Team Balin Makes it Five Championships in a Row at John A. DeBenedictis Father/Son Labor Day Weekend Tournament  

Team Balin has won the John A. DeBenedictis League Father/Son Labor Day Weekend Tournament the past five years.  The league and tournament were started by the late John A. DeBenedictis in the Philadelphia, Delaware area league that bears his name for players aged 55 to 65, with many in their 70’s still active and playing competitive baseball.

Each year, Lois DeBenedictis throws out the first pitch while the teams line the field. John’s son, Jarrett, led off hitting to start the game. 

Game One: Team Balin vs. Team Pisani

Billy Devine started the game on the bump with his father Tim behind the plate.

Team Balin got off to a slow start but tied the game when Skipper Gregg Balin plated a run with a single.  In the third inning Kyle Leiser, Balin’s grandson, hit a go-ahead RBI single.

Billy Devine went three innings, allowed two runs, and struck out six.

In the fifth, Lou Spassatempo singled followed by a Tim Marker, Jr. double.  Billy and Tim Devine each plated a run with singles to take a 5-3 lead going into the sixth.  Winning pitcher Balin held them close in the third, fourth, and fifth innings only giving up one run.  Paul Julio closed out the last inning for the save.  Final Score 5-3.

Game Two: Team Balin vs Team Hefton

Austin Spassatempo led off the game with a base hit, stole second, moved to third on a ground out, and scored on a sac fly RBI by Tim Marker, Jr.

In the fourth inning Team Balin erupted for five runs when two runners reached base on errors and walks followed by a Tim Marker, Jr. 3-RBI Double. 

In the sixth inning, Balin scored one on another Tim Marker, Jr. RBI plating Lou Spassatempo who doubled.  Team Hefton battled back in the seventh inning getting five hits and scoring three runs.

Tim Marker, Jr. started on the bump and threw three scoreless innings.

Tim Marker, Sr. took the bump pitching to son Tim Marker, Jr. and threw the remaining four innings of the game to notch the win. Final Score 8-4.

Game Three: Team Pisani vs Team Balin

Pisani jumped out to a 2-run lead in the first two innings that woke up Team Balin in the third. Tim Devine reached on an error, Gregg Balin and Willie Colon singled, Austin Spassatempo doubled, Tim Marker, Jr. singled and Alexei Colon doubled giving Team Balin a 6-2 lead.  Gregg Balin relieved Billy Devine but Pisani wasn’t going away and worked hard to tie the game in the fourth.  In the bottom of the fourth Kyle Leiser led off with a triple and scored on a Tim Devine single to take the lead.

Pisanti battled back plating a run again to take a one-run lead in the sixth.

Tim Marker, Jr. doubled to lead off the sixth, moved up on a ground ball and Paul Julio drove him home with an RBI ground ball to second base to tie the game.

In the seventh Billy Devine led off with a base hit, moved to second on a wild pitch and Gregg Balin singled in Devine for a one run lead and the eventual game-winning hit.

Paul Julio again held Pisani to no runs in the eighth.  Pisani again battled back in ninth against closer Tim Marker, Jr. with a leadoff single.  Marker struck out the second hitter, the third hitter singled threatening to tie the game once again but Marker painted a perfect strike three for the second out.  The final out was recorded on a screaming line drive to right field that Austin Spassatempo speared to end the game.

Paul Julio relieved Gregg Balin in the fifth and only allowed one run over four innings to get the win.  Tim Marker, Jr. closed the ninth inning getting two K’s and a save. 9-8 final score.

Team Balin has been undefeated for five years in the tournament.  Here are their top stats for the 2022 tourney:

Billy Devine                 .700 batting average

Tim Marker, Jr.            .545 batting average, 2 doubles & 1 triple, 8 RBI

Gregg Balin                 .444 batting average,  2 RBI

Austin Spassatempo .416 batting average, 1 triple

Kyle Leiser                  .400 batting average, 2 RBI, 2 triples

Lou Spassatempo       .333 batting average, 1 double

Paul Julio                    1 win & 1 save

Gregg Balin                 1 win

Tim Marker, Sr.             1 win

Tim Marker Jr.              1 save

A big shout out of thanks to John Stefanik and Ed Costantini for endless hours prepping the field to bring it up to a very high standard.  Also, thank you to Pat Fyne, league commissioner, for continuing to work and maintain this highly valued weekend for his league.