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2011 25+ Wood Bat National Division

SoCal Buzz 3, Dallas Modocs 1

By Doug Haller

SoCal Buzz, 25+ Wood Bat National Division Champions

Hohokam Stadium, October 23, 2011— Funny how recreational baseball works. Each player has a past, a quest for the dream, and that’s how they end up here, not quite ready to let go of a game they grew up loving, even if it didn’t always love them back.

Occasionally that journey comes full circle, past meets present, and all a player can do is laugh and think: What a crazy game. What a crazy life.

On a sunny fall day in the desert, this was what went through Michael Kesten’s mind as he prepared to warmup in the outfield grass of Hohokam Stadium. Kesten, who spent eight years in baseball’s minor leagues, was the SoCal Buzz’s starting pitcher in the finals of the 25 Wood Bat National division World Series.

For the first time, Kesten noticed his opposition. There, warming up not far away for the Dallas Modocs was Charlie Griffin, his old Independent League roommate.

“Baseball is a small world,” Kesten said after he pitched nine innings, leading the Buzz to a 3-1 win over Griffin and the Modocs.

Kesten and Griffin played for a season in Amarillo, Texas. Since then, they had gone their separate ways. Today, Kesten, 30, is a deejay at a strip club in Wilmington, Calif., while Griffin, 32, owns a baseball academy in Dallas.

“I just love playing baseball,” Griffin said.

In Texas, they were teammates. Here, they were a contrast in styles. While Kersten worked quietly and efficiently, addressing the home-plate umpire as “sir,” Griffin produced an R-rated commentary throughout the contest.

He directed his venom at everybody, but mostly himself, trying to push himself through a tired arm – “I haven’t pitched on three days’ rest in six years” he said – and lift his team to victory.

“I spend most of the game trying to settle him down,” Modocs manager Steve Hahn said.

Kesten was better this day, but not by much. He went nine innings, scattering seven hits, and had the Modocs muttering most of the way.

“Man, that was a good pitch,” outfielder Tommy Weisz said after watching a breaking pitch go by for Strike 3 in the first.

“He’s got a good changeup,” outfielder Jerry Anderson said walking back to the dugout after fanning in the second.

Marcelino Escalante’s run-scoring ground out in the fourth gave SoCal a 1-0 lead. After Dallas tied the score, the Buzz took the lead for good in the sixth on Sergio Alvarado’s run-scoring single. They added an insurance run in the eighth.

Dallas’ missed opportunity: Running into two outs on the base paths in the fifth, ruining a chance for a big inning.

“We couldn’t get our offense going, and once we did, we had two bang-bang plays that didn’t go our way,” Hahn said.

Dallas, the fourth seed, went 3-3 in the round-robin tournament. Anderson tossed a complete game to get the Buzz into the finals. Griffin tried to take over from there, but fell just short. He went seven innings, allowing eight hits and two runs.

The Buzz lost just once in the tournament, to a team from San Diego.

“Pitching and defense,” manager Anthony Bautista said. “That’s what got us through.”

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Dallas Modocs 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 7 3
SoCal Buzz 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 x 3 10 0

Griffin, Hahn (8) and Combs. Kertsten and Miranda. WP: Miranda. LP: Griffin. 2B: Chapman (DM); W. Perez (SB). Leading Hitters: Ryan Hughes (DM) 2×4; W. Perez 3×4, 3R; Alvarado (SB) 2×4, RBI; Jimenez 2×3. LOB: DM 7, SB 9

Total game time: 2:10.

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2011 25+ Wood Bat American Division

Westside Bandits 11, Las Vegas Dirtbags 6

By Doug Haller

25+ Wood Bat American Division Champs, the Westside Bandits

Hohokam Stadium, Oct. 23, 2011–The Westside Bandits started running in the second inning – and they never stopped.

The Bandits stole 10 bases in an 11-6 win over the Las Vegas Dirtbags, literally stealing the 25 Wood Bat American World Series title at Hohokam Park.

“They ran on our pitchers all day,” Dirtbags manager Kris Barber said. “And our catcher was tired and fat.”

Barber was the catcher — and he looked tired.

Josh Morey led the way with four stolen bases. Ryan Davis had two.

“We’ve been playing for four years,” said Morey, a Bandits co-manager. “We’ve had bad experiences with bad teams, bad chemistry. It’s fun to win with guys you like.”

The Bandits removed doubt early, chipping away at Las Vegas every inning. They scored in every inning but the seventh, running up a 10-2 lead before the Dirtbags finally made it mildly interesting with a four-run outburst in the eighth.

“We were a little pooped,” Barber said.

In the ninth, the Dirtbags took their frustration out on the home-plate umpire, who ejected two players – one was ordered out of the stadium – and nearly tossed a third. “Are we still doing this?” the umpire yelled after another insult came from the Las Vegas dugout.

Ryan Develyn went eight innings to secure the win for the Bandits. It seemed like he was in trouble every inning, but he always found a way to escape, pumping his fist as he jogged off the field.

Develyn gave up six runs on 13 hits. He struck out six and walked one.

Hugo Hernandez provided plenty of offense including a solo home run and a two-run single in his first two at bats. “He’s been a monster for us these last couple games,” Morey said.

Morey and Eddie Murray, the first two hitters in the order, were on base a combined seven times, setting the table for Hernandez and Guillermo Zavala, who drove in two.

Co-manager Rob Luna, the man signaling double steals and sacrifice bunts from his spot in the third-base coaches’ box, also drove in two, helping the Bandits finish a successful week: Just one loss in six games.

“We had great pitching, great defense and the hitting came around,” Luna said.

For the Dirtbags, Gator Quaney – what a great baseball name — had two hits and drove in two. Jim Stolberg doubled twice and Chris Bannister had two hits. But Las Vegas never could slow down Westside enough to mount a rally, not at the plate or on the base paths.

“Our pitching and defense helped us going into this game,” said Barber, whose team was undefeated in round-robin play. “We just couldn’t get it going.”

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Westside Bandits 1 1 3 1 1 1 0 2 1 11 15 3
Las Vegas Dirtbags 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 6 13 1

Develyn, Glunt (9) and Leyva. Maynor, Levy (3), Lane (5) and Barber. WP: Develyn. LP: Maynor. HR: Hernandez (WB). 2B: Stolberg (LV) 2, Zavala (WBB). Leading Hitters: Morey (WB) 2×3, RBI, 3 R; Hernandez 3×4, 3 RBI; Zavala 2×5, 2 R BI; Luna (WB) 2×5, 2 RBI; Gator Quaney (LV) 2×3, 2 RBI; Stolberg 2×4, Bannister (LV) 2×3. SAC: Murray (WB), Anaya (WB), WB: Morey 4, Davis (SB) 2, Glunt (SB), Allen (SB), Murray, Gutierrez (SB). LOB: WB 12, LV 9. Total game time: 3:30.

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2011 25+ Federal Division

San Jose Brew Crew 9, Long Island Mariners 8

By Jason P. Skoda

The San Jose Brew Crew, 25+ Federal Champs

Managers go to all sorts of lengths to motivate their players — Brian Feduk went 620 miles.

Feduk underwent surgery to remove benign tumors prior to the World Series and most of the San Jose Brew Crew players figured they’d have to take a fourth stab at a World Series ring – they had tried and failed three times — without their leader.

Then Feduk just showed out of the blue, and his presence in the dugout, temmates say, helped inspire the Brew Crew to the 25 Federal Division title with a 9-8 win over the Long Island Mariners.

“He is fantastic, a great guy and for him to show up when didn’t expect him to was huge,” first baseman Ryan Becks said. “It shows how much this team means to him.”

Feduk returned just in time to help everyone get sized up for their first MSBL ring, although the team went undefeated the entire week.

“I have no idea what my ring size is, but I can’t wait to find out,” Feduk said. “These guys played their hearts out and did a great job all week. They would have won it without me but I had to get here.”

They went 6-0 in pool play, outscoring opponents 60-24, before advancing to the title game and hanging on against the Mariners.

The Brew Crew scored early and a three-run sixth inning, capped off by Johnny Angleson’s two-run single, gave the team a comfortable 9-4 lead.

That’s when things got a little dicey. The Mariners brought their big man, Josh Banda, to the plate with the bases loaded. Banda, who had seven tournament home runs, drove a pitch from reliever Matt Flaherty to the 410 mark, but it resulted only in a sacrifice fly.

Javier Gamboa followed with a single to make it 9-8 but Flaherty induced the last hitter to ground out and the rally ended. “We played good all tournament, but didn’t have enough at the end,” Mariners manager Rob McDermott said. “A hit here or there might have made the difference. It’s disappointing.”

The title was a highlight for the Brew Crew which has been together for years and also once played as the Santa Cruz Mets. “This is huge,” Flaherty said. “The MSBL World Series isn’t major leagues, but it is big for us. The competition out here is tough and for us to go 8-0 is a hell of a feat. This is a great team.

“To win in baseball it takes a lot of chemistry and there are no cancers out here. Everyone gets a long, everyone loves each other and that is tough to do because there a lot of egos in the dugout. We put it all behind us to get the job done.”

It is easier to do when one of their own goes through a medical scare to put things into perspective.

“Everyone was pumped up to see him,” Flaherty said. “They didn’t even know they were going to see him for sure. We waited for all team pictures because we wanted to wait until Feduk got here. It was about respect and all of the work he puts in and now it has paid off.”

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2011 18+ National Division

SoCal Snappers 5, Tacoma Tugs 1

By Jason Johnson

The SoCal Snappers, 18+ Division Champions

Salt River Fields, October 23, 2011 – Riding the arm of starting pitcher Jesse Smith, the SoCal Snappers shut down the Tacoma Tugs’ offense en route to a 5-1 victory in the 18+ MABL National World Series.

Smith did not allow a hit through the first four innings and allowed just two in eight and one-third of an inning.

“Jesse Smith, dominated. That made all of the difference,” said manager Frank Sansone. In the top of the first inning the Tugs stranded runners on second and third and were unable to score. After that Smith settled down and threw eight shutout innings. “We’ve battled all week to get here and today we just came out flat,” said Tugs manager Ray Bala. “We just didn’t get it done with the bats.”

The Snappers got it done with bats and speed. Greg Martinez and Greg Bernard led off the game in the bottom of the first on bunt singles down the first base line. “They improvised,” said Sansone. “Those two guys have amazing speed and really know how to do it.” Manny Pimentel, Adam Geery and Matt Graves followed with RBI singles to cap off a three-run first inning for the Snappers.

The Snappers enjoyed a lot of two-out magic.

Geery doubled to lead off the fourth inning and Kjavik Mahon drove him in with a two-out single to center field. Sean Driscol singled to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning, and then scored on Martinez’ two-out single to right field. Four of the Snappers’ five runs came with two outs.

The Tugs ninth inning rally fell short. Marcus Faulkner’s sacrifice fly scored Scott Hanish and left one runner on base, but Sansone turned to his bullpen to stop the bleeding. Wayne Franklin and Matt Wagner retired the last two hitters in order.

“These are great teams and they’re all very competitive,” said Sansone. “We have a lot of respect for everybody and there are good relationships between every team.”

Tacoma battled to a 2-3 record in the round robin.

The Snappers, 4-2, played extra innings in three of their six pool games. One of those games was a 2-1 loss to the Atlanta Astros in which Robert Enriquez, six month after shoulder surgery, struck out 14 batters in eight and a third innings.

The Tugs got a complete game gem in from Fernando De Silva and beat the top-seeded Astros 5-2 in the semifinals. The Snappers defeated the Long Island Black Sox 8-4. The Sox had knocked them out of the playoffs three of the last five years including twice in the championship game.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Tacoma Tugs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 0
SoCal Snappers 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 X 5 1 3

Ryan Henderson and Kowal; Smith, Franklin (9), Wagner (9) and Graves. W – Smith. L –Henderson. Leading Hitters – (Tacoma) Reavis 1×3, Gamboa 1×3, 2B. (SoCal): Geery 2×3, 2B. Greg Martinez 2×4, Bernard 2×4. Flatten 3×3. SF – Faulkner (Tacoma). SB – Reavis (Tacoma). CS – Gamboa (Tacoma). LOB – Tacoma, 6; SoCal, 9.

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2011 18+ Federal Division

Orange County Wolves 12, SoCal Reds 4

by Jason Johnson

The Orange County Wolves, 18+ Federal Division Champs

Salt River Fields, October 23, 2011 – In the second inning the Orange County Wolves exploded for six runs and never looked back, defeating the SoCal Reds 12-4 in the 18+ MABL Federal Division Championship Game.

Ryan Green set the table all afternoon for the Wolves as he reached base all four times he batted, stole two bases and scored twice.

“We were waiting for our bats to bust open,” said Wolves manager Jason Kovac. “We went this far on pitching and defense and we really had a great lineup. This was our day that it just all came together.”

SoCal jumped out to an early lead, scoring one run in the first inning off of a RBI double by Charles Poe. They continued to swing the bats well in the second inning with a leadoff double by Josh Goldfield, followed by consecutive singles from Brian Fatur and Justin Collins giving them a 3-0 lead.

In the bottom of the second inning Ryan Benabous’s single to center field drove in James Luster and Tyler Mahon and sparked a six run rally. Ryan Keys capped off the inning by lining a double to right field that drove in Green.

“First and foremost, you just have to give it to the other team because they just flat out hit all game,” said Reds manager Nick Gontmaher. “I think errors got us out of our game fairly quickly. Unfortunately, it was a little too tough to recover against a team like that.”

After the second inning Wolves starting pitcher Ryan Clear settled down to pitch five consecutive scoreless innings earning him the victory. “I’m really grateful for our pitchers, our defense and our unselfish play,” said Kovac. “It was just awesome and I’m speechless.”

Lars Knepper, Bobby Sears, Mike Larue and Andrew Riddle all had outstanding finals performances. The Wolves added two runs in the seventh inning off of a two-run double that was driven to left field to drive in Eric Foor and Knepper.

Eddie Russell tripled in the eighth inning for the Reds and Bogden Tomalevski drove him in with a single.

“This was a learning experience all in all,” said Gontmaher. “When you fall short it’s tough. I think you make some tweaks and adjustments and try to come back stronger next year.”

The SoCal Reds earned a 4-1 record in pool play relying heavily on their pitching including a no-hitter thrown by Grant Williams against the MS All Stars. Justin Keeney also played a big role for the Reds batting .500 in the tournament heading into the championship game.

Eddie Russell pitching 12 innings against the San Antonio Blaze earning the win to get the team to the championship game. Last year the Reds lost to the Blaze in the championship game so these teams were familiar with each other.

The Wolves earned an unblemished record of 5-0.

Knepper earned the win for the Wolves in their tournament game against the Kansas City Rebels to get them to the championship game.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
So Cal Reds 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 4 11 3
Orange County Wolves 0 6 1 3 0 0 2 0 x 12 17 0

Hernandez, Van Slyke (3), Stone (6), and Goldfield, Bogden Tomalevski; Clear, Riddle (9) and Sears, Payne. W – Clear. L –Hernandez. Leading Hitters – (SoCal): Russell 2×3, 3B, R, RBI; Martin 2×4; Goldfield 1×3, 2B, R. (O.C) Green 2×4, 2R; Keys 2×3, 2B, 2R; Sears 3×3, R, RBI; Koshko 2×4, 2B, 2RBI. SB – Green, 2 (O.C.). LOB – SoCal, 5; O.C., 9 O.C.

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2011 18+ Central Division

So Cal Scrappers 11; Long Island Cardinals 1

by Rod Johnson

2011 World Series Champs, 18+ Central Division: The SoCal Snappers

Oct. 23, 2011, Tempe Diablo Stadium–The defending champion Long Island Cardinals were brimming with confidence entering the 18 Central Finals, while the 2010 runner up So Cal Scrappers were brimming with anticipation.

On this warm October day, anticipation beat confidence 11-1.

Motivated partly by last year’s finals loss, the Scrappers stormed out of the game. Its first six hitters reached base off of Long Island ace Luis Gomez and all six scored. Gomez didn’t make it out of the first inning. “He (Gomez) just wasn’t hitting his spots; it just didn’t happen,” explained Long Island Manager George Rhein. “That’s baseball.”

By the time Long Island scored their first run in the fourth inning, the Scrappers had already tallied nine times. The Cardinals lone marker came after Matt Kearns doubled and Edwin Delgado singled to drive him in.

So Cal tacked on two more in the ninth for a final score of 11-1.

The Cards were undefeated and had a convincing 7-1 semifinal win under their belt. The Scrappers still bore wounds of a championship game loss the previous year. “It was tough,” lamented Scrappers manger Justin Bray. “We had gone out and had a little too much fun the night before (the championship game) and weren’t ready to play—but we’re ready this year,” he said before the game.

Ryan Schwenn went the distance and scattered seven hits for the win. “The kid was great,” beamed Bray. “He wasn’t overpowering but he hit his spots and we backed him up with good defense.” Eric Lungren went 2-for-4 and laced his sixth triple of the tournament in the sixth inning. He was named tournament MVP. Five So Call hitters had at least two hits each as the Scrappers rapped out 17 hits. J.C. Coleman and Glen Sterlecki had three hits each and Frankie Cervantes knocked in three runs.

Following the game, both teams looked ready to start planning for another rematch. “It made it so much sweeter that we beat them after they beat us last year,” said Bray. “They’re good guys and we enjoy playing them.”

Long Island manager George Rhein echoed those feelings. “We ran into them (the Scrappers) throughout the week and we all kind of knew we would be playing them in the championship game. Heck, we probably will see them in the championship again next time around.”

2011 World Series

18+ Central – Tempe Diablo Stadium – October 23, 2011

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
So Cal Scrappers 6 0 2 1 0 1 1 0 2 11 17 0
Long Island Cardinals 0 0 0 1 0 2 1 0 0 1 7 2

Schwenn and Akers; Long Island: Gomez, Sarnak (1), Atanasle (8), Cinelli (8), Teaot (9) and Joyce. W- Schwenn. L- Gomez. Leading Hitters- So Cal: J.C. Coleman 3×5, R; Eric Lungren 2×4, 3b, RBI, R; Glen Sterlecki 3×4, 2 RBI; Frankie Cervantes 2×4, 2b, 3 RBI. Long Island.: Matt Kearnes 1×3, 2b, R; Edwin Delgado 1×3, RBI; Tom Smith 1×3, 2b.

SAC- Arana (SC). SB- Gutierrez 2 (SC). DP- So Cal 1; Long Island 3. LOB- So Cal 12; Long Island 5

TOG: 2:35

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2011 35+ Mountain Division

Chicago North Cubs 9, Tri-Valley White Sox 3

The Chicago North Cubs, 35+ Mountain Division Champs

by Jason Johnson

Salt River Fields, November 5, 2011 – Behind stellar, complete-game six-hitter by Jim Balian the Chicago North Cubs defeated the Tri-Valley White Sox 9-3 for the 35 Mountain Division crown.

“Today we got out front early,” said Cubs manager Tony Niezyniecki. “We turned it on, added some runs, extended the lead and Jim (Balian) threw a gem of a game.”

While it was a tough loss for the White Sox, it was still a great experience for them. They brought 25 players with them, the most in two years, and led their division in runs scored and least amount of runs allowed.

“It was a great experience,” said White Sox manager David Lewis. “The experience overall was tremendous. Great host, great organization. It was great all around and everyone had a blast.”

The Cubs employed some timely hitting in the championship to drive in nine runs. With the Cubs leading 2-0 in the top of the fourth inning catcher Oscar Samano drove a clutch two-out two-run double to put them ahead 4-0. Two innings later Chris Oliva hit a triple to right field that drove in Rick Malott and George Jimenez. Samano then followed with a triple of his own pushing the score to 7-1 and putting the Cubs in the driver’s seat.

“We tended to have a lot of clutch hitting this week,” said Niezyniecki. “We’ve had big hits up and down the order.”

The hit barrage didn’t stop there as Javier Gamboa flied a one-out double to centerfield, followed by a Scott Hanish walk and a Mike Torresso double to right field giving the Cubs a 9-1 lead.

Alfonso Quintar had a RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning for Tri-Valley making the score 9-2. In the bottom of the ninth inning Marlen Foster led off with a double and Albert Vasquez drove in the pinch-runner, Charles Loseth to get the score to 9-3.

“They are a great team,” said Lewis. “Hats off to them, they deserved it. They played very well and hit extremely well. Their pitcher did an extremely good job against us.”

Pool Play

The Cubs finished with a 3-2 record. Balian threw a 2-0 complete game shutout against the Scottsdale Scorpions in round robin play.

Tri-Valley earned a 4-1 with pitchers Ron Arostegui and Shane Holbrook leading the charge. . The White Sox played excellent defense throughout pool play by not committing more than one error in any of their games.

The Cubs beat the South Dakota Rustlers 8-7 in the semifinals. Mike Torresso hit a walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Cubs the win. Rod Biehl earned the victory.

Tri-Valley defeated the Scottsdale Scorpions 15-2. Pete Hartmann earned the victory in that game for the White Sox.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chicago North Cubs 1 0 0 3 0 3 2 0 0 9 9 2
Tri-Valley White Sox 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 3 6 1

Balian and Samano. Holdrodk, Brown, Arosegui and Scuitti. W – Balian, L – Holdrodk. Leading Hitters – (Chi) Samano 2×3, 3RBI, Javier Gamboa 2×4, 2R; Oliva 2RBI; (TV) Quintor 1×3, RBI, Eric Pickett 1×3, Foster 1×3. SAC – O’Connor (Chi). SF –Hanish (Chi.) Tinsley (Chi.). CS – Adams (TV), LOB – Chicago 10, 5; Tri-Valley, 4. 2B – Samano, Gamboa, Toresso, Foster. 3B – Samano, Gamboa, Oliva, Picket.

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2011 35+ Central Division

LATE RALLY GIVES PIRATES CHAMPIONSHIP

The Utah Pirates, 35+ Central Division Champs

by Alejandro Rodriguez

Utah Pirates 6, St. Louis Tigers 5

Tempe Diablo Stadium, Nov. 5, 2011 – Wes Kroon scored on Ray Clinton’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth inning, then turned a rally killing double play in the ninth as the Utah Pirates beat the St. Louis Tigers 6-5 for the title.

Clinton struck out Jay Davis for the final out of the game.

“Anytime you win, it’s a great feeling, especially the last game which wins you the championship, this is my first year playing with these guys, my seventh overall playing in the league and it never gets old,” Clinton said. “We’ve got a great group of guys here, we all win as a team with all 17 guys contributing, it makes it that much more special.” he said.

Clinton allowed five hits, and fanned four, in the 6-5 win and also went 1-for-2 at the plate with the game winning sacrifice fly. For his efforts, Clinton was named the Tournament MVP.

The Pirates got out quickly as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead after three innings. The Tigers then responded with four runs in the top of the fourth innings to take a 4-3 lead. The Pirates then scored twice in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI-single from Cale Shepherd and a sacrifice fly by Kroon to re-take the lead 5-4.

In the top of the sixth, Grant led off with a single for the Tigers and then came around to score on an RBI-double by Davis to tie the game at 5.

The Pirates then took the lead in the bottom of the eighth when Jason Jarvis led off with a single, then was forced at second base on a fielder’s choice by Kroon. Kroon then moved to third on a single by Dave Eaton. Kroon then came home to score on Clinton’s fly ball to give the Pirates the lead.

For the Pirates, Shepherd went 3-for-3 with two doubles.

Manager Randy Miles was especially proud of his team’s effort this year at winning the championship against tougher competition.

“I’ve been playing in these tournaments for 12 years and this was by far a tougher road than last year’s championship just because the competition was so much tougher.” Miles said.

“These tournaments are a lot of fun, it’s a great vacation for a lot of us. We get to play baseball, a game we love in great weather, you can’t beat it.” He added.

St. Louis manager Gary Gerkens was disappointed in losing the championship game but still credited his team for not giving up.

“We gave them a couple runs early, but I’m proud of the way we battled back and gave them a tough game.” Gerkens said.

Gerkens is looking forward to making a return trip next year.

“We’ve got some unfinished business, so hopefully it can all work out and we can be back here in this same game next year, this time hopefully the result is a different one.” Gerkens said.

For the Tigers, Grant went 1 for 2 with two walks, an RBI and a stolen base and Davis went 1-for-4 with two RBIs.

2011 35+ Central – Division 1 Standings

2011 35+ Central – Division 2 Standings

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2011 60 Wood Bat Central

El Paso Tejanos 8, Tucson Golden Aces 6

By Jason Johnson

Phoenix Municipal Stadium, November 5, 2011 –

After 18 years the El Paso Tejanos finally got a World Series title – and the memory of eight fallen teammates helped them get that 60 Central crown.

The Tejanos beat the Tucson Golden Aces 8-6 in the finals. Jesus Martinez had the game-winning hit – a two-run double in the seventh inning. Jesus Munoz was the winning pitcher.

The team dedicated the tournament to eight former teammates who had died at different times over the past few years.

“It was an exciting game and I’m glad we came out on top,” said Tejanos manager Mike Barraza. “We did this for those guys. We miss them and we played for them.”

Robert Padilla, Jesus Encinas, Jesus Rodriguez and Frank Del Toro were instrumental in giving the Tejanos and early 3-0 lead.

The Golden Aces tied the game with a three-run fifth inning. Catcher Don Holp stroked an RBI double to score Chuy Felix. Marc Sewell and Joe Jimenez added RBI singles.

The Aces took a one-run lead in the top of the seventh on an RBI single by Felix, but in the bottom of the inning El Paso exploded for five runs including the two-run double by Martinez – the tournament MVP.

With the Golden Aces down to their last out, sparkplug and starting shortstop Chuck Milo lined a single to centerfield. That was followed by consecutive hits from Byron Carter, Arnold Mares and Ernesto Escala to trim El Paso’s lead to 8-6. With the tying run on first base Barraza made a call to the bullpen and brought in Juan Zaragoza to slam the door for the title.

POOL PLAY

With the versatile Milo anchoring the defense – he played shortstop, third base, pitcher and even volunteered to catch at different times – the Aces powered their wa to a 5-1 round robin record.

El Paso used great pitching, and emotional fuel from the memory of their fallen teammates, to finish a perfect 6-0.

“They know all of the players,” said Barraza when asked if the new players had known some of the players that passed away. “Some of them play in our league and we’ve got some new players that were able to come in.”

Tucson’s bats stayed hot in the semi-finals against the Scottsdale Scorpions and the Hollywood Stars as their offense carried them to 19-5 and 12-1 victories respectively. Joe Jimenez earned the win against the Scorpions.

In the semi-finals the Tejanos defeated St. Paul 5-2 with Don Wilson earning the win and Francisco Favela getting the save.

PERSPECTIVE

It was a tough loss, said Aces manager Mike Morales, but he said the experience was memorable. Morales and Barraza are close friends and have played on other teams together.

“The people, tournament director, umpires and all of the players I’ve played with in the last six years of playing in the MSBL have been phenomenal,” said Morales. “The friends that you make, the spirit that you get from the players is incredible.”

“I’ve been coming for 18 years and this is my first championship,” said Barraza. “My friends would be proud.”

“This was our first time playing for a championship but we’ll be back,” said Morales. “I guarantee it.”

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2011 45+ Wood Bat American

Central Coast Tigers named 45 Wood Champs

By Gabe Chavez

Maryvale Stadium, Oct. 28, 2011 – The old Yogi-ism – it ain’t over ‘til it’s over – got a new twist in the 45 Wood Bat American division at the 2011 World Series.

Now it’s “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over, and then when it’s over it still might not be over.”

Team Easton defeated the Central Coast Tigers, 4-3 in a hard-fought, down-to-the-wire game at Maryvale Stadium.

Team Easton was fitted for rings and the story had a happy ending – or so it seemed.

More than a month after the final out of that game was made, it was discovered that Team Easton’s roster had at least one underage player for whom an exemption was not requested nor granted.

Somebody, probably not Yogi, said it best. “Stuff happens.”

So now the Central Coast Tigers, 4-3 losers of the actual game, wear the 45 American Wood Bat crown.

The Tigers very nearly won the thing on their own merits anyway. Behind 3-1, the Tigers were down to their last out when Dale Craig drove a base hit to right center field. Pat Crowleyfollowed with a grounder to third baseman Danny Gonzales, but Gonzalez’ throw popped out of first baseman Mark Glennie’s mitt and the Tigers rally continued.

Back-to-back RBI singles by starting pitcher Bill Uelmen and Bob Lord tied the game, 3-3, forcing Easton to bat in the bottom of the frame.

Team Easton Second baseman Pierce Rodninski, who had two hits and drove in one run for the day, led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a base on balls, and scored the game winner when losing pitcher Doug Wolff hit Marty Orozco with the bases loaded.

“They sure made it hard for us,” said Easton manager Dirk Deem. “They battled for nine innings.”

Easton’s Billy Minnis, a University of Florida grad who played two years in the Angels farm system as a shortstop, pitched a complete game, striking out 10 and scattering 10 hits. “I pulled my groin Monday stealing second base,” recalled Minnis. “I was out of gas in the sixth [inning], but we played team baseball, and Billy [Picketts] called a great game. I didn’t shake off one pitch the whole day.”

“We battled to the end to get here, but it just didn’t go our way today,” said Knoph.

They didn’t go their way that day, but they did go their way in December when it was confirmed that Minnus was 43 when he beat the Tigers.

The Tigers ran the playoff gauntlet. They beat the Lehigh Valley Seadogs, 4-2, in a play-in game, and then stopped the top-seeded Tri Valley Nasty Boys, 7-5 to advance to the title game.

Easton upended the second-seeded 3n2 Rangers, 7-1, to face the Tigers for the title.