CANNON BALLERS - 4
Padres - 3
The Cannon Ballers started the day on the offense-prohibiting field 4, against the Family Prim and their Padres. What ensued was like episode 4 of ‘Squid Game,’ with a back-and-forth tug of war. The Commish and Ace Lee Mc Donald were masterful on the bump, holding two solid lineups to a total of seven runs. The Ballers came out quick with Dylan Buhrow and Cuddles reaching base, and then driven in by Big Lee and Baby J. Brinkman led off the second with a blast to LF for a triple but was stranded due to the resilience of the Padres defense. C Bass led off the third in similar fashion, with a smoke shot triple to the LF fence. Dylan came through with the sac fly, but the offense sputtered after that. The Ballers defense was outstanding, with stellar play in the OF by Buhrow squared (Dylan and Baby Jay), and the infield was a vacuum. The key at bat came in the Baller fourth. Baby Jay and Simo led off with singles, and then Brink stepped up to the plate and hit another blast to LF to plate what ended up being the game winning run. The Ballers led 4-1 heading into the last at bat for the Padres with the top of the lineup due up. Ace Lee was up to the task as was the Baller defense. The Padres cobbled together two runs, but the Ballers shut it down and walked off the field with a tough 4-3 win.
Sean Brinkman – 2 for 3, triple, double, RBI
C Bass – 1 for 2, triple, run scored
Baby Jay – 2 for 3, double, run scored
TACOS - 10
Flying Squirrels - 19
The Cannon Ballers moved over to the wind tunnel that is field 1 to face off against the long ball hitting Flying Squirrels. The Ballers put up two in their first at bat, with Dylan Buhrow leading off with a single, followed by back-to-back doubles by Big Lee McDonald and Ryno (2 RBIs). After a quiet 2nd at bat, the Ballers put up three runs in the third, two in the 4th (punctuated by a magnificent RBI double by Daniel Buhrow), and three in the 5th. Unfortunately, 10 runs were not enough, as the big bats of the Squirrels rode the wind and hit homer after homer after homer. The clock ran out (compliments of the Squirrels captain) as Captain Dyer was about to deliver the inning-ending pitch to get the Ballers one more at bat.
Daniel Buhrow – 2 for 2, double, RBI
Ryno Alford – 2 for 3, HR, double, 6 RBIs, run scored
Lee McDonald – 3 for 3, double RBI, 3 runs scored
Dylan Buhrow – 2 for 3, 2 runs
BALLER WEEK 4 IPOWS
Unofficially – Brinkman, Daniel, and Ryno
Impact Players of the Week
Tie at the first spot between Matty Rakofsky and Tim Kaminski
5-7, 3HRs (where’s all this power suddenly coming from?), 5RBI, 5R, lockdown SS
5-7, 3HR, 2B, 5R, 8RBI, several great scoops at 1B
2. Jacob Forniglia
5-6, 2B, 4R, great corner OF all day
3. Barry Epstein
4-6, 2B, 3B, 3RBI, Great pitching
Impact Rookies of the Week
1. Grayson Vick
2. Lacy Fenn (sub)
2-3, BB, great LF play!
3. Valentin Diaz
2-6, 2 huge RBI
Great week by all! Coming down the home stretch with only 3 weeks left. Dress warm in Sunday, projects to be in the upper 40’s to low 50’s at first pitch of the first set of games. See everyone Sunday.
Coming off a two-loss week, the Dragons were looking to bounce back and put up a couple of wins. First up was Kravitz’s Legends with the wind blowing in on field 4.
The visiting Dragons got off to a fast start batting 9 in the top of the 1st. Despite the strong breeze, Daryl Drake lined a 2-run HR to deep left center, giving the Dragons an early lead. After a Sheldon Fulton double, Zak Edgerton plated Fulton with a 2-out single. Even though the Dragons were up 3-0, they did leave the bases loaded.
The score was 3-1 after two, in what seemed to be a low-scoring game. However, in the top of the 3rd, the Legends got a case of the walks. After two quick outs, 7 of the next 8 patient Dragon batters took walks. The 13-run inning was capped by a bases-clearing double by Fulton.
The Legends went to the bullpen and Tony Martin late in the game. TMart was throwing plenty of strikes and held the Dragons in check. The Legends couldn’t muster up a rally and went down 16-3.
Of note, Legend Tony Martin went 0-3 in this game, hitting the ball three times to three different spots, all to Dragons Swiss Army Knife Ray Darragh. Darragh caught a Martin fly ball in RF, then proceeded to throw him out from both 2B and 3B!
In game 2, the Dragons ventured over to field 1 to face Cova’s Leones. The Leones arrived riding high after a captain Leo Cova walk off HR in extra innings
With the wind blowing straight out, the visiting Dragons struck early. Daryl Drake scored super sub Evan Berowitz with an RBI double. Tim Kaminski launched the first of three bombs, this one a 3-run blast. The Dragons scored 5 in the top of the first, but once again left the bases loaded.
After the Leones scored 3 in the bottom of the 1st, the 2nd was led off with one of 3 Kendal Anthony walks on the day, followed by RBIs from Drake, Kaminski, and Fulton.
Up 9-3 going into the bottom of the 2nd, it felt as though the Leones were about to get it going. After scoring a run and with two runners on base, a fly ball was hit right in that space between 2nd base and RF. With Ray Darragh coming in and Zak Edgerton going out, Zak called for the ball. This is one of those running all out, over the shoulder situations. After a slight bobble, Edgerton secured the ball for a HUGE inning-ending out!
The Dragons would go on to win 14-11, grabbing the much needed sweep. A big shout out to John Unell who had to pitch with both extremes of the wind.
Tim Kaminski - 5/7, 3 HR, 2B, 5R, 8RBI, several great scoops at 1B
Sheldon Fulton - 4/7, HR, 2-2B, 4R, 5RBI, lockdown LCF
Ray Darragh - 4 / 5, raised season BA to over .500, got Legend Tony Martin out at 3 different positions (RF, 2B, 3B)!
BLUE ROCKS 9 ALEXANDER’S TRASH PANDAS 8
In game one, the Blue Rocks got off to a strong start with a leadoff home run from Matt Rakofsky followed by a two-run shot from Ryan Richardson. They were unable to score any additional runs in the second and third innings, until Dennis Brumett led off the fourth with a double and was promptly scored by captain Banta. The Blue Rocks sealed the deal in the bottom of the fifth with a Grayson Vick lead off walk, a Doug Hogan single, and back to back to back to back home runs from Matt Rakofsky, Peter Hogan, and Ryan Richardson. The Blue Rocks prevailed 9-8.
Matt Rakofsky 2-3, 2 HRs, 4 RBI, 2 runs scored
Peter Hogan 2-3, HR, RBI, 2 runs scored
Ryan Richardson 2-3, 2 HRs, 3 RBI, 2 runs scored
Dennis Brumett 2-3, 2B, 1 run scored
Doc Levy 2-2
Grayson Vick 1-1, BB
BLUE ROCKS 10 GARBER’S MONARCHS 1
In game two the Blue Rocks consistently scored runs and played solid defense. They led off the first with a Rakofsky single, a Richardson single, a Brumett RBI single, and a Banta RBI single. In the third, another Rakofsky home run and a sequence of base hits from Richardson, Brumett, Banta, and Mark Phares added another three runs. In the sixth, another sequence of base hits, this time from Banta, Phares, Doc Levy, Vick, and Wayne Casper added another 3 runs. Finally, in the seventh, Rakofsky and Richardson scored on a Brumett single. The game ended 10-1.
Matt Rakofsky 3-4, HR, RBI, 3 runs scored
Dennis Brumett- 3-4, 3 RBI, 1 run scored
Mark Phares- 2-3
Grayson Vick- 2-3
Padres split, week 5
Game 1 vs Cannon Ballers
Knowing today was going to be a hard fought battle with wind blowing straight in from RCF. Every run, every runner mattered. Big time pitchers duel between Scott Lawrence and Lee McDonald. Padres would not score their first run until bottom of the 4th inning. Going into the bottom of the 7th the Padres were down 1-4. They mustered up 2 runs but not enough as the Padres fell 3-4 in a very low scoring affair.
Padres Lose 3-4
Padres of Game 1
Scott Lawrence – 2/3, single and a double, 1 run scored. Excellent pitching, unfortunately not enough offense to help bring home the win.
Mike Bourque – 1/2, single, made a couple of great plays in RF to keep the game close.
Game 2 vs Corny Dogs
Coming off a tough loss to the Cannon Ballers, the Padres had to fight hard to win another tough battle against another strong team. Padres score in 1st and 3rd inning but down 2-4 to the Corny Dogs. Then came the top of the 4th led by a single off the bat of Joey Welter and double by Doug Kramer scoring 1 run. Followed that up with a double by Sub Jesse Aviles and single Omar Gonzalez scoring 2 more runs. Giving the Padres life score 5-5 after 4 innings. Top of the 5th the Padres continued to find green grass and put up another 3 runs with stellar defense. It’s all the Padres needed to hold off the hard fighting Corny Dogs with a big win 8-7.
Padres WIN 8-7
Padres of Game 2
Evan Berkowitz – 1/3, single, RBI and a game saving catch in LF!
Brooke Prim – 2/2, 2 singles, 2 runs scored, stellar defense at 2B.
Doug Kramer – 2/3, single, double, 2 RBI, 1 run scored.
October games are underway, unfortunately not with the pleasant weather we were expecting (late matches were in the low 90’s), but as mentioned in the last article, this is Texas, so let’s get ready for some low 50’s games next week!
A couple of teams that can get ready as well, but to celebrate, are the Padres and Storm Chasers, who if sweeping this coming Sunday plus a combination of results, could secure a playoff berth for this November. The other 14 teams (including the Leones) are in a tight fight for one of those 8 ‘golden tickets’ to represent their respective divisions at the TSSL Fall Classic
Speaking of celebration, and as you might know already, this weekend was far away from that sentiment for a few of the Leones players (Captain included) as unfortunately some of their most loved ones passed away during the week unexpectedly. We all know this is part of life, and during those difficult times only the companionship of family and friends serve as comfort to overcome the situation, and this is why the TSSL is so special in so many ways, as before the game between Leones and Aguilas started, the entire Aguilas team, led by captain Ariel Rodriguez, approached the Leones dugout and gave their condolences to the team along with some well-thought prayers to lift the spirit of affected ones. It goes without saying that this is one of the better examples of the brotherhood of this league and its members. On behalf of the Leones squad, just want to say thank you very much Aguilas!
At the diamond
If by any chance you had the opportunity to watch a Leones game, rest assured that you will have the opportunity to enjoy a close and intense affair. This has been the history of this team during the entire tournament and week 5 wasn’t any different. Allow me to recap what happened on this Leones Sunday split…
At 8 am, and after the aforementioned tribute on the editor remarks section, Leones and Aguilas entered Field 3 to fight over the first edition of the TSSL Caribbean Title (see fun facts for more details) and the match was in line (or even exceeded) the expectations of such affair.
The game started with a quick 2-run attack by the Aguilas, which was countered by the Leones at the bottom of the 1st led by Mabry’s triple and 2-run bomb from Cova to take a 3-2 lead. A lead that will vanish in a heartbeat as the Aguilas capitalized Leones' errors on routine plays to score 7 at the top of the 2nd. Leones fought back at the bottom of that inning with 4 more runs led by consecutive hits from Shwarts.A, Mabry, and Leonard plus a 2-rbi double from Shwarts.M to cut the lead in half.
Fast forward to the 4th, and after holding Aguilas scoreless in 2 consecutive innings (not an easy task when you face Driggers, Henry, and Rodriguez) Leones took the first lead of the game with a 3-run inning led by back-to-back bombs from Leonard and Manz. Once again, that lead will not last long, as Aguilas tied the affairs at 10 at the top of the 5th and Leones weren’t able to reply back at the bottom of that inning, creating another dramatic ending fashion on a Leones game. A scoreless top of the 6th gave the Leones the opportunity to wrap up the match with a walk-off winning but after consecutive walks Leones couldn’t materialize any runs, pushing the need to go into extras.
Extras were in favor of the Aguilas, as their top was due up, but the Leones managed to hold that part of their line-up scoreless thru once again a fantastic defense, heading to the bottom of the 7th and with 2-out on the board and Leonard at 2b, Cova hit his first career TSSL walk-off bomb to win in a dramatic fashion 12-10 against one of the best teams in the league, the Aguilas
With the momentum on their side, Leones traveled to Field 1 to face another tough adversary, the Dragons, with the hopes of capture a sweep but destiny will have another history for the Leones, not without fighting until the last minute.
Dragons fantastic hitting scored a total of 5 runs in the top of the 1st which was countered by 3 runs thanks to Leonard's hit, Cova 2-run blast, and Mort’s rbi-double. But Dragons bats were spitting ‘fuego’ and score 4 more runs at the top of 2nd that was slightly mitigated by the Leones 1-run during the bottom of the same inning thanks to Barth and Ovalle’s singles
Fast forward to the 4th (again – 3rd innings were quiet for the Leones this week), Dragons added 3 more runs, which was countered by the Leones thanks to Mort single, Holtmann double and Barth’s 2-rbi sac fly to push the affairs 12-6 in favor of the Dragons.
After one 1-run in the 5th from the Dragons, Leones pushed back with 2 runs in the 5th thanks to Mabry’s 2-rbi blast, but then again Dragons will strike back with 1 more run in the 6th and the Leones began their late comeback attempt with 3-more runs thanks to consecutive hits from Shwarts.M, Mort, Holtmann, and Barth but ran short losing 14-11 against the powerful Dragons line-up
· Ashley Mort – 5/6, 2R’s, 2B, RBI
· Andy Mabry – 4/7, 4R’s. 2B, 3B, HR (hit for the cycle!), 3RBI’s
· Reese Leonard – 4/7, 4R’s, HR (inside the park!), 3RBI’s
· Leonardo Cova – 3/7, 3R’s, 3HR’s, 6RBI’s
Did you know, that annually in early February an event named “Serie del Caribe” (in English known as Caribbean World Series) is hosted across the Caribbean winter leagues, in which the domestic league champions of Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela compete in a 6-days round-robin series to claim supremacy as the best league of the sub-hemisphere?
The TSSL version of this rivalry started this Fall between the Leones, Tiburones, and Aguilas, having the Leones claiming the first-ever TSSL Caribbean Championship, as they were able to beat both squads during the regular season.
In reality thou, the Dominican Republic is the clear leader of this tournament with 21 titles, closely followed by Puerto Rico with 16 and the Aguilas are the reigning champions and have won it a total of 6 times (Leones had won it on 2 occasions, 1982 and 2006)
Top - Aguilas del Cibao celebrating their 6th title at the 2021 Serie del Caribe hosted at Mazatlan, Mexico
Bottom - Leones del Caracas celebrating their 2nd title at the 2006 Serie del Caribe hosted at Maracay, Venezuela
Wieners of the Week:
Brad Parr: 2-3 2BB
Mitch Klaassen: Now leading the league in IBB
Rodriguez’s Aguilas Vs Cova’s Leones
Location: 8:00 am Spirit Park, Allen TX
You'll read about this in the papers. You'll see what occurred. You won’t see it again this year. There's a first time for everything and today was one of those days. Congratulations to the Leones for a heck of a first game going into extra innings and trading double play after double plays. Tied 10 to 10 going into extra innings of 1 pitch Softball (still my favorite ), In the first of this series the Leones take the W as Capt. Cova hits a Walk OFF HR into the wind in LCF to win it in extra innings. You win some, you lose some. But you live... you live to play another day ;D!
Alexander’s Trash Pandas Vs Rodriguez’s Aguilas
Location: 9:10 am Spirit Park, Allen TX
The Trash Pandas gave us a handful the first 2 innings of the game, and that was enough. If there is one thing I know, the Aguilas will be back next week with WRATH & FURY. I see you pandas. We’ll eat that humble pie... for now.
Eagle “Max Henry” 6-7 3x2B 2xHR’s (Grand Salami) 4 R’s 7 RBI’s
Eagle “Rookie Capt Sh0tz” 5-7 2B with a torn Plantar “Who is this dude?”
Eagle “Jay Swank” 4-5 Going Beast mode on Offense and Def all day!
The Flying Squirrels came into Sunday sporting a 7 game losing streak. The analytics department didn’t have to work long to find the cause which was the Squirrels had only scored more than 10 runs in a game once and that took extra innings to accomplish. Also, the defense has not been stellar enough to support the offense.
Game 1 against the Muck’s Rubber Duckies on field 3 with a fierce wind blowing to right. After the Ducks opened with a 5 spot, the Squirrels responded with 3 runs on 3 hits. Brian Ortega had an RBI single and Birthday Boy Randy Ransom celebrated with a two run single. After that, the Squirrel offense went into hibernation only producing 2 hits over the next 5 innings getting beat 13-4.
With the bats well rested, the Squirrels scored 12 in the first inning against the Cannon Ballers, doubling the output of the two previous games. Big hits were a solo blast from Tim Jamieson, two run blast from the Birthday Boy RR, and a 3 run Brian Ortega homer. Subsequent 3 run homers from Dustin Bone and Ortega allowed the Squirrels to stop the losing streak at 8 and provide optimism for the remainder of the stretch drive with a 19-10 win.
Impact Players of the week were Brian Ortega with 5-7, triple, 2HR’s, 5 runs and 7 RBI’s. Also Brad Cox 4-6, 2 doubles, 3 runs and Dwayne Henson 1-3 with 2 walks.
Impact Players of the Week, week 4
1. Ryan Driggers
7-7, 6HRs, 3B, 7R, 10RBI
27 total bases (3.875 Slg%), 11 Runs Accounted For
2. Michael Barth
5-6, 2B, 3R, 2RBI, 2 great pitching performances, one out away from 2 W’s
3. Brian Alvara
5-5, 2RBI, 3R, flipped the order all day
Impact Rookies of the Week
1. Heath Jones
5-6, 2B, HR, 5RBI, 4R, Outstanding RCF
2. Valentin Diaz
3-6, Great dugout presence
3. Austin Montgomery
2-4, lock down RF making game saving plays all day
Great week by all!
Half way done with the fall and on to division play. Good luck this weekend!