South Jersey MSBL, 52+ National Jim Malik Division
Trenton Giants 6, Glouchester County Phillies 2
Submitted by Jimmy Apfelbaum, Rookie Center fielder/Pitcher
On a chilly Sunday, October 25th, Bill Andrey scattered three hits, allowing just two unearned runs, as Tommy Sumners’ sixth-inning two-run double broke open a tight game, leading the Trenton Giants to a 6-2 championship win over the Gloucester County-Phillies and the South Jersey MSBL 52+ National Jim Malik Division title.
The win secured the South Jersey Senior Men’s Baseball League 52+ National Jim Malik Division title for the team in first place from opening day.
One of three 2020 Giant All-Stars, Andrey (6-0) struck out seven, walked two while also hitting two batters. The Phillies Bobby Morell, 6-2 during the regular season with a league-leading 47 strikeouts, struck out five over eight innings. He gave up 12 hits and three earned runs while taking the loss for Wayne Baker’s Phillies, who finished the year at 13-4.
Tied at one after an inning, the Giants took the lead in the bottom of the second. All-Star third baseman Luis Reyes singled with two out, driving in Daryl Fein who walked. Two innings later, a lead-off single by first baseman Orlando Colon, a stolen base, and a Jim Toth single made it 3-1.
Three runs in the fifth put the game away. Dave Mazer singled, advancing on catcher indifference. First baseman Nicky Doura then reached on an error, scoring Mazer. Shortstop Ralph Miller, the Giants’ third All-Star and one of the league’s top hitters, followed with a base hit, setting the stage for left fielder Sumners’ two-RBI double to left.
The Phillies responded in the top of the sixth. Jason Lerner reached on an error, advanced to third on a James Nottingham single and scored on a SAC fly by Mark Crecelius, who earlier doubled in the Phillies’ first run.
Miller, Toth, Colon and Maurice Stokes each had two hits for Trenton. The Giant defense stiffened, highlighted by an exceptional catch by second baseman Paul Sumners. The league’s RBI leader, Sumners, racing into right center field, his back to the plate, snared a flare to squelch an early Phillies threat.
Trenton (15-2) opened and closed the regular season with six-game win streaks. The Penn Jersey Dodgers were semi-final victims. In the other semi, the Phillies bested the South Jersey Phillies to set up the anticipated battle between the seven-team league’s two top seeds.
“It was a terrific season,” said field manager Fein. “We faced a lot of adversity with injuries and players relocating. I really appreciate the guys that played out of their normal positions. We needed them to do what was right for the team and they did.”
It was not all smooth sailing. A Labor Day weekend two-game skid included an 18-3 thrashing from none other than eventual championship game opponent, Gloucester County.
Fein acknowledged, “a couple of bumps in the road and some close calls, but when it was all said and done, we did what we had to do to win the regular season and the Championship.”
The Giants saved their best game for last. “I asked the guys to throw strikes, make the routine plays, and hit with runners in scoring position,” Fein continued, “and we did all of it. It was a true team effort.”