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2019 MSBL Honor Roll Inductee: Matt Sherock, Saint Clair Shores (MI) MABL

By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

Biographical Information:

Your name: Matt Sherock

City or town of residence: Roseville, MI

Age: 50

League name: Saint Clair Shores MABL

Town where league is based: Saint Clair Shores

Where did you grow up? Gaylord, Michigan

What do you do for a living? Global IT manager

Family information: Married to my lovely wife Ronda for 25 years. I have a daughter who is now graduated from MSU, Michigan State, and started her career as a Chemical Engineer.

General Questions:

Describe your baseball resume: I have played in Fed Ball, High School and then just recreationally after that.

What is your greatest baseball moment, either watching or playing? Two years ago our team in the SCS MABL finally won the championship. We had made it to the Championship round on four prior occasions and had not been successful in winning the championship until the 2017 season. A close second would be winning the Las Vegas Open in 2015 with the Great Lakes Tigers.

When did you start playing for MSBL and how did you hear about it? I have been playing for 10 years in the SCS MABL as well as the Detroit MABL.

Do you still play? I currently play on three teams.

What team and age bracket? 18+ in the SCS MABL, 35+ and 45+ in the Detroit MABL.

What is the best thing about your league?  I really enjoy running the SCS MABL. It gives me an opportunity to get to know all the players, coaches, umpires etc. It has allowed me to make a ton of good friends as well afford me the opportunity to compete in a very competitive and fun league. 

Do you participate in any MSBL national tournaments? Yes, I play in the Las Vegas Open and the AZ World Series every year for the past six years.

Questions Just for Fun:

Who is your favorite player of all time and why? Being a baseball junkie I have a ton of favorites. But if I have to limit it to one player it is Ken Griffey Jr. He was a pleasure to watch hitting and playing in center field. Everything he did looked so effortless and he always had a smile on his face. You could tell he really enjoyed

Are there any additional personal comments you wish to add about your playing or life thus far? I was introduced to baseball by my father. He passed before I was a teenager but I have many fond memories of him teaching me to hit, playing catch, him attending my T-Ball and Little League games. In my first year of T-Ball I played third base. He would set up his lawn chair 15 feet away so he could help me if I needed it. I had a line drive hit to me and bases were loaded. He was so excited telling me to touch third then tag out the runner who was on second that was running to third. I did as he said not knowing what was going on. Come to find out I was able to execute an unassisted triple play. He was so proud of that play and must have told everyone he knew about it.  I cherish these memories and know his love of baseball was one of the greatest things he shared with me.

Are there any comments about MSBL you wish to share? I am grateful to Steve Sigler and his whole team for everything they have done and do. The MSBL has provided a great league and opportunity to allow me and everyone else to continue to play the game that we love.

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2018 Bombers Topple Giants for 50+ National Division Title in Sacramento

Sacramento Men’s Baseball League, 50+ National Division

Sacramento Bombers 11, Giants 4


‘Combined Mound Core Paves Way to Title’

Submitted by Jeff Gardenhire, Bombers manager

(photo courtesy of Jane Burkitt) The Sacramento Bombers had many firsts this year, with a mix of old relationships. Many of us have played together for many years and also play in Arizona at the MSBL World Series.  The idea to form our own team come up when we played in Arizona in 2017 in the Father/Son tournament as the Capitals. We had many contributions from the players to get to the playoffs. A couple of late additions rounded out an already good group.

This year was the first Sacramento Summer League team I’ve managed since 2008. Two players came out of retirement to play; Rick Crump and his cousin Tal. They made up a family trio of Crumps.  Tal, Rick and Bob. Rick has had both knees replaced a few years back and it was fun seeing him back on field.  He even stole a couple of bases to show off his new found speed! That gave some of us hope who are on the fence regarding the surgery.

Our Sacramento Bombers won the Sacramento Men’s 50 National Division championship while playing in a very tough division against some of the best players in the nation. We ended up as the number two seed, as the Giants claimed the number one seed by one game.

The league playoff format is a one game elimination to advance to a best of three series. We had to go through Gary Stonebrook and the Royals to get to the championship. Gary is an MSBL Hall of Fame member and owns a lot of rings from Arizona. He was on his game the night we played them, as we were down 1-0 going in to the bottom of the seventh. However, we were able to get a couple of runners on base when Rick Crump lined a double over the left fielders head to win the game. That was certainly an exciting walk off victory for the Bombers!

The Championship pitted us against the number one seed Giants. They are led by Bobby Brown, a Sacramento Hall of Fame member and his teams are always competitive. It was our starting pitching that got us the series win as we were just a bit deeper. It was a great series against a great opponent.

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MSBL Player Designs Commemorative Baseballs. How Cool Are These?!


By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

Steve Ramer is a ball player in the Lehigh Valley MSBL located in Pennsylvania. He is also an artist who paints baseballs, bats, home plates and all things baseball.

Before his season ended last year he created championship baseballs for each team that had a chance to win their playoffs.  He does the artwork for one ball then has a company reproduce them for the players. Each ball is priced at $34.95 apiece.

Steve worked up some samples and showed the balls to players on his team and other teams in the league and they loved them. Each ball has the MSBL logo on the front along with the division and the year that each team won the championship.  Specialized baseballs for any occasion are also encouraged.

The reverse side will have the champion’s team logo. The remaining two sides list all the player’s names that are on their roster, as an example. The top of the ball has the team’s name and the bottom of the ball has the year and they are of course all reproduced in the team’s colors.

Steve is also available to design championship balls for MSBL tournaments, the World Series in Arizona, etc.

“I know that the MSBL is a nationwide organization and I’d like to make my baseballs available to teams all across the country,” explained Ramer.  “Thank you for making the MSBL such a great organization to play for.  Please send me an email at Steveramer21@yahoo.com if you want to know more.  My website, designed especially for MSBL, is:

https://www.famousbaseballplayers.net/msbl.html

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Marucci February 2019 Monthly Bat Special Exclusively for MSBL Players

By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

Here is the Marucci February 2019 special bat of the month.  Part of that agreement is to provide special pricing monthly and promotions exclusively for MSBL players.  Just click on the image above, which will take you to the Marucci website.  To check out the special member only Marucci deals for February just click here and then type in the special MSBL code MSBLMABL.

This is a special opportunity to obtain arguably the most utilized bat in all of the major leagues.  Let us know what you think!

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2019 Holiday Classic: 30+ American

Cleveland Steve’s Sports 9, Orlando Lugnuts 2

Submitted by: John Ramsey, manager

After winning the National Division Championship last year, we had hopes of trying to repeat, however after a 1-2 pool play record, we fell to the American Division and played a good Orlando team in the championship game.

“This was a difficult weekend, we were down a few big bats and arms from our normal tournament teams. We also lost our middle infield after injuries in game one. We still managed to pull it together for a great finish to the weekend.”

Jon Sprowls took the hill in the championship game going six strong innings giving up two runs while striking out four. Roberto Familia then got the final nine outs with three shut down innings.

Leading the offense for Steve’s Sports was Matt Altieri with three hits. Jake Plata, Luis Maldonado and John Ramsey had two hits apiece for the good guys. Brendan Krowka was awarded team MVP.

“Overall, this was a great tournament. Top to bottom in both Divisions, there were some outstanding teams. We always like to have a little fun outside of baseball in these tournaments. The Holiday Classic was no different as we pulled off an epic Magnum P.I. theme night. (I have no idea how Brendan squeezed into those shorts)”

“These games are fun but seeing the familiar faces year after year is really what keeps us coming back. I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say not seeing big Rico Carty Jr. hanging around the ballpark these last few tournaments has made it a little awkward.”

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2019 Holiday Classic: 45+ American

Clearwater Ray 5, Natick Knights 4

‘Rays Start Fast, Hold on for Title’

After a very tough round robin, the Clearwater Rays were ready to square off against the Natick Knights in the 45+ American championship game.  Due to injury and players needing to leave the tournament on Sunday the Rays roster had dwindled to 14 players.  However, the desire to win was stronger than ever.  Rays starting pitcher and game MVP Craig Marsden pitched masterfully and also benefitted from some great defense.  “As far as I’m concerned Craig was the tournament MVP. His overall performance was nothing short of remarkable,” said manager Carlos Gonzalez afterwards.

The Rays jumped out in front in the first inning 1-0 when John Rueda, who went 10 for 17 with a .588 average, got on with a one-out single.  He advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on an error.  In the top of the third Greg Curtis, who went 10 for 16 with a .625 average, led off with a single.  Rueda followed with a single of his own.  Danny Mercado grounded into what appeared to be a force out at second but Rueda beat the throw and suddenly the bases were loaded.  Manager Gonzalez came up next representing the cleanup spot.  For the tournament he went 7 for 16 with two doubles, one triple and five RBI while managing the ball club.   “We had so many key hitters out of the lineup and I just found myself hitting in what would be one of the key moments in the game”

On this key at bat Gonzalez ripped a 1-0 pitched into the left centerfield gap for a bases clearing double and the Rays were up 4-0.  In the fourth the Rays tacked on another run on a fielder’s choice to make it 5-0.  The Natick Knights went to the bullpen and the one and only Doug Flutie took the ball and held the Rays offense in check the rest of the way.

The Rays played stellar defense for the majority of the game. Carlos Gonzalez made some sparkling plays at third, including on one occasion leaping as high as he could to snag a chopper and fired a strike to first to get the out.  Catcher Danny Mercado displayed his remarkable arm by picking off a runner on third with two outs in the bottom of the fourth.  “Every time the Knights had something going the Rays defense and Marsden’s tenacity prevailed,” said Gonzalez.

It stayed that way for 8 and 2/3 innings.  But with two outs in the ninth and nobody on things became sticky for the Rays. The quote “it ain’t over till it’s over” was quite evident in the bottom of the ninth when, due to some Clearwater Rays misplays on the field, the Natick Knights scored three runs to turn this game into a nail biter.  “It got a little scary” stated Gonzalez.  The third out was finally recorded on an infield fly to short stop Rafael Serrano and the Clearwater Rays had secured the 45+ American Championship!

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2019 Holiday Classic: 54+ Wood Bat

Boston Wolfpack 14, Maine Diamond Dogs 4 

‘Wolfpack Plays Two Divisions Simultaneously, Wins 54+ Division’

By Sterling Endicott

The Boston Wolfpack, playing in its 19th straight Holiday Classic, utilized 24 guys to play 12 games over four days, plus an extra inning that made 109 total innings.  With the debut of the 54+ age division at the Holiday Classic, the Boston Wolfpack took on the challenge of competing in both the 45+ and 54+ division at the same time.  This meant playing 18 innings on Friday, 27 innings on Saturday, 36 innings on Sunday and 27 (+1) innings on Monday.

Monday was the only scheduling overlap when the 45+ Championship game was at the same time as the 54+ Semi Final Game.  With half a squad, no manager, and five more prior games played, the Wolfpack took the final to extra innings before succumbing in the 45+ final 6-5 in 10 innings to the Vituro Cardinals.  They bounced back to win the 54+ Championship over the Maine Diamond Dogs in their twelfth game of the tournament.

“It was a lot of fun but I’m really sore,” said Eddie Fuller who along with David Oliver played over 90 innings in the field.  Chris Arconti pitched two complete games over the weekend giving up one run in the semifinal victory over the Diamond Dream Mustangs.

Russ Ward had four hits in the game as the Pack, with only 10 guys that weren’t playing in the 45+ championship game, won 10-1. In the final, Jim Kearschner in relief scattered six hits through the final seven innings to earn the win in the Championship.  The Wolfpack has now won the MSBL Holiday Classic 13 times in 19 tries reaching the final 17 times, twice in the same tournament.

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2019 Holiday Classic: 45+ National

Vituro Health Cardinals 6, Boston Wolfpack 5 (10 innings)

By Scott McSparen, Cardinals manager

After a couple of years competing for the Championship, the Vituro Health Cardinals won the Championship game in 10 innings, with the winning run sliding across home plate after Cardinal shortstop Joe Williams drove a line single into right center field. It was a hard fought game, featuring a complete game effort by starting pitcher Steve Becker. The Cardinals in fact threw three complete games in the playoffs capped off by Becker’s gem. Shelton Stalls and Michael Player also threw complete games, beating two very worthy opponents.

The MVP trophy was awarded to Greg Hammond, our catcher and cleanup hitter. While providing some much needed clutch offensive, he also caught all but three innings of the tournament, some 40+ innings over a four day span!! Overall, it was a complete team effort, from a team of 16 players, the majority of which are from Birmingham, Alabama. We were also fortunate to have two players from Chicago North and an outstanding outfielder from Atlanta, Georgia.

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2018 Knights Exorcise Demon Spirits for Fall ‘Brazos’ Championship in North Texas

North Texas Amateur Baseball League, Fall ‘Brazos’ Division

Knights 8, Dallas Spirits 0


‘Knights Exorcise Demon Spirits for Fall Championship in North Texas’

Submitted by Rodger Battani, Knights manager

November 14, 2018…The crisp fall air felt like a frosty blanket, setting the unusual stage for the North Texas Amateur Baseball League Brazos Division Fall Championship game. Game time temperature read 34 degrees. Tonight’s contest featured the two time defending champion Dallas Spirits against the upstart Knights. On paper this was a mismatch. Baseball is for the boys of summer, but on this night both teams were bundled up tighter that the Sunday morning newspaper. Knights starting catcher, Greg “Cash Money” Pennywell, set the tone during pre-game warm ups stating, “I’m envisioning somebody catching one a little thin and littering fingers all over the infield.”

The visiting Knights faced the hard throwing Spirits ace, Jason Bottenfield. Their starter got a swinging third strike to record the first out of the ball game then I followed with an infield single. With only one out, Haley “The Comet” Hougen moved me to second with a single to right center. Matt “The Sheriff” Lawley’s fielder’s choice ground ball forced Hougen at second, putting runners at the corners with two outs. A wild pitch gave the Knights an early lead, as I scored the first run of the contest. Greg Pennywell drew a base on balls and Michael “Deuce” Kubik reached on a fielding error to load the bases. Jesus “El Gato Grande” Marquez worked the count full before recording an outstanding ten pitch base on balls, scoring run number two. David “Walking Dead” Poole then rifled an RBI single to left field stretching the margin to 3-0 Knights. The Blue & Orange couldn’t have envisioned a better start to the battle.

The Knights sent starting pitcher Keaton “Shogun” Hougen to the top of the mountain, as he was equal to the task. Hougen struck out Brant Finchum at the top of the order and got Bottenfield to fly out to left field. Kirk Sipila flared a single into shallow right field and the Spirits fabulous cleanup hitter, Travis “Adonis” Hitzeman, smashed a double down the left field line. Brother Haley Hougen hustled into the corner and threw a laser to Marquez at third base, preventing Sipila from advancing home. A wild pitch later in the inning put a punctuation mark on the importance of that moment, when Pennywell retrieved the baseball and placed a throw right on top of the dish. “Shogun” narrowly beat Sipila to the plate and deftly applied the slap tag, preserving the shutout after one complete inning.

The Knights hit the ground running in the top of the second, with consecutive singles from Keaton Hougen and Greg “Tomahawk” Haddon. I then followed with a hot shot to the second baseman, but the fielder muffed the chance, loading the bases with nobody out. Haley Hougen followed with a sky fly ball down the right field line, headed for no man’s land in shallow right, but was ruled an infield fly for out number one. Brother Keaton was able to score from third base on the play, earning a RBI for his sibling, and the other runners advanced a base. Lawley plated Haddon, with a ground out to shortstop, and I moved to third. The aptly named “Cash Money” Pennywell gave the Knights a six run cushion, chasing home “The Poet” (Me), with a single to left field. Kubik grounded out to the second basemen, recording the third out, but the Knights had given a 6-0 advantage to their starter.

Hougen struck out Bobby Kornhauser and then gave up a single to the Spirits speedster, David “Superfly” Tipton. Hougen then struck out Eric McPherson, but Tipton stole second base during the at bat. John “Playboy” Hefner’s infield pop out ended the inning, while Hougen nestled the ball in his glove just in front of the mound.

The Knights offense continued the charge in the top of the third, when Marquez singled into shallow right field. Poole walked behind, but was forced at second on Leggett’s fielder’s choice ground ball. Poole replaced Leggett at first, as a designated runner, and stole second base, to reach scoring position. Keaton Hougen took a called third strike for the second out of the inning, and Haddon took his turn at the top of the order. “Tomahawk” punished the baseball for a two run double, and the Knights had shattered the glass ceiling for an improbable 8-0 head start.

The Spirits came to life in the bottom of the third, with consecutive singles from Jonathan Duran and Jack Nash. Hougen painted the outside corner for a called third strike on Finchum, and Bottenfield lashed a rocket to left, loading the bases with only one out. The Spirits MVP Kirk Sipila dug in at the plate but Hougen calmly flipped his harmless come-backer to Pennywell at home, who easily relayed to Lawley at first base for the inning ending 1-2-3 double play.

The Spirits made a pitching change in the top of the fourth, when Hitzeman took over for Bottenfield, as two grounders and a fielder’s choice took care of the Knights. The Spirits also came up empty in the inning thanks to a spectacular catch by right fielder “Deuce” Kubic ending in a double play at first.

The Spirits went to the pitching well once again, replacing Hitzeman in the fifth with Jonathan Duran.   Poole and Leggett got consecutive one out singles for the Knights, but three ground outs in the inning left them stranded.

McPherson reached on a strikeout, wild pitch combination in the Spirits turn, but Hefner grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, clearing the bases. Duran singled to left field, but Nash ended the inning swinging.

The Knights went in order in the top of the sixth and sent their starter back to the mound for one more inning in the bottom of the frame. A called third strike brought the top of the order to the plate for the third time. Finchum and Bottenfield singled in succession, but Sipila grounded into a fielder’s choice, forcing the runner at second base as the second out. Hitzeman took his turn at the cleanup position in the order, for one last epic battle with the Knights starter. “Shogun” saved the best for last, retiring the mighty “Adonis” with a spectacular two strike curve ball. “Shogun” made judicious use of his 80 pitches, allowing nine hits with nine strikeouts and only one walk over six innings of dominant pitching. Most importantly, he did not allow a run.

Marquez singled with two outs in the top of the seventh and last inning, but the Knights were unable to advance “The Big Cat”. Haley Hougen replaced his younger brother on the mound for the final three outs of the ball game.

“The Comet” over-powered Kornhauser and Tipton with his flaming fast ball and quickly recorded two strikeouts in the final inning. McPherson lined a single into center field and Hefner blooped a dying quail into right field. Leggett raced in for a diving attempt at recording the final out, but pulled up lame with a hamstring injury. “Lone Justice” was able to keep the ball in front of him, and Hefner’s single put runners at the corners with two outs. Poole went to first base, as Lawley moved to right field. Hougen reared back and struck out Duran to end the contest, earning the Knights their first ever franchise championship.

I was thirteen days shy of my 55th birthday and have waited 28 seasons for the opportunity to lift the championship trophy over my head. “What a journey. It’s hard for me to put into words what this means to me. This is for my father, and all the sons and fathers who have played and loved this game. After all the blood, sweat, tears and memories we have made, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate this victory, surrounded by old friends, who have emptied their tanks on the field of battle, and conquered a valiant foe. All the stars lined up for us tonight. I guess it was our time.

I can’t say enough about my team. Keaton was a thoroughbred out there, and we rode our stud horse to victory. Combine that with the lock down defense we played behind him, and we become very difficult to beat. I’m so proud of this team for their effort and for this accomplishment. Hat’s off to our opponent. They are the best team we have ever played and the best team we have ever defeated. They’re a class organization and it’s always a pleasure to face them on and off the field. We’ll remember this one for the rest of our lives. My father always said son, win or lose, play like a champion. We played like champions today, and I felt his presence. It feels really good to know that my father would be proud.”

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2019 MSBL Holiday Classic Champions Announced

By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

The 2019 version of the MSBL Holiday Classic recently concluded in beautiful Kissimmee, Florida.  Five champions were crowned in 30+, 45+ and 54+ divisions.  Below are the results of the championship games.  Individual championship game stories will be posted as they become available.  Congratulations to the winners!

30+ American

Cleveland Steve’s Sports 9, Orlando Lugnuts 2

30+ National

Coral Gables 4, Brandon Bombers 3

45+ American

Clearwater Rays 5, Natick Knights 4

45+ National

Vituro Health Cardinals 6, Boston Wolfpack 5

54+ Wood

Boston Wolfpack 13, Maine Diamond Dogs 4