It was #1 versus #2 for the Championship Game today at a very sunny and warm Pine Field. With Oscar Castillo providing a PA system complete with songs, announcers, flags and the national anthem it felt like the World Series at Yankee Stadium!!
Village Pie Shop with Pablo Shook and Al Cabacungan at the helm won a remarkable 31 games this year in a near coast to coast regular season domination. The only other team to hold 1st place this year was Pizza Port Brewery who fought through a year of injuries and short rosters to hang around long enough to finish in 2nd place and earn a spot in the title game.
VPS was by far the top hitting team in the league but as Pablo would say…not today. Pizza Port Brewery fielded a strong defensive team and was able to come away with a 19-8 victory to go
back-to-back for its second title in a row.
Pizza Port started out strong putting 5 on the board in the first inning. Dennis Rayford, Kevin McBarron, and Rod Johnson all had 4/4 days as PPB jumped out ahead. VPS came back with 3 in the bottom of the first with Phil Heinz 3/3 and Al Galaviz 3/3 leading the way to make it 5-3.
PPB was able to stretch the lead inning by inning as Rick Keefer 4/4 knocked in three runs and Gene LaChimia added 5 RBI’s to push the lead to 17-4. It might have been more if not for a beautiful running catch by Bob Porter and the arm of Pete Lindner. In the 7th inning Pete threw out two runners at home and Rod Johnson at second to record all three outs in the inning! Has this ever happened before anywhere? (Editor’s note: Rod is to be forgiven for running through the actual 2nd base to be tagged out…it’s a rule he was unaware of as he had never ventured past first base before in his stellar career!)
VPS threatened in the bottom of the 7th with Lindner- 2/2 -hitting a very, very long sacrifice fly that Michael Juditz made a nice catch on and Cabacungan getting his 3rd straight hit of the game to score 3 runs in the inning. But the damage might have been much worse if not for a Dennis Rayford snag of a hard liner turned double play to keep PPB ahead.
Dave Erwine played some nice defense and not only made three nice catches but also absolutely tattooed a ball deep into the left field corner for the games only HR, stretching the lead to the final 19-8 margin.
PPB had one of their better hitting days of the year but obviously you do not hold a powerful hitting team to 8 runs without a phenomenal defensive effort. Pitcher Rod Johnson dominated the game by flawlessly pitching to precise locations keeping the VPS batters off balance the entire day. The PPB outfield was very strong and was thankful to get back Pat Driscoll who struggled through fatigue after recovering from the dreaded Covid last week.
Afterwards a large group gathered at Hennessey’s Tavern for (several) libations and 2-for-1 burgers as players switched jerseys to prepare for a new year with new teammates.
Thanks to Roney Lewis and Rick Shaw who umpired a strong game today and to all the fans who came out to watch…it certainly makes it feel special.
In the last 5 VPS wins, VPS has won 4 of them by 1 run! Another"squeaker" win over a much determined and well balanced CBI team. With two "elite" pitchers on the mound, Barry Anderson
(HR + 4/4) and Bob Baptista (3/3), it was anyone's win. VPS Al Galaviz hit a long fly ball apparently over the new commissioner Jack Schwartzel (4/4) head but Jack pulled a "Willie Mays" and snagged it running towards the fence. CBI hitter Carlos Cevallos 5/5, but it was Rich Lavacot's grand slam HR in the 6th inning that brought CBI within 1 run of VPS lead.
The last regular game of this season was last Tuesday, a convincing
win over a short handed (10 players) CBI team. Was VPS looking towards the finals next week? If it wasn't for Pete Lindner (2 HR +3/3), Dan Griffin (HR + 3/4), Bob Baptista (3/3 & 31 game wins), Kathy O'Neil (2/3) and Marlene Hill (2/2 + SAC) that made the difference for the VPS win.
VPS can't expect a win vs. Pizza Port next Tuesday batting .578. It was the bottom of the batting order that generated 7 runs today, as they have all season long!
Our thanks for Roney Lewis and Steve Newberg....you guys were
This writer has got 1 more game to go......nuff said
Pizza Port had a stellar effort today against a depleted Nucci’s team, winning 18-7 at Pine Field. The PPB defense came up big starting in the first inning as Kevin McBarron robbed Keith Richards of a sure HR with a nice running catch at the fence, to hold Nucci’s scoreless in the 1st. PPB bats then went to work, scoring in all but one inning. A Jerry Nuanez 2 RBI single opened the lead to 18-0 into the 8th inning. Steve Sexton, Pat Driscoll and McBarron had perfect 4/4 days with McBarron and Gene LaChimia adding HR’s.
The never say die Nucci’s bats came alive in the 8th with Dave Ash hitting a 3 run homer. The large boisterous Nucci’s fan base was rockin after Ray Sutton followed with a 2 run homer of his own to make it 18-7. But in the end the missing firepower and PPB defense was too much as PPB closed out the 18-7 victory.
Not lost in the game was the return to action of Jay Cardona whose smiling face was sorely missed this year. Also noted was a gritty performance by Mike Endeman, who shed his cast and toughed out the game. Not only did Mike pitch well but somehow hit several hard balls one handed! And luckily he kept his cast handy for Richards who fell hard late in the game and fractured his wrist (and somehow finished the game!)…speedy recovery Keith!! And of course the sad prospect of starting a new season without Dave Ash on the field, at least his last hit was a bomb to the far reaches of the field. Hope to see him back soon.
Thanks go to Greg Lorton and Dave Bentley who called a perfect game as umpires.
PPB advances to the championship game and waits for the Cabaporterlinderviz show to come to town. While Village Pie steam rolled the league enroute to an amazing 31 win season, Pizza Port took more of a circuitous route. They started out 6-0, finished 6-0, and meandered around quite a bit in between.
VPS dominated PPB during the year and will be heavily favored to trounce them again. So since this may be the last opportunity for this writer to write this year, PPB wants to take this moment to give a shout out to Dan Malchow, Ray O’Toole, and Joe Kahn who helped get them to this point before injuries sidelined them.
Standings are posted after all scores have been received (in a timely manner)