+ American Division

Braves 9, Brewers 8


By Jeff Chrismon, Braves manager

‘Braves Overwhelm Brewers’

After winning the regular season and coming up short in the 35+ American Greater Atlanta MSBL championships for the past two years, the Braves showed character and passion for the game to overcome the number one seed Brewers for the 2014 title.

As a team this year the Braves batted .334, led by newcomer Hans Martinsen (.500), Dan Sheats (.403),Dave Esslinger (.403), David Thatcher (.390) and Sandy Leff (.357). On the mound the team had a strong rotation of Rick Kosek (6-3, 3.57 ERA), Joe Shiffler (2-2, 6.43 ERA), and Jeff Chrismon (4-2, 2.85 ERA). Pitching was made easier by gold glove performances all year long by center fielder Dan Sheats (.969) and second basemen Richie Stubbs (.963). After going 9-7 throughout the regular season, the second seeded Braves swept the Yankees in round two of the playoffs 8-1 and 19-8. This set up a rematch between the top two teams in the 35+ American Division, having split two tightly fought regular season games 3-6 and 5-3 with the season champs, the Brewers.

In game one on September 20th, the Braves relied on the tenacity and strength of left-handed pitcher Rick Kosek, former national champion from the University of Miami. Kosek frustrated the Brewers, limiting them to only five runs over seven innings, while striking out seven hitters to clinch the win. Jeff Chrismon closed out a scoreless eighth and ninth to complete the 9-5 victory. On the offensive side Rafael Santiago (2-4, 1 double, 3 RBIs) was the spark that ignited the Braves offense, ripping a fourth inning bases-loaded double down the third base line that cleared the bases. Other offensive contributors were Dan Sheats (3-5, 1 triple, 1 RBI), Tate Pugh (2-4, 3 RBIs), and Jeff Chrismon (4-4, 1 walk, 2 runs, 2 RBIs).

In game two on Sept. 21st, the Brewers showed resilience and fought back hard, stretching out an 8-4 lead through eight innings against strong pitching by Joe Shiffler and reliever Tate Pugh. Dave Esslinger, in a surprise pitching debut, took care of the Brewers in the top of the ninth. With their backs against the wall, Pugh got the Braves going with a one-out single. Things started to unravel for the Brewers pitchers, as two critical walks by sluggers Richie Stubbs and Joe Salerno loaded the bases. Dan Sheats then knocked in two runs with a clutch single to make it 8-6. “Go Baby Go!” was heard across the nation. The Brewers got out number two with a fly-out to left, but University of Virginia star Hans Martinsen extended the game with an infield single to load the bases. Big Mike Campbell, the Braves cleanup hitter, stepped to the plate, taking aim for the trees, and took some breath-taking mighty swings. You just had to be there…a swinging strike three turned into a passed ball that was thrown down the right field line, and Bang, the game was tied 8-8. The Brewers were able to induce a ground out to force extra innings.

In the top of the 10th, Esslinger again showed his versatility and competitiveness, shutting down the Brewers bats with ease. Shiffler led the charge with a walk in the bottom of the 10th and David Thatcher ripped a single to right to put the pressure on. With two base runners on with no outs, Tate Pugh’s grounder to short was all the Braves needed to clinch a 9-8 win and bring home the 35+ American championship title.

Special thanks to Joe Salerno, former team manager and inspirational leader, and Tate Pugh, on-the-field leader and Johnny Bench-like catching prowess, for their consistent and valued support. And to the entire team, forging great friendships and demonstrating teamwork through all that you do, it was truly a team effort all year long. Thank You All!

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2014 Giants Upset Tribe in Inaugural 65+ Division in Tri-Valley (CA)

2014 Giants Upset Tribe in Inaugural 65+ Division in Tri-Valley (CA)

Giants 12, Tribe 11

‘The Giants Win the Championship! The Giants Win the Championship!’

By Nick Marnell, Tri-Valley MSBL

The Giants fought back from a five-run deficit and held on through a tense bottom of the tenth inning to defeat the Tribe 12-11 in the inaugural Tri-Valley Mens’ Baseball League 65+ championship game, played Sept. 13 at Livermore High School.

Giants’ pitcher Ben Cabanas struggled early as the Tribe jumped out to a 10-5 lead after four innings.”I couldn’t get into a rhythm,” said Cabanas, who tossed a near superhuman 10-inning complete game in the 90 degree heat. “I had no feel for my curve ball early on. It just wasn’t biting.” Cabanas kept his team in the game as the Giants chipped away, tying the game in the ninth and going ahead in the extra frame.

With the score 10-10, two outs and the bases loaded in the tenth inning, Giants’ designated hitter Wil Hubert hit a lazy fly ball that dropped in center field allowing two runs to score. “He hit the pitch that I wanted him to hit,” said losing pitcher Rich Mangini, who relieved starter Kirt Simoncini in the seventh inning. “It was a tough break.”

The Tribe did not go quietly in their half of the tenth. With two outs, one run in and base runners on first and second, Cabanas induced a ground ball to shortstopBill Bay who flipped to second baseman David Currie for the force, giving the Giants the championship.

“It was a fun game to play in,” said Giants’ first basemanBobby De Stefano. “It came down to one run, just as it should have. Alan was definitely looking out for us.” Giants’ pitcher Alan ‘Navarro’ Silver collapsed on the mound during an Aug. 9 game and passed away that day. The Giants dedicated the remainder of the 2014 season to Silver, their uniforms adorned with a black ANS patch in his memory.

Mike Ilg, Tribe manager, noted high level at which the game was played. “Timely hitting, and the defense was pretty darned good,” he said. “People witnessing this effort would realize that 65+ baseball is credible.” Steve Corneliusen led the Tribe with five hits, two RBIs, a run scored and one stolen base. Steve Owling paced the Giants attack with three hits, one walk, an RBI and a run scored and two stolen bases.

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2014 Oaks Sweep Thunderbirds in 40+ Finals in Bay Area

Bay Area (CA) MSBL 40+ Division

Oaks 19, Thunderbirds 12

Submitted by Jim Frenn and Mike Biglieri, Bay Area MSBL

Mike Biglieri’s Oaks squad won their first League Championship in the Bay Area (CA) MSBL by defeating the Thunderbirds in the BAMSBL’s 40+ Division series, winning the finale 14 to 12. The Oaks Roy Manzanares had three hits, Dave Cheney continued his hot hitting with two doubles and Steve Etter drove in three runs.

Oaks MVP Mike Holland led the team on the mound, improving to eight wins on the year while striking out four. Bill Magoolaghan struck out 13 Thunderbirds in game one for the 6-4 win while earning the save in game two.

The Oaks started the semi-final game with an 8-0 lead but by the second inning the T’Birds clawed back. A few hits, a couple of walks and a couple of errors later the game closed to 8-7. The Oaks continued hitting and hitting and hitting. The Oaks had the bases loaded in each of the first four innings, which helped to extend their lead to 16-7. “The T’Birds got to me by scoring five in the bottom of the eighth making the score 16-12 and it knocked me out of the game,” explained pitcher Holland. “With two on and one out, Billy (Magoolaghan) came in and slammed the door on the rally keeping them from scoring anymore.We scored a few insurance runs in the ninth and Bill closed out the game, earning the save.”

Manager Mike Biglieri summed up the 19-12 championship game. “Manzanares, Cheney and Etter really brought their bats to this game and Billy and Mike came up huge on the mound. Those are the guys who won this game and made the season and the championship possible. I just drove the train. They provided the power and execution.”

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2014 Grays Top Crawfords to Clinch 45+ Title in Southern Wisconsin

Southern Wisconsin MSBL/MABL 45+ Division

Grays 5, Crawfords 3

By Kevin Mack, Southern Wisconsin MSBL

The 45+ championship was decided on the last day of the season between the Grays and the Crawfords. The Grays would be champions if they won either of two games scheduled for that day. The Crawfords would be champions if they won both.

Dave Keene took the mound for the Grays in game one and worked a scoreless first inning allowing one hit, a single by Eric Selje. In the bottom of the first Dave’s brother-in-law Andy Sutherland led off with a single. Matt Varney followed with a single and Dave drove them both home with his first triple of the season. Tom Hopkins, Dan Ketter, Kevin Mack and Glenn Griffin each followed with singles for two more runs, staking Keene to a 4-0 lead.

The Crawfords battled back, scoring a run in the third on hits by John Snitka, Tom Day and Doug Rosenberg and adding two in the fourth when Tony Barone and Sean Michael Dargan scored ahead of Scott Jennings’ two run single.

With the lead cut to one run Keene and the Grays stranded a pair of Crawford runners in the fifth and Keene led off the bottom half with a base hit, coming around to score on Dan Ketter’s single. Keene then retired the Crawfords in order in the sixth and stranded Snitka, whose lead-off double was the Crawfords last meaningful hit of the season, in the seventh.

The Grays won 5-3 to claim their first league crown!

League recap: by Kevin Mack

One word can describe the 45+ division of the MABL of Southern Wisconsin, and that word is ‘balance.’ Two seasons have now been completed and all three teams have won 13 games and lost 13 games. The Crawfords finished at 6-6 and repeated their second place finish in 2014, while the Bears dropped to 5-7, with the Grays (7-5) claiming the pennant after finishing third last season. Highlights for the Grays included an at times all left-handed infield (including catcher) and a battery (for two innings) featuring 78 year old Milt Friend pitching to 67 year old Bob Bezzi.

Some league leaders were Eric Selje of the Crawfords, most hits and most runs, 21 and 17, Bill Nowak of the Crawfords, most runs and RBI, 17 and 15, Keith Richley of the Crawfords, total bases, 25, and Dave Weidenhamer, also of the Crawfords, a 1.280 OPS.

Jim Wichern of the Bears led in steals with 10 (in just nine games), and his teammate Bruce McNeill was second in batting average at .536, while Grays rookie (and lefty shortstop) Tom Hopkins led in triples with two. Also contributing mightily to the Grays first place finish were Dan Ketter, third in batting average with a lofty .528, third in hits with 19, third in RBI driving in 11 and steady as a rock at first base. Starting catcher Dave Keene also pitched a complete game, a pennant clinching win on the season’s last day while his daughter got married in an outdoor ceremony on the other side of the outfield fence during a Grays game. The Grays won that game while Dave attended the wedding but he kept an eye on his team!

Division vice president Sean Michael Dargan says to expect a fourth team next season …

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2014 Indians Win Title in Extras Over Angels in So Cal MSBL

Southern California MSBL 42+ Division

Indians 4, Angels 3

Submitted by Larry Shelton, Indians manager

The So Cal Indians had a fantastic regular season in the Southern California MSBL at 14-3 and went into the playoffs with quite a few guys injured. The Angels, fresh off an extra innings win, smashed us out of the gate 7-5 in game one of the best of three. In the second game we went back to the lineup that worked for us all year and bounced back with a 10-3 win. The deciding game went to extra innings with the Indians winning in the 10th inning 4-3 on a game winner by Scott Crutchfield. This was a true team effort as it took contributions from everyone on the roster to win it. We also would like to recognize the Angels and coach Ron Lovell for being tough competitors who battled us the whole way.


Key Contibutors:
Scott Crutchfield: W-L 7-2, 1.92 ERA, BA .421
Jerry Maldonado: BA .486, W-L 6-1
Joe Palacio: BA .435
Shane Geivet: BA .431, RBI 20
Greg Swails: BA .409

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2014 Giants Outlast Twins for 35+ Crown in Redwood Empire

Redwood Empire (CA) 35+ Continental League

Giants 13, Twins 12

Submitted by Colby Phelps, Redwood Empire Giants

The 35+ Continental League playoffs in the Redwood Empire Baseball League in Sonoma County, California featured three former champions in the Pirates, Blacksox and Twins, plus the two-time bridesmaid Giants. The Giants and the defending Champion Blacksox concluded their series first with a Giants sweep of the loaded Blacksox, led by aces Kasey Olenberger and Jake Carrillo, and also capped with a clutch eighth inning home run from Giants leadoff hitter Devin Campbell in game two to win the series for the Giants. The Twins were shutout in game one of their series by hard throwing Pirate right hander Mike Nackord, but rebounded with a 21-16 slug-fest victory over the Pirates in game two. The Twins took a lead deep into game three but the Pirates fought back to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, only to succumb to the youthful Twins in extra innings, giving the league a match-up of the Twins and Giants in the Championship Series.

In game one of the Championship, Twins lefty starter Brian Miller pitched a gem, holding down the Giants and taking a 9-2 lead in to the bottom of the ninth. The Giants mounted a furious rally and scored eight runs off of three different pitchers in the ninth, getting a walk-off double from third basemen Dave Molidor to steal game one, 10-9.

The drama continued in game two the next day, although the drama turned to tragedy as Giants first basemen and manager Kenton Lewis learned of the untimely death of a family member during the game. Both teams stopped the game as all the players from both teams gathered around Kenton, and after the stoppage Kenton and his wife left the park. The gracious Twins recovered more quickly than the Giants and earned a hard-fought 12-7 game two win, forcing the deciding game three an hour later.

Minutes before the beginning of game three, Kenton Lewis returned to the park andgathered the Giants together, imploring them to play ball alongside him. As the game got underway, 100 degree heat in the Sonoma Valley bore down on both teams, but offense was not effected early as each team roared at each other from the plate. Mid-game, Giants righty starter Manny DeLao saw his effort stopped short by cramped muscles and dehydration and had to leave the mound. In came southpaw center fielder Mike Hall for the Giants, who threw everything he had at the Twins but witnessed their hard-nosed resolve as the Twins kept scoring, drawing the game to a tight 12-10 Giants lead.

Late in the game, Hall got help from both sides of the ball, getting an incredible throw from Giants left fielder Rene Morales to cut down a run at the plate by charging a base hit and delivering a one-hop seed to the plate to kill a Twin rally. Hall also got a clutch two out hit from the hobbled DeLao to add an insurance run in the bottom of that inning. In the top of the last inning, clinging to a 13-12 lead with two outs and the bases loaded, Hall got hot Twins cleanup hitter Craig Holden to pop up to Kenton Lewis, as Kenton recorded the last out of a long season and a very long day. The Giants celebrated their first Continental League Championship and were congratulated on the field by the classy Twins ball club.

Outstanding players for the Twins in this series are Rob Trindle, Craig Holden, Billy Dodson, Clinton Yeager, Harvard Graham, Adam Thompson and Brian Miller. For the Giants, they got Championship performances from Devin Campbell, Manny DeLao, season MVP Dave Molidor, Kenton Lewis, Kasey Olenberger, Jake Carrillo, Rene Morales, Colby Phelps and game three MVP Mike Hall.

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2014 Minneapolis Cubs Continue Winning Tradition in TCMABL 28+

Minneapolis Cubs…The Tradition Continues

Submitted by Bob Janoski, Cubs manager

The Minneapolis Cubs have built a winning tradition in the 28-over division of the TCMABL in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. They have assembled a 72-10-1 record during the past five seasons, five straight division pennants, five straight championship game appearances, and one league title is just the start!

The Cubs lost to their toughest competition, the Rebyls, once again in the 2014 Championship Game as the TCMABL’s talent level remains very strong. Co-Captains Jeff Kaczmarczyk and Rick Hillard led the team both on and off the field again this year, including taking over managerial duties when Bob Janoski was out for back surgery late in the regular season.

John Barbella led the team at the plate with an impressive.500 batting average. Steve Bubb led the club on the base paths, stealing 23 bases and scoring 27 runs. Ace Burnie Rossum won 11 games, striking out 48 batters along the way, including his 300th as a Cub. Closer Paul O’Gara ended the season with a 2.76 ERA and became our club’s all-time saves leader.

Lead-off hitter Dan Casazza, described as the toughest out in the league, and Burnie Rossum, the league’s all-time pitching wins leader, were voted Most Valuable Players by their teammates for the second year in a row.

It was another great season, but the club fell just one game short.

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2014 Brewers Top Surprising Angels to Capture Bux-Mont 45+ Crown

Bux-Mont (PA) 45+ Division

Submitted by Brewers managers Carm LaDuca and Greg Hess

It was truly exciting to win the 45+ Championship in the Bux-Mont MSBL League in Pennsylvania run by Nick Chichilitti. It is a great league with many excellent teams and we are proud to have had the opportunity to win the championship.

The Easton Brewers ended our season with a 15-3 record and went on to go 6-1 in the playoffs, leading to a 21-4 overall record in 2014. During the playoff run we defeated the Hatboro Royals and Franklin Red Sox, and then went on to win the league championship over the Harleysville Angels in a three game series.

The Championship series went three games:

Game 1: Harleysville Angels 6, Easton Brewers 3

Game 2: Easton Brewers 13, Harleysville Angels 3   WP John Bisco

Game 3: Easton Brewers 11, Harleysville Angels 0   WP Bob Thomas

Key Hitters in Game three:

Greg Hess: 3-3 with three runs scored, RBI. Dan Martyak: 2-3, two RBI. Gary Heft: 2-3. Jim Millets: 2-3 with three RBI and Ron Wood: 2-3.

Bob Thomas scattered four hits for the shutout win with four strikeouts and no walks.

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2014 Nationals Sweep Braves for 25+ National Crown in Redwood Empire

Redwood Empire (CA) 25+ National Division

Nationals 6, Braves 3

Submitted by Nick Green, Nationals manager

The Nationals had a lot of regular season injuries resulting in the three-seed heading into the playoffs with a regular season 14-3 record.In the best-of-three championship series we played the top seeded Braves. We won game one 11-3. The game was close all the way and got out of hand late. Jerome Godsey got the win going 6 1/3 innings on the hill then Casey Hillman relieved in the seventh inning leading by three and slammed the door for a save. Dustin Emswiler hit a long home run off eventual loser Mike Miller to extend the lead.

Game two was a scrappy team effort at the dish with a gutsy complete game hurled by Roy Cook to complete the sweep by the score of 6-3. The series was protested by the Braves claiming our light weight button-less jersey were illegal. The Commissioner upheld the sweep, enabling the Nationals to claim their fourth title in five years!

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2014 Angels Make Great Playoff Run in Bux-Mont 45+

Bux-Mont (PA) 45+ Classic Division

Harleysville Angels

Submitted by Pat Lynch, Harleysville Angels manager

The team is disappointed in our championship series loss but pleased with our season.
This is only our second season in the 45+ Classic division of the Bux-Mont league in Pennsylvania. After finishing 6-12 in our inaugural season, we added four solid players to round out our team and improve our 2014 record to 12-6.

We went into the playoffs as the fifth seed and came out strong, sweeping the two-time defending champion Hatboro Rays in round one. We then swept the top-seeded Hatfield Orioles in round two.

We won the first game of the championship series against the Easton Brewers but ran out of gas and got beat up pretty good in the two remaining games. Hats off to the Brewers for a great season.

We look forward to the 2015 Season. We will be getting into our indoor facility for winter workouts in the next few weeks and feel we are a very competitive team to be reckoned with for a while!