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2019 50+ American

Texas Redbirds 9, Diamond Dream Mustangs 8

‘Redbirds Go 5-0 to Win 50+ American; Cite Complete Team Effort’

Submitted by Brian McGilvary, Redbirds manager

The Redbirds played from a deficit all tournament, falling behind in four of the five games but battled back and found ways to win.

Ralph Rodriguez was an offensive force going 12 for 16 in the tournament with a pivotal 3-run double in the semifinal game versus Utah. Just as dominating on the mound was Fernando Gonzalez, who went 2-0 on the hill with a complete game victory in the Championship game facing off against one of the best MSBL pitchers in Robert Calvert and a tough Diamond Dream Mustang team. Most of our team has either played with Calvert or against him and we knew we would have our hands full in the finals. Gonzalez was up to the challenge and pitched through some defensive adversity to earn the complete game victory. Bill Steele drew a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth for a walk off Championship, 9 to 8.

Other notable tournament standouts were Buck McGilvary hitting over .500 at the plate while throwing a complete game victory in the Semi Final game against the Utah Braves. Ernie Lujan played outstanding shortstop while hitting over .400 with seven runs scored. Chris Hux scored three runs in the Championship game, while hitting over .400.

Izzy Salaberrios pitched great in two games and had several hits throughout the pool round. Lalo Diaz was solid in center field and Scott Stone was a valuable utility player at third and behind the plate. Jonny Gutierrez and Robby Staples came through with some key kits. Mike Kalfopoulos played error free ball at first base and had several hits.

All 18 men on the roster contributed to this Championship and it’s tough not to mention them all. We had a team full of grinders who love to compete. I truly appreciate everyone’s efforts.

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2019 70+ Wood

San Diego Mudcats 14, Philadelphia Phillies 2

‘Mudcats Win 65+ and 70+ Kickoff Classic Titles’

The San Diego Mudcats earned their second Las Vegas title in as many weeks with a 14-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies to capture the 70+ title in week two of the MSBL Las Vegas Kickoff Classic. The championship game started much the same as pool play game one as Mudcats starter John Hopkins faced the Philadelphia Phillies just as he had in the opener, a 12-9 complete-game victory.

It was a tight 1-1 ball game until the Mudcats pushed across four runs in the bottom of the third. Hopkins benefited from some good San Diego defense for six innings giving up only one unearned run when relieved by Jimmy Allen in the seventh.

After the Mudcats bats came alive scoring six runs in the bottom of the sixth, the ‘Cats went for the mercy-rule knock-out in the bottom of the seventh when “Walk-off Windell” knocked in courtesy runner and tournament MVP Randall Kosecki, who went 4-4 in the championship game. MVP Kosecki was playing in his 32nd year as an MSBL player. Impressive series hitting was also recorded by Kenny McAtee (.733), Joe Kelleher (.727) and Bob Wengert (.727).

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2019 60+ Wood

Sacramento Tribe 7, San Antonio Lonestars 5

‘Weathers and Jungston Share MVP Honors’

Submitted by Joe Soto, Tribe manager

In a very exciting game, the national tournament powerhouse Sacramento Tribe defeated the San Antonio Lonestars 7 to 5 to capture the 60-over division title of the 2019 MSBL Las Vegas Kickoff Classic. The Tribe was led by the Mark Weathers, who went 4 for 4, Tommy Arguijo, 2 for 3, and Tim Burkitt, who contributed a key 2-run single.

2017 MSBL World Series Hall of Fame pitcher Gary Stonebrook pitched a complete game, striking out seven, while notching his second victory of the tournament. Aramaic picked up three hits for San Antonio. The win was the Tribes sixth win of the tournament, as they went a perfect 6 and 0 over the three days. They were led by Weathers and pitcher Ken Jungston, who pitched 16 innings giving up only one run. They were both picked as CoMvps.

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2019 45+ American

Chicago Royals 6, Colorado Bandits 5

‘Iron Man Trimarco Steps Up on the Bump’

The Chicago Royals overcame two severe injuries on their way to the MSBL Kickoff Classic 45+ American Division title. Shortstop Mark Cibrario was hit with a ball in game one and suffered a broken nose but returned for Monday’s semi-final and Championship games turning in stellar defense and solid hitting in the leadoff spot.

Second baseman Dennis Weiner was sorely missed after a collision in the semi’s resulting in a broken elbow but ‘Swiss Army’ Jose Sanchez stepped in. Jose started against the mighty Colorado Bandits in the championship game, who put up a 14 spot on the Royals Sunday. Sanchez dazzled, giving up just one earned run in five innings. The MVP of the tournament was Mike Trimarco who pitched all three days, going nine innings in the semi’s and the final four in the Championship.

Royals Manager Mike Torresso started the ninth inning with a base hit, took second on a wild pitch and third on an errant throw. After hot hitting Gerald Davis was walked intentionally, Jose Sanchez drove in the winning run on a fielder’s choice. Keith Otero and Rick Mallot each had an outstanding tournament.

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2019 50+ National

Boston Wolfpack 5, 3n2 Rangers 4

‘MVP Delgado Drives in Winning Runs in Walk-off Fashion’ 

Submitted by Sterling Endicott 

Things played out as the bookmakers expected with the MSBL Desert Classic Champions meeting up with the MSBL Holiday Classic Champions in the 50+ National Las Vegas Kickoff Classic finals.  And the game was an instant classic with the Boston Wolfpack coming from behind in the bottom of the ninth inning to snatch a 5-4 victory over the 3n2 Rangers.

Both teams went 3-0 in pool play and, as top seeds in their respective divisions, met up for the National Division final.  The Wolfpack jumped ahead early with three runs off of MLB All-Star Jeff Cirillo on hits by David Oliver and Russ Ward and a perfectly executed safety squeeze by David Benedict.  But the Rangers battled back with Mo Jackson tripling in two runs in the sixth off Wolfpack starter Jim Kearschner and two more in the seventh on a Phil Hayden triple to take the lead.  Boston’s chance to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh failed when Cirillo hustled after an errant throw and gunned down Mike Smith at the plate.

The bottom of the ninth started with back to back strike outs.  Then singles by Benedict and German Rivera set up the game’s final at bat with Jose Delgado crushing a 2-1 pitch to deep left field to plate the tying and winning runs.  Smith got the win with two innings of hitless relief.  Delgado went 3-4 in the game and took home MVP honors.

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2019 45+ National

Las Vegas Rattlers 5, Willamette Valley Hops 1

‘Dan Clemens Throws Complete Game Championship Victory’

Submitted by Manny Ocampo, Rattlers manager

The normal, very short, Las Vegas Rattlers pre-game meeting consisted of a very short manager speech…”You know you all love each other, so go out and show it by having fun!” That’s what was said and embraced by a team of very relaxed, but ready to WORK HARD ball players.

Wearing Black and Vegas Gold, on the Saturday afternoon of March 09, 2019, our first pool game was against the So Cal Trojans, with known former Pro and College players and fearing no one! Dan Clemens was on the hill for the Rattlers, throwing the first five innings, hopefully to warm up for highly anticipated Championship game on Monday.  The Rattlers showed their presence in the tournament with a 5-3 victory.

In game two of Pool Play against a very stacked Colorado Bandits team, it was a true slugfest, resulting in a 17-10 Rattlers win. Then on Sunday the Rattlers came from a deep hole to escape with an 11-9 victory over the Dallas Spirits.  The Spirits held an 8-0 lead throughout the first half of the game. But our Rattlers have faced adversity in the past and came back from that eight-run deficit to defeat the Spirits, finishing Pool Play as the #1 Overall Seed of the 45+ Division teams, landing the Las Vegas Rattlers a #1 Seed in the National Division spot, reserved for the top four teams.

That Sunday afternoon in the playoffs the Rattlers faced the big hitting OC Dodgers team, featuring their very strong and effective pitcher “Mario” on the hill. The Rattlers countered with Greg Shepard, with Kim Fuerniss behind the plate. The challenge was on, as the Rattlers hit first and hit hard, scoring five runs the first few innings of the game. They held the Dodgers to only two runs as “Shep” went the complete game, sending the Rattlers to the National Division Championship game with a 6-2 win over the OC Dodgers.

Monday, March 11th, at Heritage Park in Henderson, Nevada, the Las Vegas Rattlers took on a youthful looking and very talented Hops team from Willamette Valley, Oregon. Dan Clemens took the hill for home team Rattlers. The Hops scored the first run with three hits in the first inning but the Rattlers bit back and tie the game in the bottom of the first.

After many innings of play with the Rattlers consistently leaving runners on base, it was difficult to cash in as balls were driven directly at Hops players. However, giving credit where credit is due, the Hops had an outstanding defense. (who was that Right Fielder???)

Clemens grew stronger every inning on the hill for the Rattlers as the Rattlers did all weekend, they finally put runs together, scoring five total and holding the Hops down to only one. With a final score of 5-1 the Las Vegas Rattlers took the tough 2019 MSBL National Division Title!

Congrats to Dan Clemens, who went all nine, with Kim Fuerniss behind the plate, Alfonso “Junior” Gandara at third, Mike Stader at short, Jim Rini at second, Javier Arias at first, Dave Scaringe in left, Anthony Arenz in center, Mike Ryan and John Vidal sharing right field and Big Greg Shepard as our reliable designated hitter.  (one HBP, one walk and two stolen bases, then off to work after three innings of play…we won it for you Shep!).

I can’t tell you how proud I am of the above players and all of the Las Vegas Rattlers on the bench that helped us get to the finals!

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2019 65+ Wood

San Diego Mudcats 8, Paladin 4

‘Teeter Goes 17-22 for Tourney; Schmidt Earns MVP’

The San Diego Mudcats prevailed against two formidable opponents Monday, March 7, in the 2019 Las Vegas Classic playoffs. The Mudcats brought only 13 team members and two of them got injured. To win, the old team (five players over 70), matching up with great opposing defenses, would need some timely hitting.

The morning semi-final game featured the 2-seed Tri Valley Antiques versus the 3-seed Mudcats.  The Mudcats were looking for some symmetry after falling to the Antiques 4-2 in their first contest on a 3-run homer in the bottom of the seventh by the Antiques’ Dale Skinner. The Mudcats had led the whole way on a complete game gem by starter Billy Howard. In the playoff game the Mudcats took a 3-0 lead, giving it back in the third inning, then falling behind 7-3 in the fifth. However, the ne’er say die Mudcats scored two in the eighth and exploded for five runs in the ninth to earn a shot at the championship game, 10-7.

In the championship game, the Paladins drew first blood on a pair of first inning miscues. It would be another back-and-forth game. Mudcat starter Mike Livesey, who had just earned the win and pitched the final four innings of the semi-final match, went 3.1 innings giving up only the tainted first inning run. The other Mudcats workhorse, Mike Tricker, who started and pitched the first four innings of the morning game, completed the next 3.2 innings, also limiting the Paladins to just one run.

After the Mudcats scored two runs in the fourth inning to go ahead, the Paladin came back with one in the sixth to tie the game. The ‘cats struck once more in the seventh on a clutch two-out RBI single by iron man Chuck Schmidt and again in the eighth to take a 4-2 lead, only to give up two sun-aided runs in the eighth to tie the game at four apiece.

But in the top of the ninth, Mudcats’ Mike Tricker singled, Randy Kosecki capped his 4-4 day with a single and MVP Schmidt singled to load the bases. Pitcher Jim Teeter drove in the go-ahead run with a bases-loaded shot to right-center field ending his weekend on a 17-for-22 tear.

The Mudcats scored four in the top of the ninth to increase the lead to four while in the bottom of the ninth Teeter closed the game with a strikeout and a game-ending double play up the middle and the trophy was secured.

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2019 35+ National

Michigan Bandits 13, Montebello Angels 11

‘Thorn, Bevis and Perez Lead Way on the Bump’

Submitted by Jeff Krejcik, Bandits manager

The Michigan Bandits compiled a 5-0 record on their way to winning the 35+ National Division of the 2019 Kickoff Classic in Las Vegas. Led by strong pitching and timely hitting the Bandits won their pool with a 3-0 record. In the semi-final game, the Bandits jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning against the Las Vegas Rattlers. The Rattlers battled back to make it a 2-run game in the ninth inning before the Bandits were able to close out the 8-6 victory. Todd Thorn was outstanding on the mound for the Bandits in his first outing of the season. At one point, Thorn retired 14 straight Rattlers en-route to his complete game victory. Offensively, the Bandits were led by Keith Perez with three hits and PJ Bevis, Matt Brady and Paul Allen with two hits each.

In the championship game against the Montebello Angels, the Bandits gave up two runs in the top of the first inning but quickly responded with a 6-spot in the bottom half of the inning. Starting pitcher PJ Bevis went a gutty 5 1/3 innings to claim his second win of the 3-day tourney. Keith Perez came on in relief to record the final 11 outs (5 via strikeout) and secure the 13-11 victory.

The save for Perez went along with his win in the opening game of the tourney. Offensively, Nick Gaudi got the scoring started with a 2-run double in the first inning.  Keith Perez, Mike Counihan and Barry Keith contributed three hits each, while Matt Brady added two more.  Not to be lost in all of the pitching and offensive highlights, the Bandits also played good defense behind their pitchers and Matt Brady was solid behind the dish in both the semi-final and final games.

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2019 55+ Wood

Dallas Rangers 7, San Diego North 6

‘MVP Pena Leads the Way with .500 Average’

Submitted by Gerry Mecca

Despite seeing its four-run lead whittled down by game’s end, the Dallas Rangers, managed by Jerry Castaneda, still held off San Diego North for a 7-6 victory in the MSBL Las Vegas Kickoff Championship 55-over game at Heritage Yards in Henderson, Nevada on March 4, 2019.

The Dallas Rangers fired up the offense in the first inning.  Shortstop Randy Lash doubled on a 0-1 count, scoring one run. Dallas then tallied three more runs in the fourth inning and two more in the fifth to take a 6-2 lead. The Rangers scored their three runs on an RBI triple by center fielder Tito Pena and another on an RBI triple by first baseman Adam Guzman and then finished the fifth off with an RBI single by right fielder Mike Fortunato, scoring Guzman. But San Diego North would not go away.  They scored three runs in their half of the fifth inning to close to 6-5 with their bats starting to get to Rangers right-hander Pillie Sierra.

After the Rangers tacked on an insurance run in the top of the seventh on Fortunato’s double scoring left fielder Rob Medel, semi-final winning pitcher John Murray relieved Sierra and held San Diego North scoreless until the bottom of the ninth when, with one out, Murray uncharacteristically walked two and uncorked a wild pitch scoring San Diego North’s sixth run.  But a fly-out to Medel in left and a ground out to Lash at short sealed the victory for Dallas.

Sierra went six innings, allowing five runs on 12 hits, striking out none and walking one for the win.  John Murray threw three innings in relief out of the bullpen. Murray recorded the last nine outs to earn the save for Dallas.  Bitner took the loss for San Diego North. He allowed seven hits and four runs over three and two-thirds innings, striking out four.

The Rangers saw the ball well today, racking up 14 hits in the game. Guzman, Fortunato, Mauricio Rubio and Gerry Mecca all had multiple hits for the Rangers, with Fortunato and Guzman each collecting three hits. Tito Pena was named tournament MVP batting .500 for the tourney including a team leading three triples and eight RBI.

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2019 18+ National

Denver Royals 2, Atlanta Pirates 1 (10 innings)

‘Royals Trio Limit Pirates to Four Hits’

Submitted by Brian Underhill, Royals manager

Coming into the game, the Royals had scored 69 runs in four games.  The starting pitcher was Zeke DeLeon who had faced many of the Pirates players in Arizona (World Series) and Florida (Fall Classic) when they played for the Barons and Cherokees respectively.  Having won both of his starts against those groups, the lefty DeLeon carried much confidence onto the mound.  Zeke started a bit rusty with it being early in the season and having had a long winter break.  But Zeke managed to battle through four innings only allowing one run on one hit.  The Royals knew Ted Pratt was the 2012, 2013, and 2014 pitcher for Atlanta on Fall Classic championship teams so the runs would be sparse.

The Royals took advantage of Pratt’s early control issues and scored in the top of the first to take a 1 -0 lead.  In the second inning, the Pirates returned the favor by scoring the lead-off walk to tie the game 1-1.  Both teams stalled as the pitching began to tell the story.  On the Royals side, Arturo Maltos-Garcia entered the game in the fifth and began to dominate the Pirates offense.  On the Pirates side, Jamie Sexton relieved Pratt, and the West Georgia product again returned serve and kept the Royals silent until the tenth inning.

In the top of the tenth the Royals got two quick outs which brought Ben Farias to the plate.  Ben battle deep into the count to finally drive a line drive to center field.  Two pitches later Ben stole second base and put himself in scoring position.  This put the game on the shoulders of David Walker.  The left-handed batter drove a ball over the shortstop into the gap and scored Ben with the go-ahead run from second.  The Royals ended the inning soon after but the damage was done.

In the bottom of the tenth the Pirates faced hard throwing Royals right-hander Ryan Smith.  Smith was topping at 97 mph with a slider at 83 mph.  The Pirates got the tying run on base with an error but stranded the runner at first to end the game.

The story of the game was the Sexton Garcia match-up for the five innings down the stretch.  Both pitchers controlled the game and waited for someone to blink. Arturo, the ex-Cubs prospect, was topping out at 88 mph with a 12/6 curve at 80 mph.

The Royals had 16 players on their roster with pro experience and four more with college experience.  The Royals also had a girl playing some outfield, with the ex-USA baseball product Tara Jones contributing as well.

Below is the YouTube link to the complete championship game video: