MSBL Tournament Highlights
ATLANTA CLOWNS TAKE THE PUERTO RICO 35+ CROWN!- The Atlanta Clowns, which were led by manager Martin White who put together a great team including four LABL'ers (Justin Bunch, Steve Zorn, Kenny Woods & Robert Wasmund), won the just completed Caribbean Winter Baseball Classic in Puerto Rico. Late inning drama unfolded in the 35+ championship game as The Clowns won their first CWBC title, 10-9 in 10 innings. Up 9-6 going into the top of the 9th, The rains came down, and with the wet conditions the Clowns pitcher lost his control. The opponent scored 3 runs to tie the score. In the top of the 10th, Cape Cod had runners on the corners with one out, but were caught with a batter out of turn violation and ended up with a runner at second and two outs. After they failed to score, the Clowns scored in the bottom of the 10th on a walk off two out, two strike infield hit up the middle and won the game, 10-9. Click here for team photo.
2013 Palm Springs Winner: The LA Athletics successfully defended their title by winning the 55+ division of the MSBL Desert Classic in Palm Springs over MLK weekend. Winners of the division in 2012, the Athletics repeated as champions by defeating Dodgertown West in the championship game 9 - 5. With manager Bob Sherwin limited to coaching duties only due to recent shoulder surgery, the Athletics went 2 - 1 in pool play and then beat the So Cal Fire 8 - 6 in the semi final before taking on Dodgertown, the same team they defeated in last year's championship game. LABL pitcher Jeff Wells got the win in the big game going 5 1/3 innings and besting ex major league pitcher, Brian Kingman. Danny Pawelek, aka The Beast, threw 3 2/3 innings in relief and struck out 6 Dodgertown players to preserve the win. Pawelek also pitched 8 innings against So Cal Fire in the semi final the same morning. Big Jon Scheuerman led the Athletics in hitting for the weekend with a .533 average and went 3 for 4 in the final game against Kingman. Mike Thatcher, LA' centerfielder, also came up big hitting .437 and going 4 for 4 in the semi final game. Other local LABL players who helped the Athletics to their 5th Desert Classic title were Jack Charles, Steve Barnhart, Kevin Bronson, Dan Little, Paul McPherson, and Steve Cooper.
2012 World Series Winner: From longtime LABL manager/player, Bob Sherwin of the LA Athletics: We won the 60+ Mountain Division. We went 4 - 1 in pool play and beat El Paso in the semi-finals and then Lehigh Moondogs in the final. Lehigh beat us in pool play with an ex-major leaguer on the mound, Dennis Kinney. A 60 year old lefty who threw better than anyone in our local league. Amazing a guy that age could throw as well as he did. Fortunately he was used in their semi-final game and we didn't see him in the final. We beat them 4 -2. Danny Pawelek of Utah was my winning pitcher going all 9. Danny threw a total of 39 2/3 innings in the week. He threw 21 for us, and 18 2/3 for his Utah Pirates 45+ team. And this was after he threw the same number of innings the previous week with the Milwaukee Brewers 55+ team which won the Central, and my Father/Son, which won the FS American. He is a beast and not human. Our 60+ team had lots of stars including Paul McPherson who played a flawless 3B; Jack Charles who hit over .400; Jon Scheuerman, who pitched a 9 inning win in the semi finals; Dan Little who caught 6 of our 7 games and yours truly, who hit .525 for the week and scored two of the four runs in the championship game. Also contributing were Gary Firestone, Scott Kenning, Ernie Morris, and Gary Faulkes. The rest of the team were my players from Wisconsin and Texas. This was an amazing two weeks for me getting back in the winner's circle picking up my 13th and 14th rings.
2012 World Series Winner: From longtime LABL manager/player, Gary Firestone of the Agua Dulce Reds who won the 50+ Wood Central Division One Championship: Our pitching carried us to the ring! Tony Covarrubias pitched 2 1/2 games in playoffs and championship game. Also 2 1/2 games from Armando Valle and 28 innings from Roy Herrera. Our bats were good, defense great but the pitching was unbelievable all week!
2012 World Series Winner: From longtime LABL manager/player, Bob Sherwin: This was the 6th Father/Son championship for the Athletics. We again won the American (top) Division by going 4 - 0 in pool play and getting the top seed in the playoffs. We defeated the Pro Bat Yankees from New York in the finals and then the LA Skunks in the championship game 8 - 4. Local LA players who helped us to our 6th championship were Celino Escalante Jr. and Sr., Cole Summers and his father Van, Isaac Yoshinaga and his sons Isaac Jr. and Anthony, and yours truly along with my son Rob who now lives in Texas. Our pitching from both Fathers and Sons was outstanding. Our fathers were led by ex-major leaguer Tom Klawitter who pitched 4 innings in the championship game; Jim Barker from Arizona, Danny "The Beast" Pawelek from Utah and Carlos Claudio Sr. from Puerto Rico. Our "son" pitchers were led by Tyler Kozlawski and Johnny Arnold, both from Wisconsin, TJ Klawitter, Rolf Pawelek, Anthony Yoshinaga and Anthony Chavez. Our hitting dominated the tournament and included stand out performances from Jesus Gonzalez and his father Fernando (6 years in the majors) from Puerto Rico, Isaac Yoshinaga Sr., Jr. and Sr Escalange and many others. This was truly a team effort with all 30 of the rostered players contributing to our success. My hope is to keep doing this until my grandson Reed will be eligible to play at age 16. Gee....I will only be 78 years old!
2012 Palm Springs Winner: The LA Athletics won the 55+ division at the Desert Classic Open over the MLK weekend. The Athletics had a smaller squad than normal (only 17 players) and won the division going 2 wins, one tie and no losses. Then they won the playoff game against the South Shore Pilots from Milwaukee 8 – 2, and won the championship game 5 - 0 against the So Cal Dodgers (Dodgertown West). My super star for the tournament was Danny Pawelek from Salt Lake City. Danny (aka: The Beast), pitched a no-hitter in the championship game, allowing only one ball out of the infield and going one batter over the limit of 27 (he walked a batter in the 6th). Danny also pitched 9 innings in game one and 9 innings in the playoff so he threw a total of 27 innings in 2 1/2 days. As is normally the case with him, he gets stronger with the more innings he pitches. He threw harder in the no hitter than in the previous two games. Two years ago, he threw 41 innings in the tournament when Salt Lake City won by beating us in 12 innings. Other big contributors were Dennis Clancy who caught 4 of the 5 games; Kevin Bronson who played an error less second base for 5 games; and Jeff Wells who helped in relief on the mound and at 1B. Steve Barnhart, Jack Charles, Ray Smith, and Mike Thatcher each had solid offensive stats while the leading hitter was Mark Sain from Salt Lake City (the grandson of Johnny Sain). Jon Scheuerman pitched a complete game 8 - 0 victory against the So Cal Fire which clinched the division for the Athletics. Bob Sherwin, the Athletics manager also had a good tournament at the plate, but was unable to play in the field due the slow healing of his shoulder fracture incurred in Arizona. A great weekend for the Athletics having recaptured the title last won in 2009.
2010 Phoenix World Series Winner: From manager Antone Henley: The South Bay Zephyrs are the MSBL 45+ Wood Bat Cactus Division Champions, but it wasn’t easy. We won this tournament with hard work, and great attitudes. Every time something went against us, we came together as a team to work it out. We had a four way tie for 2nd place in the division, and we beat two of the teams that we were tied with, but considering that we didn’t play against the 3rd team that we tied with the league decided to go with runs allowed, and we lost the 2nd place bye with 1 more run allowed even though we beat the team that had the bye (Halo). We won our 1st playoff game, and had to play Halo in the semi finals. We lost the game on a walkoff bottom of the 9th hit, but protested that Halo didn’t play according to the Central Division Rules. We played another 7 inning playoff game the next morning. After we won that game, we had to play the Championship game at 1:45 the same day at Grand Canyon University. We won 6-5 with clutch RBI’s from Mark Grizzle(2), Don Schuoler(2), Antone Henley(1), with the game winning RBI from Sam Adams(1) in the bottom of the 8th. Our hitting star was Mark Grizzle, and our pitching star was Dave Reed who pitched in 3 straight playoff games; hurling 24 out of 25 possible innings. I want to give special thanks to Don Schuoler for his assistant coaching; we would not have won without him.
2010 Phoenix World Series Winner: From manager Bob Sherwin: The LA Athletics lost their first pool play game to the Arkansas Diamonds 7-4 only to then win 6 straight and get into the championship game against the same team. This time we were victorious...7 - 4. LABL players Jeff Wells, Steve Barnhart, Bob Quick, Dennis Clancy, Cedric Watson, Kevin Bronson, and Jon Scheuerman all played key roles in getting us a ring. Barnhart broke his right hand making a web gem catch in the semi final game and yet managed to bang out two clutch hits in the final. Bronson and Scheurman were named co MVPs of the tournament after Big Jon pounded out 18 hits in 8 games. Bronson batted over .500 and sparked the team as its lead off hitter and avid base stealer.
2010 Phoenix World Series Winner: From manager Bob Sherwin: The Athletics again played in the highest division; the American which consisted of 12 outstanding teams. We tied for first place in our sub division going 3 - 1 and played the Maine Diamond Dogs in the quarter finals. Maine is one of the better teams in the country and we faced them in the semi finals last year. This year had a similar result with us winning 8 - 4. In the semi final game we beat the World Trans Angels 11 - 3. In the championship game, we beat the Sacramento Tribe 12 - 4 and picked up our 5th championship in the Father/Son Division.
The Father/Son Division began in 1998 and I have entered a team every year. For the first three years, my team never won a game and only after "getting serious", was I able to start putting together winning teams. This year were a total of 42 teams in Father/Son counting the Central (lower) and American Divisions.
Local LABL players who played a huge role in our success were Dave and Scott Livergood, Jeff and Alex Gould, Mark Batchelor, Gary and Jason Butcher, and Celino and Celino Jr. Escalante. Dave Livergood pitched 4 innings of the quarter final playoff while Scott threw 14 innings in pool play. Jeff Gould threw four innings of our pool play win over the Tribe and then threw four more innings in the championship game. Jeff's son Alex, only 16 years old, showed he could hold his own with the big boys. 16 year old players usually do better in the Central division where the pitching is not dominating. In the American Division, many of the sons are college or ex-college players and younger players tend to get swallowed up. Alex, however, played a solid shortstop and catcher and was able to be behind the plate for the championship game when his dad pitched.
Winning the F/S this year was extremely gratifying since we were missing some of our top pitchers due to injuries. I knew we had a very good team but I wasn't confident we would take it all. It's always great to play along side my son who now lives in Texas and comes out to join me for the tournament. I also love watching the kids mature over the years and playing with a group of great ball players and competitors.
2010 Phoenix World Series Winner: From manager Augie Alonso: Team Victory won the 45+ National Wood Bat division by going 4-0-2 in pool play, then to the playoffs.. 1st Game of Pool Play Recap: Greg Bertand throws 11 innings vs. Tri-Valley 40's. Game ended in a tie, 2-2 at Maryvale Baseball Complex. Game was called a tie due to time restrictions. The 2 runs were unearned, 4K's and 2 BB's.
Semi Final Game Re-cap: Greg Bertand pitched 9 strong inning allowing no runs on 5 hits, with 4 BB's and 4 K's. Team Victory defeats Boston Wolfpack 9-0! Location: Papago Park
In the Championship game: Team Victory defeated Tri-Valley 40's, 4-3, in the championship game held at HoHoKam Stadium. Both teams scored 2 runs in the first inning and from there became a pitcher's dual until the 8th inning. Tri-Valley jumps ahead by scoring 1 run in the their top half of the 8th inning to take the lead 3-2, but in the bottom of the 8th inning, Team Victory comes from behind to plate 2 runs to take the lead, 4-3, and shut the door in the top of the 9th inning by closer Jose Valencia. Key hits and RBI's from Pokey Sanchez (O.C. MSBL) and Oscar Duran in the bottom of the 8th inning was all Team Victory needed.
2010 Phoenix World Series Winner: From LABL member Mike Alcala: The 2010 Victory Custom Athletic Matanzas won the 35+ Mountain MSBL World Series in Phoenix, AZ. The team has been in existence for over 20 years and has played in the MSBL tournaments the last 5 years. The team consists of a combination of players that have mostly played together during those 20 years. The Matanzas; led by manager Mario Diaz went 4-2 in pool play and went 3-0 in the playoffs including a stunning come from behind 9-6 win in the Championship game. The Matanzas players from the LABL include Michael Alcala, Derek Moore, Eric Orue, Jason McClure, Buck Grayson, Raul Vedecia and James Espinosa.
2010 Palm Springs Desert Classic Winner: Put another trophy on the LABL mantle! The upstart Silver Lake Mariners, managed by Jade Devitt, shutout defending '09 champs La Matanzas 5-0 in the championship game to claim the MSBL 35+ Wood National Division crown. Mark Batchelor (13.1 IP, 2 W, 1 Sv, 2.06 ERA) pitched 7+ strong innings for the win and Ernie Johnson (6.2 IP, 2 Holds, 1 Sv, 0.00 ERA) pitched the final frame and a half before the rain came down in buckets in a 9th inning stoppage. The Mariners defense did not commit an error in the final, and was outstanding throughout. Dave Noll (12 IP, 2 W, 0.00 ERA), led the M's to a 2-1 victory in the semi-final over the Central Valley Yankees. The Mariners went 4-1 overall. Offensive standouts were bench coach Phil Leavitt (.471 avg, 6 Runs), David Smartt (.375 avg, 5 Runs), Felix Pacheco (.471 avg, 7 RBI) and Michael Walsh (.444 avg, .611 SLG). Robin Sarchett had 3 hits, 2 rbi, 2 SB and a run in the CG. Scott Brown, Gary Cozine, Eric Burak, John Park and Greg Frey rounded out the total team effort.
2009 Phoenix World Series Winner: Rex De La Nuez took his South Bay Cubs to Phoenix and won for the 4th consecutive year. They beat the Scottsdale Finest, who had 3 ex-big leaguers, 4-3 in the 35+ National Wood Bat division. Congrats to the Cubs, and thanks for making the LABL proud!
Other 2009 LABL affiliated teams participating: LA Grays (Gary Walsh) 25+ Central Wood went 1-3. Agua Dulce Reds (Gary Firestone) 50+ American went 2-4, lost in the playoffs. Christian Audigier's Lions (Angel Torres) 25+ National Wood went 2-2, lost in the playoffs. LA Skunks (Steve Zorn) 25+ National Wood went 2-2, lost in the playoffs. LABL Dodgers (John Chatigny) 50+ Central Wood went 2-4. SoCal Bullsharks (Mateo Valadez) 18+ Central went 0-5. North Valley Bears (Ernie Johnson) 35+ Central Wood went 5-1, lost in the championship. LA Athletics (Bob Sherwin) 55+ National Wood went 2-4. The Athletics (Bob Sherwin) Father & Son National went 3-1, lost in the championship.
2009 Palm Springs Desert Classic Winner: Bob Sherwin's LA Athletics won the 55+ for the 2nd year in a row. They went 3 - 0 in pool play which included a 2 - 1 win over Dodgertown West and former major league pitcher Brian Kingman, who went the distance. Great game! They beat the California Cards in the semi finals and then Sam Beet's California Redbirds in the final game 9 - 7. Congrats to both teams, and thanks for making the LABL proud!
2009 Palm Springs Desert Classic Winner:Congratulations to our LA Jays for winning the NABA California Kickoff Classic 35+ Wood Bat Rookie division over the Martin Luther King weekend! The Jays went 3-1 in pool play, then winning the championship 11-5 over the San Diego Whitesox, who beat the Jays in the 1st game. All of the Jay's players play in the LABL either in Metal or Wood divisions. Phil Leavitt won MVP for the Championship game, Dave Reed won the Gold Glove for the Championship game. Matt Kennedy (2 home runs, 2 doubles, 12 RBI, .625 Ave), Mark Grizzle (1 Home run, 2 doubles, 10 RBI, .438 Ave) & John Scott (.583 Ave) led the way. Complete game pitching from Dave Reed (9 inning Win), Scott Disharoon (5 inning Win plus 3-1/3 relief) & Matt Kennedy (5 inning Win plus 5 inning relief Win in Championship game).
2008 Phoenix Winner: This just in from Nolan Wyatt: I just wanted to let everyone know that the league had another World Series winner in Arizona this year. I managed a team named the Venice A's who won the 25+ Federal Division. We beat the Salt Lake City Buzzards 12-2 at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Saturday 10/25. The team was led by offensive Co-MVP's Justin Collins and Jason Faunt and the pitching of Ari Zagaris, Ruben Hernandez and others.
2008 Phoenix Winner: Our 60+ Tournament Team, the California Cards, managed by Sam Beets (who plays on the Agua Dulce Reds during our regular season) has just won the 60+ National Division Championship at the MSBL World Series in Phoenix, AZ!! Among those playing for Sam from our League were: Bob Sherwin, Gary Faulkes, Ted Betzel, Gary Firestone, and Glen Marshall. Way to go, guys!!!
2008 Phoenix winner: Here, in his own words is Bob Sherwin's Arizona report:
During week #2, my father/son team, the LA Athletics won the Father/Son National Division. We went 3 - 1 in pool play winning the division and earning a bye into the championship game on Sunday Oct 26. We defeated the Rhode Island Cardinals 5 - 2 in the championship game. Rhode Island is comprised of 4 players from Rhode Island and 22 from Puerto Rico, including former major leaguer Junior Ortiz. Rhode Island won the National Division in 2006 and 2007 (defeating us in the championship game last year 5 - 1). It was obviously very exciting and rewarding to beat these guys and get back in the winner's circle.
Playing on my team were of course my son, Rob and fellow LABL players Cole Summers, Bob Quick, Reid Warner, Celino Escalante.
2008 Phoenix runner-up: The final week which just ended saw my 55+ team, the LA Athletics, lose in the championship game of the 55+ National Division. We won the division with a 5 - 1 record and then lost to the Sacramento Tribe in the championship game 13 - 7. LABL standouts were Jeff Wells, who pitched a complete game victory against the San Antonio Rangers, Jack Charles and Gary Faulkes who led the team in hitting, Mark Gorman and Bob Sherwin who combined at shortstop and second base to anchor a solid defense along with Bill Slaughter and Ted Betzel at 1B; Ray Wilson who picked up the final win on the mound in the last pool play game; Bob Quick who played excellent defense at a myriad of positions. Gary Firestone had a good tournament at the plate knocking in some key runs in our final pool play game (which cinched the division) and the championship game.
It was very disappointing to lose when we won the division and had fresh pitching for the championship game. The Tribe however, was a great hitting team and we made too many mistakes in the final game to capture the ring.
Overall, it was a good three weeks: 2 rings and a runner up prize!
I can truly say winning never gets old. Almost as important is the number of friends I've made in attending and playing in the world series. I respect my competitors and I think the feeling is mutual.
(Editor's note: Bob has gone to AZ 18 years and has managed since 1993. His teams have won 10 championships and thus 10 rings. 2 in the 48+; 2 in the 55+; one in the 45+; one in the 60+ and 4 in the Father/Son).