skip navigation

Captain's Corner

Tiburones were cold and the Padres showed no Mercy

By Alfredo Sardi 11/08/2021, 4:45pm CST

On an unusual but nice play ball time for a Shalom playoff (9am), Tiburones showed to the field with the full team trying to get into the next playoff week. Having the OF leader back after his injured was really nice. However, field 2 was working against them and the outfield had a lot of trouble with the sun on their faces. Also, a weird situation happened when an umpire wanted to be the main show of the day with a particular way to handle a situation that 99% of the people on the field agreed that should be handle completely different.

I am not here to say that this was the reason of the 2 loses because the Padres were way better than us on both games. Hats off to the Prim’s and their team.

Game 1 – Tiburones 3 – Padres 16

Tiburones scored 2 on the 1st inning with a single by Andy and a double by captain Sardi, followed by a single of Jon Killburn. Padres answered back with 3 on the bottom of the 1st inning. Tiburones did not score on the 2nd and 3rd but the Padres were “caliente” and scored 8 on the 3rd. Tiburones tried to came back on the game but were short and just scored 1 on the 4th. Padres kept their “caliente” style and scored 5 more. The Tiburones arrived to the top of the 5th with the run rule on their shoulders and they could not score so the 1st game was over.

Game 2 – Padres 27 – Tiburones 5

After about 10 min, the game started on a similar way. The Padres scored 4 on the top of the 1st inning and Tiburones answered back with 2. However, the Padres were “en fuego” and scored 7 on the 2nd, 6 on the 3rd and 10 on the 4th showing not mercy at all. Tiburones were cold and nothing was working for them. They were able to scored 3 on the bottom of the 3rd with a dinger courtesy of Justin Reed. The game ended in 4th inning with another run rule.

We were able to play 2 more games and be at the 1st week of the playoff against the “No Mercy” Padres. They were not our compadres during the regular season and definitely not during the playoff. Kudos to them and win it all guys!

As the season ended for us, I want to say thank you to the 11 players that I drafted as I know they gave every week everything they have on the tank. This was my 2nd time as a captain and I can say that I did my best too. It was great to have the name of the team of my hometown.

Justin Reed – “Justino”: I was not expecting to have him on my 1st round of the draft and I was able to get him. We Have been playing together on a week night for about 3 years and we were together at the Eusay’s Astros. He may be the loudest person on the whole league and play the game with a lot of passion. He has been helping me a lot at the OF for a year and I appreciate all the suggestions during the draft and this season. Thank you my Canadian brother.

Andy Hoelscher – “Andres”: Shalom Rookie but we have been playing on weeks nights for a year. He plays with heart and passion for the game as every Cardinals fan. Really good person, good speed and will always be there to help and support.

Ben Enlow – “Big Ben”: 3rd time playing with him at Shalom (Cubs in 2019 and Astros 2021) and he sub with my team during week nights a couple of times. Great guy to share the field. He can lockdown the 3rd base, hit bombs and will always talk to you in a nice way. He is another player that will give you 100% and can show the passion during the games.

Brad Earls – “Pilot Point”: I played with him  years ago on a Saturday Shalom tourney and I drafted him knowing what I was going to get which is a great player that will show his temper as the game is going. The passion he brings to the game is nice even though he can lose it pretty quick lol. He will dive, hustle and do the best he can to contribute to the team.

Jonathan Killburn – “Jon”: 1st time playing with him and I am so glad I drafted him. He brings all the knowledge and help every time he is on the fields. He will always be there to give you some batting tips, support with stats, write ups and suggestions on how to be a better team and a better player.

Jonathan Braun – “JB”: 2nd time playing with him and the good vibe he brings to the field is really nice. I love having his kids on the field and supporting him every time. He is a great teammate and is able to play OF and 1B.

Liam Killburn – “Lazy”: 1st time playing with him too and it was a nice surprise. Even though he was always the last one arriving to the fields and almost never wears the team shirt, I love the enthusiasm of him in and out of the field. Also, he adapted to his defensive role without any problem. Since the draft, he was excited to be on the team and we were in contact since that day. I called him “Lazy” just for fun and we both laugh about it. Really nice kid that hit his 1st dinger at Shalom this season. Keep getting better every week brother.

Barry Epstein – “Tornado”: 1st time playing with this legend of the league. Great teammate willing to help, bring suggestions and listen to it. He brings his knowledge, a great speed, line drive hitter and the capacity to play multiple position which is always nice to have on a team. He started playing OF and 1B and changed to be a pitcher in the middle of the season.

Ian Contreras –“Tio”: What can I say about my uncle? He will always be there to help and plays with all he can. He is able to play 1B and OF. Really nice person in/out the fields and better friend than softball player lol. He does the job that nobody sees but it is important on a team. He got injured during Spring season due to the passion on a game. Great teammate.

Valentin Diaz – “Tigre”: We play on the same team on a week night. He arrived to the team by a trade after the draft per a personal request and negotiation with the Storm Chasers captain. Thanks JP for accepting this trade. Valentin will bring joy and willingness to always improve his skills. He is a great person to have at the dugout as he is always willing to help and never gets mad.

Chris Peterson – “Krispy”: 2nd time playing together and both times have been during Fall seasons. Great teammate that will always be there enjoying the game. Awesome person that listen advices and suggestions and work on it to be a better player. As I mentioned to you probably the last 3-4 weeks keep doing whatever you are doing my friend as you ended the season “en fuego”.

Thank you guys for a nice season! Hope to share the field with all of you again!

 

 

Cornered Trash Pandas Fight Way into Playoffs

By Kelly Alexander 11/04/2021, 4:00pm CDT

Coming into the last week of regular season play on the outside looking in, the Trash Pandas were trying to overcome all the oh-so-close one run division losses (3) and get into the tournament.  A play here or there and we could be unbeaten in the Lynn division--big ifs and big buts.  Facing the underrated Monarchs led by Spring champion captain Abbey Garber (playing without subs for the first time all season!) and ace hurler John Burke, all the pressure was on us.

Game 1:

The visiting TPs got off to a fast start, something that has worked well for us all season.  Consecutive singles by the speedy Jacob and Josh Forniglia followed by a big Chenz triple scored 2. Greeley SACed in Vinnie, then consecutive singles by captain Alexander and Glossy set the table for a 4 run inning when Kennin Doyle let his hair down and singled in another run.  The defense made quick work of the Monarchs top and we had a 4-0 lead after one inning played.

The good guys picked up another run in the second when rookie sensation Vinnie Terhune singled in speedy Jacob Forniglia. Again the defense held in the bottom half and the score was 5-0 Pandas.

The third inning was big for both teams.  The confident Trash Pandas broke out for 7 runs, batting all the way around the lineup.  The inning started with an Alexander double, Glossy single, 2 RBI Dan "MVD" Mele double, and another Doyle single.  Travis "Zoolander" Olander picked up a RBI on a fielder's choice, then it was the Forniglia show again... wily "Uncle" Ronn singled, Jacob singled, and Joshua blasted a 3 RBI double.  Chenz moved a step closer to hitting for the cycle when he smoked a RBI double .  After 3 outs when the dust cleared, we led 12-0!

Then the Monarchs hit some HRs, details are sketchy as I repressed those memories.  12-6 after 3 innings played.

The TPs added 2 more runs in the fourth when Kennin Doyle scored Glossy and Zoolander scored Doyle, an efficient 2 runs on 3 hits and good base running.  A solid defensive effort followed and it was 14-6 after four innings played.

The fifth inning was quiet, but we added 3 more runs to seal the deal in the sixth, highlighted by the rousing spectacle of rookie Chuck Taylor chugging around the bases on a bad leg after his outfielder burning RBI triple, not his last of the day. 

Final score 17-9 Trash Pandas.

 

Panda Prodigies

Jacob Forniglia  4-4 with 3 runs

Joshua Forniglia  4-4, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 runs

Kennin Doyle  4-4, 3 RBI, 2 runs

Chenz  3-4, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI

Alexander  3-4, 2 doubles, 3 runs

Mike Glosier  3-4, 2 runs

 

Peering from our field to the next one over, I could see we needed to win again to control our own destiny and punch our playoff ticket.  This time we were home team, and the Monarchs were trying to spoil it for us.

After giving up 3 in the top of the first, the Trash Pandas responded with 4 of our own.  Hot hitting continued as Josh F, Chenz, Greeley, Alexander and Glossy all reached based consecutively. 4-3 us after one.

In the top of the second Garber's no-quit squad got 3 more runs, taking the lead again.  We could only respond with 1 of our own after another Chuck "where you been all season" Taylor triple and Uncle Ronn SAC.  6-5 Monarchs after two.

The defense held strong in the third inning and the bats came to life.  Chenz started it off with another double, Greeley followed with a RBI single, el capitan moved him up with a single, Glossy got another RBI single, and Zoolander got the final RBI of the inning with a crafty single.  8-6 Trash Pandas after three.

After giving up only one in the top half of the fourth, the TPs resembled butter (on a roll) and the bats remained warm.  We picked up 3 more hard-fought runs on a double by Jacob F and consecutive singles by Chenz, Greeley, Alexander and Glosier11-7 us after four.

Things got a little dicey in the top of the fifth when the fiesty Monarchs tied it up with 4 runs of their own.  Rumor has it John Burke hit a fence bomb in his last at bat of the season--I can confirm the veracity of that claim.  Needing only one run to win and ice the much needed sweep, big-baller Vinnie "Chenz" Terhune stepped up to the plate and took matters into his own hands, launching one where nobody could catch it--walk-off, playoff clinching bomb.  The crowd goes wild!

Kudos to Abbey and the Monarchs for a hard-fought series, they really played great. Lance Lassen is for real, the legendary Wu is back, and Burke hits bombs.

Panda IPOW candidates

Chenz  7-8, 3 doubles, triple, 5 runs, 6 RBI, walk-off HR winner! Super hustle and face paint on point. Season BA leader.

Mike Glosier  6-7, 2 runs, 3 RBI and great SS play coming back from a bum ankle (*he's not a SS).

Jacob Forniglia  6-8, double, 4 runs, speedy lead-off and a tough out on this day.

Your Temple Shalom Trash Pandas look forward to putting our best effort together for a tough playoff matchup this weekend.  Let's all have some fun!

Corny Dogs Split, Tossed from Playoff Chase

By Nick Barr 11/04/2021, 12:45pm CDT

On a chilly damp Sunday morning the Corny Dogs arrived with one thing on their collective mind. Playoffs. It would take help from other teams and likely a sweep from the good guys to get in. Unfortunately neither the sweep nor the help came to fruition and the Dogs season faded away along with the morning dew. Nonetheless a fun season for the Corny Dogs and their rookie captains. I certainly learned a lot and hope to have the opportunity again in the future.

Game 1: Corny Dogs at Flying Squirrels

The Softball Team on a Stick™ middle of the lineup got things started early. Taylor Abrego doubled, Miguel Duron used his elite speed to leg out an infield single, setting the table for the Barr/Parr combo to each drive in runs with singles of their own. Mitch Klaassen, taking a break from hitting doubles, also singled in a run to give the Dogs an early three run lead. The Squirrels answered with a five spot in the bottom half and it quickly became apparent these two teams clinging to hope were going to leave it all on the field.

Jim Finley got his day going with a sharp single, lefty Tommy Appligian and Ozzie Zurita each chipped in with hits and flipped the lineup. Tony Macaluso made it four straight hits with his RBI single. Duron had the big blast, a three run jimmy jack to give the Dogs back the lead. The pesky Squirrels would again answer to tie the game in the following inning and tacked on a couple insurance runs over the next two innings as the Corny Dog sticks went quiet. 

Trailing 9-7 heading into the fifth inning, Macaluso doubled and scored on an Abrego single. To cut the lead to one. This time the Squirrels were not able to answer. With the season on the line the Dogs bottom of the lineup came up huge in the final innings. Klaassen reached with an infield single on a very close play at first, Cesar Garza singled, Matt Roth blasted a double over the drawn in outfield, and Jim Finley smashed a triple to give the Dogs the lead for good. Brad Parr shut down the rodents in the bottom half to secure the win.


Before Game 2 it was picture time. Pretty good looking group.



Game 2: Flying Squirrels at Corny Dogs

With the Ducks dropping their opener, the Dogs would need a win and Tiburones loss to make it to the tournament. Unfortunately the offense sputtered out of the gate and new Squirrel pitcher Dustin Bone was wild and effective only surrendering back to back HRs from Abrego and Duron. Down 8-3 headed into the sixth the Corny Dogs knew it was now or never and strung together a gutsy five run inning against the patchwork defense. Macaluso led off the inning by drawing a walk, Abrego hit his second triple of the game to bring him in. Duron once again displaying his speed hit an inside the parker. Barr doubled to right and scored on a single by sub Brad Cox to bring the Corny Dogs within a run. About this time word of the Tiburones victory and subsequent Corny Dog elimination knocked the wind from the Dogs sails, and Operation Ketchup was halted. Dogs finished their season with a 10-8 loss.

Game 1

CANNON BALLERS - 16

Rubber Ducks - 1

The Cannon Ballers woke up early on the final Sunday of the regular season ready to do some duck hunting. Muck and crew were looking to paddle their way into the playoffs but showed up with their feathers slightly ruffled due to some stressful personnel issues. The Ballers came out shooting, with Dylan Ryno Hugs Hurt Me Buhrow leading off the bottom of the first with a double, followed by a walk for Big Lee McDonald. The sweet swinging Baby J (Buhrow highlight #1 on the day) then hammered a three-run homer over the duck pond to get the Baller offense flying. The third inning was almost a carbon copy as the first for the Baller bats. Back-to-back doubles by Dylan and Cuddles got it going, followed by another walk by Lee Keen Eye McDonald, set the table for the Bacon Man. Ryno came through with a big three run homer and the Ballers were filling their bags. The fourth inning provided the second Buhrow highlight of the day. The middle/bottom of the lineup started the at bat en fuego. Brink and Gumaro led off the at bat with singles, with Daniel Buhrow coming through with an RBI sac fly. Conn (RBI) and C Bass then both singled to load the bases. Up stepped young Dylan Buhrow, and he proceeded to hit a wicked slicing liner to RF that made its way to the fence. Dylan turned on the after burners and crossed the plate for an inside the park GRAND SLAM that would have made Willie, Jase, and Si proud. Ace Lee McDonald was masterful on the mound, holding a good hitting Ducks squad to one run!

Dylan Buhrow – 3 for 3, HR, two doubles, 4 RBIs, 3 runs scored

Baby J Buhrow – 3 for 3, HR, 3 RBIs, two runs scored

Brian Conn – 2 for 2, RBI, run scored

Ryno Alford – 2 for 3, HR (2), 4 RBIs, two runs scored

Game 2

Cannon Ballers - 21

Rubber Ducks- 10

The Cannon Ballers came out quick in the first with Big Lee McDonald (sac fly) and Ryno (2B) driving in the first two runs of the game. The Ballers only scored once in their second at bat, but it is worth noting how they did so. With two outs and the bases empty, Gumaro On Time Castillo produced a sweet line drive single. Then, Daniel Gran Palo Buhrow stepped into the duck blind and it was time for a show. He proceeded to hit an absolute shotgun blast to the fence in RCF for an RBI double (third Buhrow highlight of the day)! The Baller offense started firing on all gauges in their third at bat. Consecutive singles by C Bass, Dylan, and Cuddles, a walk by Big Lee, an RBI single by Ryno, an RBI walk by Baby J Buhrow, and a huge three RBI double by Jon Simo Simonson capped a seven-run effort. With the gamey Ducks trying to waddle back into the game, the Ballers put up another seven runs in the fourth to put the game on ice. After a quiet fifth, the Ballers offense decided to head into the playoffs with some offensive momentum. Cuddles and Big Lee led off the inning with back-to-back singles, and then the Pied Pig Piper drove them in with his third homer of the day. Baby J started it right back up with a single, and later in the inning and right on time, Gumaro Castillo blasted a double to the fence to cap the scoring for the Ballers. As usual, Ace Lee McDonald was steady on the bump and kept a motivated Ducks offense in check for the entire game.

Gumaro Castillo – 2 for 4, double, 2 RBIs, run scored

Jon Simo Simonson – 2 for 4, double, 5 RBIs, run scored

Daniel Buhrow – 1 for 4, double, RBI

Ryno Alford – 3 for 3, HR, double, 5 RBIs, 3 runs scored

BALLER WEEK 6 IPOWS

Dylan Buhrow – 6 for 7, HR (grand slam), 3 doubles, 2 singles, 4 RBIs, 6 runs scored from the lead of spot

Baby J Buhrow – 4 for 5, HR, 3 singles, BB (2), 5 RBIs, 5 runs scored

Gumaro Castillo – 3 for 7, double, 2 singles, 2 RBIs, 2 runs scored

Launching the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers – SportsLogos.Net News

Sharknado attacked twice and Tiburones clinched into playoff

By Alfredo Sardi& Jon Killburn 11/02/2021, 5:00pm CDT

Tiburones arrived to the field 3 on a chilly early morning with multiple combinations on the table to make the playoff. Yet they have one thing in mind and it was win 2 and are in the Playoffs!

The scenario was not going to be easy because they were missing their outfield leader Justin Reed due to an injure. Captain Sardi spent some hours of his Saturday trying to locate a sub until he was able to get the super sub Cody Strull who as soon as arrived to the field asked Captain Sardi for the correct pronunciation of the team name and the meaning of it.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

It was a brisk morning as we walked up to field 3 in a do or die situation!  The Tiburones were staring down the barrel of the no playoffs gun.  Would they be able to not only win one, but two against the division leading Storm Chasers?  A huge underdog moment, to say the least...  In a classic double header, game 1 would see the Tiburones start off with a bang.  A walk for Andy, followed by a fly ball to advance him from Sardi, would bring up our super sub Cody Strull (playing in relief of the injured Justin Reed), who would single.  Kilburn would walk, setting up Brad Earls who would drive in one with his double.  Setting up Enlow to clear the bases with a timely Home Run.  The inning would end with the Tiburones up by 5.  The second inning would see the Sharks not plate a single run but still up 5-0 heading into the top of 3.  The third inning would see the furry of the Sharknado, as the Tiburones would plate 10!  The Bottom would again flip the order with the bottom 3 hitters going 6-6 through 3 innings! The fourth would see the Storm Chasers wake up and score 6 to get back in the game.  Top of the 5th would see the Tiburones bottom AGAIN flip the order on 3 straight hits... a couple of SAC flies would see two more runs before the inning ended.  The Tiburones would plate one final run in the 6th, but would fight off a late rally by the Storm chasers.  Final score Tiberones 18, Storm Chasers 9.

Power Bottom:

Valentin Diaz 3-3, 2 RS, 1 Triple

Ian Contreras 3-3, 2 RS

Chris Peterson 2-2, 2 RS, 1 BB, 2 Singles

 

Bottom 3 hitters, 8-8 for 1000!

Remember I mentioned the multiple scenarios to clinched the playoff? Well, Tiburones were going to play their 2nd game with the necessity of winning so they will not need to be checking the scores on the other fields but the Storm Chasers were looking to take revenge.

The second game would start out with the Storm Chasers picking up where they left off and smashing the ball.  They would plate 5 before the inning half would come to an end.  The Tiburones would answer back with 4 of our own on a double by Andy, and a flurry of single by both Kilburns, Earls and Enlow, to plate 4.  the top of the second would see another 3 runs from the Storm Chasers.  The bottom of the second would see the "power bottom" for the Tiburones kick into gear again, with singles from Braun, Valentin and Contreras, and the inning would end with the Tiburones still down one.  The bottom of the 3rd would start off with a top of the net Home run from Kilburm and singles from Brad and Liam, but only 2 would cross... the chase continued as the Storm Chasers lead 10-9 going into the 4th. Valentin would lead off the bottom of the 4th with a single but get knocked off the bases on a Fielders Choice from Ian.  Chris "Crispy" Peterson would drive the ball to shallow Center Field moving the runners.  Andy would get a hit and score on a single from Cody Strull.  The inning would end and the teams would be knotted up 12 all. The Storm Chasers would tack on 3 to make it 15-12 going into the final inning.  With time gone the Tiburones faced a 3 run deficit with the bottom of the order due up again.   Not to be denied our sweep after a quick out from Barry, four singles in a row would load the bases  At this moment, "La Samba" and the fans were yelling the famous  chant "Si Podemos, Si podemos" (we can do it, we can do it).  Down 2 with the winning run on first a right field line shot from Andy would score all 3 needed runs.  Kudos to Chris Peterson to score from first, and narrowly beating the throw from the outfield. The whole team jumped into the field and celebrate that awesome walk off as they knew they were getting into the playoff!

Final score Tiburones 16, Storm Chasers 15.

Tiburones did what they need to do or what we called in Venezuela "La hombrada" and they clinched the playoff without needing to wait for other field results.

Power Bottom was great in both games and carried the team on these 2 great W!

Jonathan Braun 2-3, 2 RS, Double

Valentin Diaz 2-2, 2 RS, Walk

Ian Contreras 2-2, 3 RS, Walk

Chris Peterson 2-3, 2 RS

Bottom 4 hitters a combined 7-9! A whopping .778 in Game 2!

Great defense all day with some gems at the outfield by Braun "JB", Ian aka "Tio", Andy "I will clear the bases", Cody "super sub" Strull and captain Sardi. Also, Valentin "Tigre" did an awesome foul ball catch and Earls did a great job at the SS too.

One of the best moment of this games was after "JB" did a great catch at the RF fence and his 2 kids run to him after the inning was done to cheers with him. I love to see the joy of this kids and his dad every Sunday.

Tiburones will face the Padres on the 1st playoff round next week and hope to get Justin Reed back.

Fun Facts

Tiburones mascot name is "Tibu" and he is always chering the team on every home game witht he famous entertainment music group called "La Samba"

Estadio de los Tiburones de La Guaira no será del equipo, será del pueblo

 

 

BLUE ROCKS SWEEP - SECURE 2ND SEED IN LYNN DIVISION

By Kyle Casper 11/02/2021, 11:00am CDT

Blue Rocks Sweep Double Header!

The Blue Rocks opened game one with some solid defense and a solid 4 run bottom of the first, featuring a solo shot from Ryan Richardson, a Peter Hogan triple, and a Mark Phares 2 RBI triple. The Rocks collected another run in the third off another solo shot from Richardson, and another two runs in the fourth featuring base hits from Doc Levy and Seth Pepkin who would utilize clever baserunning to sneak in and score. The Blue Rocks grabbed their final two runs courtesy of base hits from Matt Rakofsky, captain Banta, and Dennis Brummet. The game finished 9-6. 

Ryan Richardson- 2-3, 2 HRs, 3 runs scored, 2 RBI

John Banta- 1-2, BB, RBI, 1 run scored

Dennis Brummet- 2-3, 2B, 1 run scored

Doc Levy- 1-1, BB, 1 run scored

In the second game of the double header, the Blue Rocks woke up their bats and tightened up their defense. The game ended 19-3 and featured a 10 run second inning for the Blue Rocks. Ryan Richardson hit his third and fourth home runs of the day, including a grand slam. Ryan Richardson, Peter HoganKyle Casper, and Dennis Brummet went 16 for 16 in the heart of the order, powering the offense to its 19 run total.

Ryan Richardson- 4-4, 2B, 2 HRs (grand slam), 5 RBI, 4 runs scored

Peter Hogan- 4-4, 2B, 3B, RBI, 4 runs scored

Kyle Casper- 4-4, 2 2Bs, 3RBI, 3 runs scored

Dennis Brummet- 4-4, 2 2Bs, 3B, 2 RBI, 2 runs scored

Seth Pepkin- 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI

Grayson Vick- 0-1, 2 BBs, run scored

The sweep propels the Blue Rocks healthily into the playoffs.

La Cueva del Leon - Week 8 Recap

By Leo Cova 11/01/2021, 10:15pm CDT

Editor Remarks

October is over and with that TSSL 2021 regular seasons, leaving players and subs ‘worried’ alike about when the sign-up process will start to secure a spot into the high-demand upcoming Spring 2022 season

About being ‘worried’, but in a good way, is the precise feeling for the remaining 96 players part of the teams that punched their ticket into the 2021 Fall postseason, as their championship journey has just begun. Congratulations, in alphabetical order to avoid any preferences, to the Blue Rocks, Cannon Ballers, Dragons, Padres, Tiburones, Tin Caps, Trash Pandas, and Storm Chasers. Best of luck fellow captains in these 3 weeks ahead!

Speaking of fellow players, throughout the previous editions of “La Cueva del Leon” (Lions Cave) articles I'd shared some of the best moments I’d had the opportunity to experience during this season with  multiple teams in the league, but for this the last article from ‘El Capitan’ in the foreseeable future I’ll like to recognize my fellow Leones teammates and the terrific session they put together thru the Fall, so please bear with me as I describe these great guys and gals with whom I’d the pleasure to share the field during this season

Andy Mabry – Generally we use the word ‘5 tools’ to describe the versatility and quality of a player in the field. If we ever needed to use an equivalent term to describe a best-in-class teammate, there is no doubt that the phrase will be ‘he is a Mabry’. Not only Andy is one of the best lead-off hitters in the league, a smart base runner, and a great defensive outfielder, but on top of that, he brings a unique energy and passion in every single game that energizes any squad! Watching him almost bursting into tears after we lost the first game (which automatically eliminated the Leones) speaks by itself the quality of individual you’ll have in your team

Reese Leonard – When you talk about a TSSL round # 1 picks, people have a natural tendency to turn their eyes into the player key power stats (HR, RBI’s, OPS, SLG, etc.) yet in my opinion, the real unhidden value of a first-round player is his leadership ability, as more often than usual captains will rely on this person to push the squad to the next level. Never had the pleasure to play with Reese before, but must say that after 16 great games there is no doubt that he is a true first-rounder, and no wonder why he was a 2011 NSA World Series All-Tournament player. Thanks for all you did for the Leones Reese!

Spencer Manz – Big Ryan Alford always says “once a Piggie always a Piggie” and boy is he right about that. The intangible things that bring playing with the Iron Pigs make elevate a player’s game to the next level in terms of intensity, smartness, and resilience, and Spence carries that out in his DNA. Not only he is one of the best defensive TSSL LCF’s and a real big threat at the plate capable to hit extra bases throughout the field, but he truly acknowledges the principle ‘you are as good as your next opportunity’ focusing to be the best he can be every time he has a chance. Had the pleasure to hit after him the entire season and will never forget our phrase ‘see ball hit ball’ taken from big Alford!

Matt Shwarts – If ever in need to let go of a bad game situation (error, poor at-bat, etc.) think no more and reach big Matty, one of the most relaxed yet game focused players you’ll ever play with, who always seeks to lift the spirit of the one feeling down after a negative game outcome. Have had the opportunity to play with Matt in many weekday leagues (and even in TSSL with the 2018 Eusay Orioles) and can only say that from the non-first rounder players out there, there is no better guy in this league with the ‘hidden’ leadership factor mentioned before than Matt!

Ashley Mort – One of the most common things you hear during the pre-draft conversations is the word ‘underrated’ to assess the value of players on lower rounds. A guy that genuinely defines that without any doubts is Ashley. And not just because the fact of finding a powerful and solid defensive outfielder in the 6th round is very low, but when you add constant clutch hitting, adaptability to play LF/RF interchangeably, and a positive dugout attitude then you realize how good of a steal you got at that round at and why Ashley is one of the best-hidden gems in this league!

Donnie Holtmann – Silent killer is generally a term used in a negative context, but when talking about softball this guy represents exactly the opposite. Donnie, also known as “Donnie Baseball”, is precisely the type of guy that will do all his talk with his skills: from powerful and clutch hitting to smooth fielding at the hot corner, Donnie always leaves his footprint in a game making a positive difference in the game result. There is a natural tendency in TSSL to say championships are won in the later rounds, well let me tell you something, Donnie is exactly the definition of that, as you won’t get much more value in those rounds than the one, he will bring to you!

Michael Barth – Fifty-one over forty-six is the ratio of Hall of Famers over the years in this league, meaning getting exalted to the TSSL immortal temple is not an easy task. And when you have the pleasure to play with one of those 51 guys, you realize no wonder why that number is so low, as combining integrity, brotherhood, sportsmanship, athletic ability, and leadership in a single person is really difficult. As one of those 51 guys, Mike simply has it all (and then some more!). Can spend hours writing about how an incredible person Michael is, but instead just want to say thank you for being such a great teammate and person with me and my family, and can only wish to play with you once again in the near future!

Omar Ovalle – A good number of words can be used to describe Omar’s performance in the field, but personally during this, my first season with him as a teammate, the two that stand the most were commitment and passion. If you saw a Leones game, then automatically you witnessed his passion in every at-bat, every play, and every time the team attempted a comeback (which were many by the way), to the extent that the league now recognizes his voice as a truly inspiring one. He is exactly the type of new talent we seek in TSSL from the rookie’s farm

Steve Johnson – Fast forward to 2045, and God permitting, I’m still playing TSSL ball, then can only wish I play half as good as Steve does! Don’t where to begin honestly, highlight his defensive qualities turning out double plays smoothly like 20 years old? Or should I mention how smart a hitter he is making sure to get on base in any way possible? Perhaps better to say the great teammate he is by proactively keeping the book (with not a single error!) making sure his captain focuses on the game? But none of those will be most remarkable than to recognize the gentleman he is. A true class act of a player!

Dorian Moore – In 2020 I learned from big Ryno the 2 things that all players control in the game: “Attitude and Effort” and let me tell you as a captain that is exactly what you expect the most from the players you draft for your team. If someone defined that for the Leones during this 2021 Fall season it was Dorian. Never had the pleasure to play with him before and I was greatly surprised by the effort he puts in every single time he was playing giving his best whether it was an at-bat, fielding, or even running (we witnessed that yesterday indeed after his injury!). Dorian definitely controlled that from day one of the season!

Alicia Shwarts – Perceived value is a somewhat subjective approach, but strongly believe a few can argue there is a player that brings more value-added to a team in this league than Alicia! Dugout attitude, playing effort, collaboration, league branding, community support, and one-of-a-kind teammate are just a few of the things that Alicia brings to any team she joins in this league. As well as with Matt I’d have the pleasure to play with Alicia during weekdays before and can only say if you haven’t played with her, you don’t what you are missing!

From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Andy, Reese, Spencer, Matt, Ashley, Donnie, Michael, Omar, Steve, Dorian, and Alicia for giving everything you had in every single game representing my childhood team the Leones!

At the diamond

If you have read previous ‘Cueva del Leon’ articles you’ll notice that epic battles have their fair share on the write-ups when describing the Leones games, but dear reader today this sentence was lifted to the next level during the 1st affair of the Leones – Tin Caps doubleheader. Please allow me to reconstruct what happened in the season-ending games for the feline squad

Field 4 around 1030am witnessed the best overall game of the season for the Leones when they hosted the Tin Caps in an elimination game for the home team. It all started with a scoreless 1st inning on both sides, giving the Tin Caps the opportunity to strike first with 2-runs in the 2nd inning which were counter from the Leones thanks to Cova’s leadoff double, Shwarts.M single and Mort’s sac fly to put the game 2-1 after 2.

The 3rd inning saw Tin Caps largest attack to the feline squad by scoring 3 runs which the Leones couldn’t answer back in the bottom part of the frame. But after holding scoreless the Tin Caps in the 4th, Leones started their comeback by scoring 3 runs in the bottom part thanks to rbi-singles from Barth and Johnson who brought home Shwarts.M and Mort to then capped to Moore sac fly to shorten the Caps lead to 6-4.

A 1-run 5th inning for the Tin Caps gave the Leones the opportunity to grab their first lead of the game by scoring 4 runs thanks to 4 rbi singles from Cova (1), Shwarts.M (2), Barth (1), and Ovalle (1) driving home Mabry and Leonard.

Tin Caps facing their last regular game at-bat of the game were able to tie the affairs to 8 in the 6th, and Leones were unable to answer back pushing to the 3rd extras of the season for the feline squad, the only thing this will last a little more than the other 2

Caps took the lead in the first extra frame by scoring 1-run, putting the pressure on the Leones to score if they wanted to stay alive, and so they did thanks to Cova’s lead-off triple brought home Mort’s sac fly tying the affairs at 9 apiece after 7th.

A scoreless second extra frame (8th), gave the Tin Caps the opportunity to grab once again the lead in the 9th by scoring 2-runs after 2 outs, putting once again all the pressure to the Leones to comeback in the bottom frame who couldn’t materialize any runs although they had the tying run on-base, which it ultimately eliminated the Leones from this Fall 2021 edition

After taking a well-deserved break from such an exhausting affair, Tin Caps and Leones faced each other again, having two completely opposite realities, one squad extremely happy as they just clinched a postseason ticket and another team demoralized after losing an extremely competitive game. And that was showing no doubt about it throughout the 2nd game, as both teams scored a total of 5 runs, yes you read that right, five runs!

On the Leones side, the only run was scored during the first frame thanks to Leonard double and Cova’s rbi-single. After that, Leones will not score a single run in the remaining 6th innings that were played, whereas the Tin Caps materialized 1 run in the 2nd inning, 2 runs in the 3rd, and 1 more run in the 6th, to wrap up the regular season of both squads. Congrats to the Tin Caps for a well-played double header!

Outstanding Leones

  • Andy Mabry – 4/7, R, 2B, BB and pushing the bases all day long!
  • Matt Shwarts – 4/7, 2R’s, BB, 2RBI’s and supporting teammates all day!
  • Leonardo Cova – 5/7, 3R’s, 2B, 3B, BB, RBI

 

Fun Fact

Did you know that the Leones del Caracas have 12 retired numbers including big leaguers Luis Aparicio (11), Chico Carrasquel (17), Tony Armas (20), Omar Vizquel (23), Andres Galarraga (41), Henry Blanco (24), Bo Diaz (25) and Vic Davalillo (2)?

TSSL Leones are flexible with that and allowed Steve Johnson (2) and Leo Cova (41) to wear those retired numbers!

Game 1

SC – 9

Tibs - 18

Even though the Storm Chasers usually like an early start, this was not that day. 6 of the first 7 batters for the Chasers in game 1 went down quickly putting up 0 in the first 2 innings for the first time all season. The Chasers having been so good about putting at least 3 up early found themselves in a deep whole they could never dig out of. Thanks to Super Sub Evan B, Brum and Austin for scoring 6 of the teams 9 runs between them to at least avoid a run rule and fight to the end.

Offensive highlights for the game (though all hit great in this game!):

Matt Brumley 2-3 with 1 Double, 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 RS to account for nearly half the teams runs

Sub Evan B 2-3 with 2 singles, 2 RBI and 2 RS

Austin Montgomery – 2-2 with 2 singles and 2 RS

 

Game 2

SC – 15

Tibs– 16

The Storm Chasers would not be embarrassed twice in one day and came out swinging in the first 2 innings putting up 8 runs this time instead of the goose egg the game before. This did wind up accounting for more than half the runs they would score in the game where we cam up just short by 1 when we could only muster 1 tun over 6 batters in the last inning. This was a much better hitting display by the Storm Chasers across the board, but the defense felt the pressure of shifting around to account for the loss of their 2 and their 4 and simply got beaten twice by the mighty Tiburones who obviously turned the party on to slip into that final playoff spot. Caps off to captain Sardi and his team for pulling off a scenario many would have thought unlikely to make it into the playoffs, well done!

Offensive highlights for the game:

Brumley 4-4 with 1 double, 1 triple, 2 RBI and 3 RS

Zimmerman – 2-3 with 1 single, 1 double, 1 RBI and 2 RS

Ron Roberts – 2-3 with 2 singles and 1 RS

Impact Players of the Week:

Matt Brumley – 6-7 with 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 6RBI and 5 RS

Super Sub Evan Berkowitz – 4-6 with a triple, 3 RBI and 3 RS

Austin Montgomery – 4-5 with a double and 3 RS

Dragons Sweep Division, Claim #1 Seed

By Keith Dlott 11/01/2021, 5:00pm CDT

On a perfect Sunday morning, with division namesake David Lynn on hand, the Dragons were one win away from claiming the division title.  Having not lost since division play started, a twin bill against the mighty Aguilas was on tap to try and secure the division and the overall #1 seed.

The Dragons fought their way to a 10-7 win in game one, behind Daryl Drake’s 3-3, 2 HR, 6 RBI performance.  Game two also went the Dragons way, 15-8.  Homers by Ari Loiben, Drake, and sub Jason “Chappy” Chapman led the way along with the last three hitters going a combined 7-9.

Impact Players of the Season:

Daryl Drake:  The Dragons infield captain completed a statistically insane season with 3 more HRs and 11 RBI on Sunday.  His season line:  .800 BA, 1.980 SLG, 2.776 OPS, 16 HR, 9 2B, and 56 RBI.  While those stats are a significant part of the Dragons success, Daryl is the consummate team player.  Daryl backed up the offensive onslaught with killer play at SS.

Gary Frank:  While Gary didn’t maintain the .900 BA he had after three weeks, he did finish close to .600.  All singles, but one of the most meaningful hits of the year was a 2-run triple into the wind that capped a big comeback.  Gary’s steady dugout presence and ability to help keep Daryl Drake’s ego in check are key.

Sheldon Fulton:  Sheldon is the silent killer.  Great guy, doesn’t say much, but comes to play.  Spectacular in RCF, but can play anywhere.  Strong stick and now holding down the leadoff spot.  Patience at the plate and will get on base any way possible.  Batted >.550 with a 1.4 OPS.

Zak Edgerton:  Is he a bowler or a softball player?  He’s both!  Zak is an outstanding defensive player and has played a mix of 2nd and 3rd.  A streaky hitter at the beginning of the season has progressed into a wonderfully consistent threat.  Batted nearly .550 and led the team in fashion, always sporting a Dragons bucket hat.

Ari Loiben:  Stellar play all season long in LCF.  Not sure anyone enjoys being at the fields more than Ari.  Of his 22 hits, he had 9 2B, 4 3B, and 3 HRs.  As the Dragons outfield captain, he communicates with Fulton and Adwild Perez to ensure everyone is in the right place.  Infectious leadership.

Kevin Knox:  Mr. November gave the Dragons a great fall season!  Batted over .500 and put 3 balls out.  Knoxie has alternated between 2nd and 3rd and plays great defense no matter where he’s at.  Great dugout presence and knows this league’s hitters.  

Tim Kaminski:  Great protection for Drake.  Tim had 7 HR and 26 RBI in the regular season and is due to breakout in the playoffs.  If there’s a Gold Glove to be had at first base, it’s Tim.  With a large frame and long reach, just get the ball near him and he’ll take care of the rest.  Tim epitomizes brotherhood and what it’s like to be a great teammate.

Ray Darragh:  Dragons captain Keith Dlott dubbed Darragh the “Swiss Army Knife” early in the season.  Willing and capable to play any position and always gives 100%.  Ray truly only cares about winning.  Ray tied for the team lead in walks, which demonstrates his patience at the plate.  With his get on base any way possible mindset, Ray rose several spots in the batting order.

Adwild Perez:  Here’s a challenge.  Try to find Adwild not smiling...it’s hard to do.  Perez held down left field all year with one exception.  With Fulton out early in the season, Adwild was asked to give RCF a go.  He absolutely locked it down.  Timely hitting and good base running along with steady defense is what you get here.  

John Unell:  Not sure there is a more consistent pitcher in the league.  When John needs to throw a strike, he throws one.  With John’s knowledge of nearly every player in the league, he’s quick to move the defense around.  All season John has provided excellent mentoring of the first-time Dragons captain.  It’s an honor for all Dragons to play with John.  As for his offense

Kendal Anthony:  If your book on Kendal is that he’s shaky in right field, your book is wrong.  Kendal played nearly every inning of every game in right field and made catch after catch after catch.  One mistake all year, but the rest has been solid as a rock.  Anthony’s hitting has been erratic, but he’s going to build off his 3 for 3 performance in the last game of the season.  Kendal is another “just tell me what I can do to help the team” player.

Jerry Rogers:  What a treat Jerry is to have on the team.  His calming demeanor and timely hitting make him a great pick.  Jerry has shown tremendous patience, walking 5 times this season.  It also seems as though every hit is a very timely hit, starting off a rally.  Defensively, Jerry is always where he needs to be around home plate and never throws the ball around.  

Subs:  Thanks to all the subs who came out and contributed to a strong regular season!

Squirrel Playoff Hopes Fall Short

By John Miller 10/31/2021, 2:15pm CDT

The Flying Squirrels entered the final weekend of the regular season with an outside shot of making the playoffs but needed to win two against the Corny Dogs plus get some help from other teams.

Game 1 got off to a quick start, tied at 7 after 2. Big hits were a two run single from Randy Ransom, a two run dinger from Troy Steele and another RBI single from Ransom. The Squirrels led the rest of the way, carrying a slim 9-8 led into the final inning. A four run uprising from the Dogs gave them the W and ended the Squirrel playoff hopes 12-9.

Game 2 saw the Squirrels playing looser as defensive positions were jumbled and Dustin Bone took to the mound and pitched very well. The Squirrels prevailed 10-8. Big hits came from Tim Jamieson with an RBI double, a two run single from Dustin Bone and a two run single from Brian Ortega.

The Squirrels had a well balanced attack today as Tim Jamieson led the way with 4-7, 3 doubles, 2 runs and 2 RBI’s. Robbie Franklin and John Miller went 3-5 and Dustin Bone and Brian Ortega 3-6. That ends the season for the Flying Squirrels with a disappointing win-loss record but another great Shalom season nonetheless.  

  • Around the Pond

  • By Coach Duck 06/01/2021, 9:15am CDT
  • Two rough outings for the Ducks this week, but even in the losses, highlights were to be found.  
  • Read More

Tiburones were cold and the Padres showed no Mercy

By Alfredo Sardi 11/08/2021, 4:45pm CST

On an unusual but nice play ball time for a Shalom playoff (9am), Tiburones showed to the field with the full team trying to get into the next playoff week. Having the OF leader back after his injured was really nice. However, field 2 was working against them and the outfield had a lot of trouble with the sun on their faces. Also, a weird situation happened when an umpire wanted to be the main show of the day with a particular way to handle a situation that 99% of the people on the field agreed that should be handle completely different.

I am not here to say that this was the reason of the 2 loses because the Padres were way better than us on both games. Hats off to the Prim’s and their team.

Game 1 – Tiburones 3 – Padres 16

Tiburones scored 2 on the 1st inning with a single by Andy and a double by captain Sardi, followed by a single of Jon Killburn. Padres answered back with 3 on the bottom of the 1st inning. Tiburones did not score on the 2nd and 3rd but the Padres were “caliente” and scored 8 on the 3rd. Tiburones tried to came back on the game but were short and just scored 1 on the 4th. Padres kept their “caliente” style and scored 5 more. The Tiburones arrived to the top of the 5th with the run rule on their shoulders and they could not score so the 1st game was over.

Game 2 – Padres 27 – Tiburones 5

After about 10 min, the game started on a similar way. The Padres scored 4 on the top of the 1st inning and Tiburones answered back with 2. However, the Padres were “en fuego” and scored 7 on the 2nd, 6 on the 3rd and 10 on the 4th showing not mercy at all. Tiburones were cold and nothing was working for them. They were able to scored 3 on the bottom of the 3rd with a dinger courtesy of Justin Reed. The game ended in 4th inning with another run rule.

We were able to play 2 more games and be at the 1st week of the playoff against the “No Mercy” Padres. They were not our compadres during the regular season and definitely not during the playoff. Kudos to them and win it all guys!

As the season ended for us, I want to say thank you to the 11 players that I drafted as I know they gave every week everything they have on the tank. This was my 2nd time as a captain and I can say that I did my best too. It was great to have the name of the team of my hometown.

Justin Reed – “Justino”: I was not expecting to have him on my 1st round of the draft and I was able to get him. We Have been playing together on a week night for about 3 years and we were together at the Eusay’s Astros. He may be the loudest person on the whole league and play the game with a lot of passion. He has been helping me a lot at the OF for a year and I appreciate all the suggestions during the draft and this season. Thank you my Canadian brother.

Andy Hoelscher – “Andres”: Shalom Rookie but we have been playing on weeks nights for a year. He plays with heart and passion for the game as every Cardinals fan. Really good person, good speed and will always be there to help and support.

Ben Enlow – “Big Ben”: 3rd time playing with him at Shalom (Cubs in 2019 and Astros 2021) and he sub with my team during week nights a couple of times. Great guy to share the field. He can lockdown the 3rd base, hit bombs and will always talk to you in a nice way. He is another player that will give you 100% and can show the passion during the games.

Brad Earls – “Pilot Point”: I played with him  years ago on a Saturday Shalom tourney and I drafted him knowing what I was going to get which is a great player that will show his temper as the game is going. The passion he brings to the game is nice even though he can lose it pretty quick lol. He will dive, hustle and do the best he can to contribute to the team.

Jonathan Killburn – “Jon”: 1st time playing with him and I am so glad I drafted him. He brings all the knowledge and help every time he is on the fields. He will always be there to give you some batting tips, support with stats, write ups and suggestions on how to be a better team and a better player.

Jonathan Braun – “JB”: 2nd time playing with him and the good vibe he brings to the field is really nice. I love having his kids on the field and supporting him every time. He is a great teammate and is able to play OF and 1B.

Liam Killburn – “Lazy”: 1st time playing with him too and it was a nice surprise. Even though he was always the last one arriving to the fields and almost never wears the team shirt, I love the enthusiasm of him in and out of the field. Also, he adapted to his defensive role without any problem. Since the draft, he was excited to be on the team and we were in contact since that day. I called him “Lazy” just for fun and we both laugh about it. Really nice kid that hit his 1st dinger at Shalom this season. Keep getting better every week brother.

Barry Epstein – “Tornado”: 1st time playing with this legend of the league. Great teammate willing to help, bring suggestions and listen to it. He brings his knowledge, a great speed, line drive hitter and the capacity to play multiple position which is always nice to have on a team. He started playing OF and 1B and changed to be a pitcher in the middle of the season.

Ian Contreras –“Tio”: What can I say about my uncle? He will always be there to help and plays with all he can. He is able to play 1B and OF. Really nice person in/out the fields and better friend than softball player lol. He does the job that nobody sees but it is important on a team. He got injured during Spring season due to the passion on a game. Great teammate.

Valentin Diaz – “Tigre”: We play on the same team on a week night. He arrived to the team by a trade after the draft per a personal request and negotiation with the Storm Chasers captain. Thanks JP for accepting this trade. Valentin will bring joy and willingness to always improve his skills. He is a great person to have at the dugout as he is always willing to help and never gets mad.

Chris Peterson – “Krispy”: 2nd time playing together and both times have been during Fall seasons. Great teammate that will always be there enjoying the game. Awesome person that listen advices and suggestions and work on it to be a better player. As I mentioned to you probably the last 3-4 weeks keep doing whatever you are doing my friend as you ended the season “en fuego”.

Thank you guys for a nice season! Hope to share the field with all of you again!

 

 

Cornered Trash Pandas Fight Way into Playoffs

By Kelly Alexander 11/04/2021, 4:00pm CDT

Coming into the last week of regular season play on the outside looking in, the Trash Pandas were trying to overcome all the oh-so-close one run division losses (3) and get into the tournament.  A play here or there and we could be unbeaten in the Lynn division--big ifs and big buts.  Facing the underrated Monarchs led by Spring champion captain Abbey Garber (playing without subs for the first time all season!) and ace hurler John Burke, all the pressure was on us.

Game 1:

The visiting TPs got off to a fast start, something that has worked well for us all season.  Consecutive singles by the speedy Jacob and Josh Forniglia followed by a big Chenz triple scored 2. Greeley SACed in Vinnie, then consecutive singles by captain Alexander and Glossy set the table for a 4 run inning when Kennin Doyle let his hair down and singled in another run.  The defense made quick work of the Monarchs top and we had a 4-0 lead after one inning played.

The good guys picked up another run in the second when rookie sensation Vinnie Terhune singled in speedy Jacob Forniglia. Again the defense held in the bottom half and the score was 5-0 Pandas.

The third inning was big for both teams.  The confident Trash Pandas broke out for 7 runs, batting all the way around the lineup.  The inning started with an Alexander double, Glossy single, 2 RBI Dan "MVD" Mele double, and another Doyle single.  Travis "Zoolander" Olander picked up a RBI on a fielder's choice, then it was the Forniglia show again... wily "Uncle" Ronn singled, Jacob singled, and Joshua blasted a 3 RBI double.  Chenz moved a step closer to hitting for the cycle when he smoked a RBI double .  After 3 outs when the dust cleared, we led 12-0!

Then the Monarchs hit some HRs, details are sketchy as I repressed those memories.  12-6 after 3 innings played.

The TPs added 2 more runs in the fourth when Kennin Doyle scored Glossy and Zoolander scored Doyle, an efficient 2 runs on 3 hits and good base running.  A solid defensive effort followed and it was 14-6 after four innings played.

The fifth inning was quiet, but we added 3 more runs to seal the deal in the sixth, highlighted by the rousing spectacle of rookie Chuck Taylor chugging around the bases on a bad leg after his outfielder burning RBI triple, not his last of the day. 

Final score 17-9 Trash Pandas.

 

Panda Prodigies

Jacob Forniglia  4-4 with 3 runs

Joshua Forniglia  4-4, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 runs

Kennin Doyle  4-4, 3 RBI, 2 runs

Chenz  3-4, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI

Alexander  3-4, 2 doubles, 3 runs

Mike Glosier  3-4, 2 runs

 

Peering from our field to the next one over, I could see we needed to win again to control our own destiny and punch our playoff ticket.  This time we were home team, and the Monarchs were trying to spoil it for us.

After giving up 3 in the top of the first, the Trash Pandas responded with 4 of our own.  Hot hitting continued as Josh F, Chenz, Greeley, Alexander and Glossy all reached based consecutively. 4-3 us after one.

In the top of the second Garber's no-quit squad got 3 more runs, taking the lead again.  We could only respond with 1 of our own after another Chuck "where you been all season" Taylor triple and Uncle Ronn SAC.  6-5 Monarchs after two.

The defense held strong in the third inning and the bats came to life.  Chenz started it off with another double, Greeley followed with a RBI single, el capitan moved him up with a single, Glossy got another RBI single, and Zoolander got the final RBI of the inning with a crafty single.  8-6 Trash Pandas after three.

After giving up only one in the top half of the fourth, the TPs resembled butter (on a roll) and the bats remained warm.  We picked up 3 more hard-fought runs on a double by Jacob F and consecutive singles by Chenz, Greeley, Alexander and Glosier11-7 us after four.

Things got a little dicey in the top of the fifth when the fiesty Monarchs tied it up with 4 runs of their own.  Rumor has it John Burke hit a fence bomb in his last at bat of the season--I can confirm the veracity of that claim.  Needing only one run to win and ice the much needed sweep, big-baller Vinnie "Chenz" Terhune stepped up to the plate and took matters into his own hands, launching one where nobody could catch it--walk-off, playoff clinching bomb.  The crowd goes wild!

Kudos to Abbey and the Monarchs for a hard-fought series, they really played great. Lance Lassen is for real, the legendary Wu is back, and Burke hits bombs.

Panda IPOW candidates

Chenz  7-8, 3 doubles, triple, 5 runs, 6 RBI, walk-off HR winner! Super hustle and face paint on point. Season BA leader.

Mike Glosier  6-7, 2 runs, 3 RBI and great SS play coming back from a bum ankle (*he's not a SS).

Jacob Forniglia  6-8, double, 4 runs, speedy lead-off and a tough out on this day.

Your Temple Shalom Trash Pandas look forward to putting our best effort together for a tough playoff matchup this weekend.  Let's all have some fun!

Corny Dogs Split, Tossed from Playoff Chase

By Nick Barr 11/04/2021, 12:45pm CDT

On a chilly damp Sunday morning the Corny Dogs arrived with one thing on their collective mind. Playoffs. It would take help from other teams and likely a sweep from the good guys to get in. Unfortunately neither the sweep nor the help came to fruition and the Dogs season faded away along with the morning dew. Nonetheless a fun season for the Corny Dogs and their rookie captains. I certainly learned a lot and hope to have the opportunity again in the future.

Game 1: Corny Dogs at Flying Squirrels

The Softball Team on a Stick™ middle of the lineup got things started early. Taylor Abrego doubled, Miguel Duron used his elite speed to leg out an infield single, setting the table for the Barr/Parr combo to each drive in runs with singles of their own. Mitch Klaassen, taking a break from hitting doubles, also singled in a run to give the Dogs an early three run lead. The Squirrels answered with a five spot in the bottom half and it quickly became apparent these two teams clinging to hope were going to leave it all on the field.

Jim Finley got his day going with a sharp single, lefty Tommy Appligian and Ozzie Zurita each chipped in with hits and flipped the lineup. Tony Macaluso made it four straight hits with his RBI single. Duron had the big blast, a three run jimmy jack to give the Dogs back the lead. The pesky Squirrels would again answer to tie the game in the following inning and tacked on a couple insurance runs over the next two innings as the Corny Dog sticks went quiet. 

Trailing 9-7 heading into the fifth inning, Macaluso doubled and scored on an Abrego single. To cut the lead to one. This time the Squirrels were not able to answer. With the season on the line the Dogs bottom of the lineup came up huge in the final innings. Klaassen reached with an infield single on a very close play at first, Cesar Garza singled, Matt Roth blasted a double over the drawn in outfield, and Jim Finley smashed a triple to give the Dogs the lead for good. Brad Parr shut down the rodents in the bottom half to secure the win.


Before Game 2 it was picture time. Pretty good looking group.



Game 2: Flying Squirrels at Corny Dogs

With the Ducks dropping their opener, the Dogs would need a win and Tiburones loss to make it to the tournament. Unfortunately the offense sputtered out of the gate and new Squirrel pitcher Dustin Bone was wild and effective only surrendering back to back HRs from Abrego and Duron. Down 8-3 headed into the sixth the Corny Dogs knew it was now or never and strung together a gutsy five run inning against the patchwork defense. Macaluso led off the inning by drawing a walk, Abrego hit his second triple of the game to bring him in. Duron once again displaying his speed hit an inside the parker. Barr doubled to right and scored on a single by sub Brad Cox to bring the Corny Dogs within a run. About this time word of the Tiburones victory and subsequent Corny Dog elimination knocked the wind from the Dogs sails, and Operation Ketchup was halted. Dogs finished their season with a 10-8 loss.

Game 1

CANNON BALLERS - 16

Rubber Ducks - 1

The Cannon Ballers woke up early on the final Sunday of the regular season ready to do some duck hunting. Muck and crew were looking to paddle their way into the playoffs but showed up with their feathers slightly ruffled due to some stressful personnel issues. The Ballers came out shooting, with Dylan Ryno Hugs Hurt Me Buhrow leading off the bottom of the first with a double, followed by a walk for Big Lee McDonald. The sweet swinging Baby J (Buhrow highlight #1 on the day) then hammered a three-run homer over the duck pond to get the Baller offense flying. The third inning was almost a carbon copy as the first for the Baller bats. Back-to-back doubles by Dylan and Cuddles got it going, followed by another walk by Lee Keen Eye McDonald, set the table for the Bacon Man. Ryno came through with a big three run homer and the Ballers were filling their bags. The fourth inning provided the second Buhrow highlight of the day. The middle/bottom of the lineup started the at bat en fuego. Brink and Gumaro led off the at bat with singles, with Daniel Buhrow coming through with an RBI sac fly. Conn (RBI) and C Bass then both singled to load the bases. Up stepped young Dylan Buhrow, and he proceeded to hit a wicked slicing liner to RF that made its way to the fence. Dylan turned on the after burners and crossed the plate for an inside the park GRAND SLAM that would have made Willie, Jase, and Si proud. Ace Lee McDonald was masterful on the mound, holding a good hitting Ducks squad to one run!

Dylan Buhrow – 3 for 3, HR, two doubles, 4 RBIs, 3 runs scored

Baby J Buhrow – 3 for 3, HR, 3 RBIs, two runs scored

Brian Conn – 2 for 2, RBI, run scored

Ryno Alford – 2 for 3, HR (2), 4 RBIs, two runs scored

Game 2

Cannon Ballers - 21

Rubber Ducks- 10

The Cannon Ballers came out quick in the first with Big Lee McDonald (sac fly) and Ryno (2B) driving in the first two runs of the game. The Ballers only scored once in their second at bat, but it is worth noting how they did so. With two outs and the bases empty, Gumaro On Time Castillo produced a sweet line drive single. Then, Daniel Gran Palo Buhrow stepped into the duck blind and it was time for a show. He proceeded to hit an absolute shotgun blast to the fence in RCF for an RBI double (third Buhrow highlight of the day)! The Baller offense started firing on all gauges in their third at bat. Consecutive singles by C Bass, Dylan, and Cuddles, a walk by Big Lee, an RBI single by Ryno, an RBI walk by Baby J Buhrow, and a huge three RBI double by Jon Simo Simonson capped a seven-run effort. With the gamey Ducks trying to waddle back into the game, the Ballers put up another seven runs in the fourth to put the game on ice. After a quiet fifth, the Ballers offense decided to head into the playoffs with some offensive momentum. Cuddles and Big Lee led off the inning with back-to-back singles, and then the Pied Pig Piper drove them in with his third homer of the day. Baby J started it right back up with a single, and later in the inning and right on time, Gumaro Castillo blasted a double to the fence to cap the scoring for the Ballers. As usual, Ace Lee McDonald was steady on the bump and kept a motivated Ducks offense in check for the entire game.

Gumaro Castillo – 2 for 4, double, 2 RBIs, run scored

Jon Simo Simonson – 2 for 4, double, 5 RBIs, run scored

Daniel Buhrow – 1 for 4, double, RBI

Ryno Alford – 3 for 3, HR, double, 5 RBIs, 3 runs scored

BALLER WEEK 6 IPOWS

Dylan Buhrow – 6 for 7, HR (grand slam), 3 doubles, 2 singles, 4 RBIs, 6 runs scored from the lead of spot

Baby J Buhrow – 4 for 5, HR, 3 singles, BB (2), 5 RBIs, 5 runs scored

Gumaro Castillo – 3 for 7, double, 2 singles, 2 RBIs, 2 runs scored

Launching the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers – SportsLogos.Net News

Sharknado attacked twice and Tiburones clinched into playoff

By Alfredo Sardi& Jon Killburn 11/02/2021, 5:00pm CDT

Tiburones arrived to the field 3 on a chilly early morning with multiple combinations on the table to make the playoff. Yet they have one thing in mind and it was win 2 and are in the Playoffs!

The scenario was not going to be easy because they were missing their outfield leader Justin Reed due to an injure. Captain Sardi spent some hours of his Saturday trying to locate a sub until he was able to get the super sub Cody Strull who as soon as arrived to the field asked Captain Sardi for the correct pronunciation of the team name and the meaning of it.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

It was a brisk morning as we walked up to field 3 in a do or die situation!  The Tiburones were staring down the barrel of the no playoffs gun.  Would they be able to not only win one, but two against the division leading Storm Chasers?  A huge underdog moment, to say the least...  In a classic double header, game 1 would see the Tiburones start off with a bang.  A walk for Andy, followed by a fly ball to advance him from Sardi, would bring up our super sub Cody Strull (playing in relief of the injured Justin Reed), who would single.  Kilburn would walk, setting up Brad Earls who would drive in one with his double.  Setting up Enlow to clear the bases with a timely Home Run.  The inning would end with the Tiburones up by 5.  The second inning would see the Sharks not plate a single run but still up 5-0 heading into the top of 3.  The third inning would see the furry of the Sharknado, as the Tiburones would plate 10!  The Bottom would again flip the order with the bottom 3 hitters going 6-6 through 3 innings! The fourth would see the Storm Chasers wake up and score 6 to get back in the game.  Top of the 5th would see the Tiburones bottom AGAIN flip the order on 3 straight hits... a couple of SAC flies would see two more runs before the inning ended.  The Tiburones would plate one final run in the 6th, but would fight off a late rally by the Storm chasers.  Final score Tiberones 18, Storm Chasers 9.

Power Bottom:

Valentin Diaz 3-3, 2 RS, 1 Triple

Ian Contreras 3-3, 2 RS

Chris Peterson 2-2, 2 RS, 1 BB, 2 Singles

 

Bottom 3 hitters, 8-8 for 1000!

Remember I mentioned the multiple scenarios to clinched the playoff? Well, Tiburones were going to play their 2nd game with the necessity of winning so they will not need to be checking the scores on the other fields but the Storm Chasers were looking to take revenge.

The second game would start out with the Storm Chasers picking up where they left off and smashing the ball.  They would plate 5 before the inning half would come to an end.  The Tiburones would answer back with 4 of our own on a double by Andy, and a flurry of single by both Kilburns, Earls and Enlow, to plate 4.  the top of the second would see another 3 runs from the Storm Chasers.  The bottom of the second would see the "power bottom" for the Tiburones kick into gear again, with singles from Braun, Valentin and Contreras, and the inning would end with the Tiburones still down one.  The bottom of the 3rd would start off with a top of the net Home run from Kilburm and singles from Brad and Liam, but only 2 would cross... the chase continued as the Storm Chasers lead 10-9 going into the 4th. Valentin would lead off the bottom of the 4th with a single but get knocked off the bases on a Fielders Choice from Ian.  Chris "Crispy" Peterson would drive the ball to shallow Center Field moving the runners.  Andy would get a hit and score on a single from Cody Strull.  The inning would end and the teams would be knotted up 12 all. The Storm Chasers would tack on 3 to make it 15-12 going into the final inning.  With time gone the Tiburones faced a 3 run deficit with the bottom of the order due up again.   Not to be denied our sweep after a quick out from Barry, four singles in a row would load the bases  At this moment, "La Samba" and the fans were yelling the famous  chant "Si Podemos, Si podemos" (we can do it, we can do it).  Down 2 with the winning run on first a right field line shot from Andy would score all 3 needed runs.  Kudos to Chris Peterson to score from first, and narrowly beating the throw from the outfield. The whole team jumped into the field and celebrate that awesome walk off as they knew they were getting into the playoff!

Final score Tiburones 16, Storm Chasers 15.

Tiburones did what they need to do or what we called in Venezuela "La hombrada" and they clinched the playoff without needing to wait for other field results.

Power Bottom was great in both games and carried the team on these 2 great W!

Jonathan Braun 2-3, 2 RS, Double

Valentin Diaz 2-2, 2 RS, Walk

Ian Contreras 2-2, 3 RS, Walk

Chris Peterson 2-3, 2 RS

Bottom 4 hitters a combined 7-9! A whopping .778 in Game 2!

Great defense all day with some gems at the outfield by Braun "JB", Ian aka "Tio", Andy "I will clear the bases", Cody "super sub" Strull and captain Sardi. Also, Valentin "Tigre" did an awesome foul ball catch and Earls did a great job at the SS too.

One of the best moment of this games was after "JB" did a great catch at the RF fence and his 2 kids run to him after the inning was done to cheers with him. I love to see the joy of this kids and his dad every Sunday.

Tiburones will face the Padres on the 1st playoff round next week and hope to get Justin Reed back.

Fun Facts

Tiburones mascot name is "Tibu" and he is always chering the team on every home game witht he famous entertainment music group called "La Samba"

Estadio de los Tiburones de La Guaira no será del equipo, será del pueblo

 

 

BLUE ROCKS SWEEP - SECURE 2ND SEED IN LYNN DIVISION

By Kyle Casper 11/02/2021, 11:00am CDT

Blue Rocks Sweep Double Header!

The Blue Rocks opened game one with some solid defense and a solid 4 run bottom of the first, featuring a solo shot from Ryan Richardson, a Peter Hogan triple, and a Mark Phares 2 RBI triple. The Rocks collected another run in the third off another solo shot from Richardson, and another two runs in the fourth featuring base hits from Doc Levy and Seth Pepkin who would utilize clever baserunning to sneak in and score. The Blue Rocks grabbed their final two runs courtesy of base hits from Matt Rakofsky, captain Banta, and Dennis Brummet. The game finished 9-6. 

Ryan Richardson- 2-3, 2 HRs, 3 runs scored, 2 RBI

John Banta- 1-2, BB, RBI, 1 run scored

Dennis Brummet- 2-3, 2B, 1 run scored

Doc Levy- 1-1, BB, 1 run scored

In the second game of the double header, the Blue Rocks woke up their bats and tightened up their defense. The game ended 19-3 and featured a 10 run second inning for the Blue Rocks. Ryan Richardson hit his third and fourth home runs of the day, including a grand slam. Ryan Richardson, Peter HoganKyle Casper, and Dennis Brummet went 16 for 16 in the heart of the order, powering the offense to its 19 run total.

Ryan Richardson- 4-4, 2B, 2 HRs (grand slam), 5 RBI, 4 runs scored

Peter Hogan- 4-4, 2B, 3B, RBI, 4 runs scored

Kyle Casper- 4-4, 2 2Bs, 3RBI, 3 runs scored

Dennis Brummet- 4-4, 2 2Bs, 3B, 2 RBI, 2 runs scored

Seth Pepkin- 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI

Grayson Vick- 0-1, 2 BBs, run scored

The sweep propels the Blue Rocks healthily into the playoffs.

La Cueva del Leon - Week 8 Recap

By Leo Cova 11/01/2021, 10:15pm CDT

Editor Remarks

October is over and with that TSSL 2021 regular seasons, leaving players and subs ‘worried’ alike about when the sign-up process will start to secure a spot into the high-demand upcoming Spring 2022 season

About being ‘worried’, but in a good way, is the precise feeling for the remaining 96 players part of the teams that punched their ticket into the 2021 Fall postseason, as their championship journey has just begun. Congratulations, in alphabetical order to avoid any preferences, to the Blue Rocks, Cannon Ballers, Dragons, Padres, Tiburones, Tin Caps, Trash Pandas, and Storm Chasers. Best of luck fellow captains in these 3 weeks ahead!

Speaking of fellow players, throughout the previous editions of “La Cueva del Leon” (Lions Cave) articles I'd shared some of the best moments I’d had the opportunity to experience during this season with  multiple teams in the league, but for this the last article from ‘El Capitan’ in the foreseeable future I’ll like to recognize my fellow Leones teammates and the terrific session they put together thru the Fall, so please bear with me as I describe these great guys and gals with whom I’d the pleasure to share the field during this season

Andy Mabry – Generally we use the word ‘5 tools’ to describe the versatility and quality of a player in the field. If we ever needed to use an equivalent term to describe a best-in-class teammate, there is no doubt that the phrase will be ‘he is a Mabry’. Not only Andy is one of the best lead-off hitters in the league, a smart base runner, and a great defensive outfielder, but on top of that, he brings a unique energy and passion in every single game that energizes any squad! Watching him almost bursting into tears after we lost the first game (which automatically eliminated the Leones) speaks by itself the quality of individual you’ll have in your team

Reese Leonard – When you talk about a TSSL round # 1 picks, people have a natural tendency to turn their eyes into the player key power stats (HR, RBI’s, OPS, SLG, etc.) yet in my opinion, the real unhidden value of a first-round player is his leadership ability, as more often than usual captains will rely on this person to push the squad to the next level. Never had the pleasure to play with Reese before, but must say that after 16 great games there is no doubt that he is a true first-rounder, and no wonder why he was a 2011 NSA World Series All-Tournament player. Thanks for all you did for the Leones Reese!

Spencer Manz – Big Ryan Alford always says “once a Piggie always a Piggie” and boy is he right about that. The intangible things that bring playing with the Iron Pigs make elevate a player’s game to the next level in terms of intensity, smartness, and resilience, and Spence carries that out in his DNA. Not only he is one of the best defensive TSSL LCF’s and a real big threat at the plate capable to hit extra bases throughout the field, but he truly acknowledges the principle ‘you are as good as your next opportunity’ focusing to be the best he can be every time he has a chance. Had the pleasure to hit after him the entire season and will never forget our phrase ‘see ball hit ball’ taken from big Alford!

Matt Shwarts – If ever in need to let go of a bad game situation (error, poor at-bat, etc.) think no more and reach big Matty, one of the most relaxed yet game focused players you’ll ever play with, who always seeks to lift the spirit of the one feeling down after a negative game outcome. Have had the opportunity to play with Matt in many weekday leagues (and even in TSSL with the 2018 Eusay Orioles) and can only say that from the non-first rounder players out there, there is no better guy in this league with the ‘hidden’ leadership factor mentioned before than Matt!

Ashley Mort – One of the most common things you hear during the pre-draft conversations is the word ‘underrated’ to assess the value of players on lower rounds. A guy that genuinely defines that without any doubts is Ashley. And not just because the fact of finding a powerful and solid defensive outfielder in the 6th round is very low, but when you add constant clutch hitting, adaptability to play LF/RF interchangeably, and a positive dugout attitude then you realize how good of a steal you got at that round at and why Ashley is one of the best-hidden gems in this league!

Donnie Holtmann – Silent killer is generally a term used in a negative context, but when talking about softball this guy represents exactly the opposite. Donnie, also known as “Donnie Baseball”, is precisely the type of guy that will do all his talk with his skills: from powerful and clutch hitting to smooth fielding at the hot corner, Donnie always leaves his footprint in a game making a positive difference in the game result. There is a natural tendency in TSSL to say championships are won in the later rounds, well let me tell you something, Donnie is exactly the definition of that, as you won’t get much more value in those rounds than the one, he will bring to you!

Michael Barth – Fifty-one over forty-six is the ratio of Hall of Famers over the years in this league, meaning getting exalted to the TSSL immortal temple is not an easy task. And when you have the pleasure to play with one of those 51 guys, you realize no wonder why that number is so low, as combining integrity, brotherhood, sportsmanship, athletic ability, and leadership in a single person is really difficult. As one of those 51 guys, Mike simply has it all (and then some more!). Can spend hours writing about how an incredible person Michael is, but instead just want to say thank you for being such a great teammate and person with me and my family, and can only wish to play with you once again in the near future!

Omar Ovalle – A good number of words can be used to describe Omar’s performance in the field, but personally during this, my first season with him as a teammate, the two that stand the most were commitment and passion. If you saw a Leones game, then automatically you witnessed his passion in every at-bat, every play, and every time the team attempted a comeback (which were many by the way), to the extent that the league now recognizes his voice as a truly inspiring one. He is exactly the type of new talent we seek in TSSL from the rookie’s farm

Steve Johnson – Fast forward to 2045, and God permitting, I’m still playing TSSL ball, then can only wish I play half as good as Steve does! Don’t where to begin honestly, highlight his defensive qualities turning out double plays smoothly like 20 years old? Or should I mention how smart a hitter he is making sure to get on base in any way possible? Perhaps better to say the great teammate he is by proactively keeping the book (with not a single error!) making sure his captain focuses on the game? But none of those will be most remarkable than to recognize the gentleman he is. A true class act of a player!

Dorian Moore – In 2020 I learned from big Ryno the 2 things that all players control in the game: “Attitude and Effort” and let me tell you as a captain that is exactly what you expect the most from the players you draft for your team. If someone defined that for the Leones during this 2021 Fall season it was Dorian. Never had the pleasure to play with him before and I was greatly surprised by the effort he puts in every single time he was playing giving his best whether it was an at-bat, fielding, or even running (we witnessed that yesterday indeed after his injury!). Dorian definitely controlled that from day one of the season!

Alicia Shwarts – Perceived value is a somewhat subjective approach, but strongly believe a few can argue there is a player that brings more value-added to a team in this league than Alicia! Dugout attitude, playing effort, collaboration, league branding, community support, and one-of-a-kind teammate are just a few of the things that Alicia brings to any team she joins in this league. As well as with Matt I’d have the pleasure to play with Alicia during weekdays before and can only say if you haven’t played with her, you don’t what you are missing!

From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Andy, Reese, Spencer, Matt, Ashley, Donnie, Michael, Omar, Steve, Dorian, and Alicia for giving everything you had in every single game representing my childhood team the Leones!

At the diamond

If you have read previous ‘Cueva del Leon’ articles you’ll notice that epic battles have their fair share on the write-ups when describing the Leones games, but dear reader today this sentence was lifted to the next level during the 1st affair of the Leones – Tin Caps doubleheader. Please allow me to reconstruct what happened in the season-ending games for the feline squad

Field 4 around 1030am witnessed the best overall game of the season for the Leones when they hosted the Tin Caps in an elimination game for the home team. It all started with a scoreless 1st inning on both sides, giving the Tin Caps the opportunity to strike first with 2-runs in the 2nd inning which were counter from the Leones thanks to Cova’s leadoff double, Shwarts.M single and Mort’s sac fly to put the game 2-1 after 2.

The 3rd inning saw Tin Caps largest attack to the feline squad by scoring 3 runs which the Leones couldn’t answer back in the bottom part of the frame. But after holding scoreless the Tin Caps in the 4th, Leones started their comeback by scoring 3 runs in the bottom part thanks to rbi-singles from Barth and Johnson who brought home Shwarts.M and Mort to then capped to Moore sac fly to shorten the Caps lead to 6-4.

A 1-run 5th inning for the Tin Caps gave the Leones the opportunity to grab their first lead of the game by scoring 4 runs thanks to 4 rbi singles from Cova (1), Shwarts.M (2), Barth (1), and Ovalle (1) driving home Mabry and Leonard.

Tin Caps facing their last regular game at-bat of the game were able to tie the affairs to 8 in the 6th, and Leones were unable to answer back pushing to the 3rd extras of the season for the feline squad, the only thing this will last a little more than the other 2

Caps took the lead in the first extra frame by scoring 1-run, putting the pressure on the Leones to score if they wanted to stay alive, and so they did thanks to Cova’s lead-off triple brought home Mort’s sac fly tying the affairs at 9 apiece after 7th.

A scoreless second extra frame (8th), gave the Tin Caps the opportunity to grab once again the lead in the 9th by scoring 2-runs after 2 outs, putting once again all the pressure to the Leones to comeback in the bottom frame who couldn’t materialize any runs although they had the tying run on-base, which it ultimately eliminated the Leones from this Fall 2021 edition

After taking a well-deserved break from such an exhausting affair, Tin Caps and Leones faced each other again, having two completely opposite realities, one squad extremely happy as they just clinched a postseason ticket and another team demoralized after losing an extremely competitive game. And that was showing no doubt about it throughout the 2nd game, as both teams scored a total of 5 runs, yes you read that right, five runs!

On the Leones side, the only run was scored during the first frame thanks to Leonard double and Cova’s rbi-single. After that, Leones will not score a single run in the remaining 6th innings that were played, whereas the Tin Caps materialized 1 run in the 2nd inning, 2 runs in the 3rd, and 1 more run in the 6th, to wrap up the regular season of both squads. Congrats to the Tin Caps for a well-played double header!

Outstanding Leones

  • Andy Mabry – 4/7, R, 2B, BB and pushing the bases all day long!
  • Matt Shwarts – 4/7, 2R’s, BB, 2RBI’s and supporting teammates all day!
  • Leonardo Cova – 5/7, 3R’s, 2B, 3B, BB, RBI

 

Fun Fact

Did you know that the Leones del Caracas have 12 retired numbers including big leaguers Luis Aparicio (11), Chico Carrasquel (17), Tony Armas (20), Omar Vizquel (23), Andres Galarraga (41), Henry Blanco (24), Bo Diaz (25) and Vic Davalillo (2)?

TSSL Leones are flexible with that and allowed Steve Johnson (2) and Leo Cova (41) to wear those retired numbers!

Game 1

SC – 9

Tibs - 18

Even though the Storm Chasers usually like an early start, this was not that day. 6 of the first 7 batters for the Chasers in game 1 went down quickly putting up 0 in the first 2 innings for the first time all season. The Chasers having been so good about putting at least 3 up early found themselves in a deep whole they could never dig out of. Thanks to Super Sub Evan B, Brum and Austin for scoring 6 of the teams 9 runs between them to at least avoid a run rule and fight to the end.

Offensive highlights for the game (though all hit great in this game!):

Matt Brumley 2-3 with 1 Double, 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 RS to account for nearly half the teams runs

Sub Evan B 2-3 with 2 singles, 2 RBI and 2 RS

Austin Montgomery – 2-2 with 2 singles and 2 RS

 

Game 2

SC – 15

Tibs– 16

The Storm Chasers would not be embarrassed twice in one day and came out swinging in the first 2 innings putting up 8 runs this time instead of the goose egg the game before. This did wind up accounting for more than half the runs they would score in the game where we cam up just short by 1 when we could only muster 1 tun over 6 batters in the last inning. This was a much better hitting display by the Storm Chasers across the board, but the defense felt the pressure of shifting around to account for the loss of their 2 and their 4 and simply got beaten twice by the mighty Tiburones who obviously turned the party on to slip into that final playoff spot. Caps off to captain Sardi and his team for pulling off a scenario many would have thought unlikely to make it into the playoffs, well done!

Offensive highlights for the game:

Brumley 4-4 with 1 double, 1 triple, 2 RBI and 3 RS

Zimmerman – 2-3 with 1 single, 1 double, 1 RBI and 2 RS

Ron Roberts – 2-3 with 2 singles and 1 RS

Impact Players of the Week:

Matt Brumley – 6-7 with 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 6RBI and 5 RS

Super Sub Evan Berkowitz – 4-6 with a triple, 3 RBI and 3 RS

Austin Montgomery – 4-5 with a double and 3 RS

Dragons Sweep Division, Claim #1 Seed

By Keith Dlott 11/01/2021, 5:00pm CDT

On a perfect Sunday morning, with division namesake David Lynn on hand, the Dragons were one win away from claiming the division title.  Having not lost since division play started, a twin bill against the mighty Aguilas was on tap to try and secure the division and the overall #1 seed.

The Dragons fought their way to a 10-7 win in game one, behind Daryl Drake’s 3-3, 2 HR, 6 RBI performance.  Game two also went the Dragons way, 15-8.  Homers by Ari Loiben, Drake, and sub Jason “Chappy” Chapman led the way along with the last three hitters going a combined 7-9.

Impact Players of the Season:

Daryl Drake:  The Dragons infield captain completed a statistically insane season with 3 more HRs and 11 RBI on Sunday.  His season line:  .800 BA, 1.980 SLG, 2.776 OPS, 16 HR, 9 2B, and 56 RBI.  While those stats are a significant part of the Dragons success, Daryl is the consummate team player.  Daryl backed up the offensive onslaught with killer play at SS.

Gary Frank:  While Gary didn’t maintain the .900 BA he had after three weeks, he did finish close to .600.  All singles, but one of the most meaningful hits of the year was a 2-run triple into the wind that capped a big comeback.  Gary’s steady dugout presence and ability to help keep Daryl Drake’s ego in check are key.

Sheldon Fulton:  Sheldon is the silent killer.  Great guy, doesn’t say much, but comes to play.  Spectacular in RCF, but can play anywhere.  Strong stick and now holding down the leadoff spot.  Patience at the plate and will get on base any way possible.  Batted >.550 with a 1.4 OPS.

Zak Edgerton:  Is he a bowler or a softball player?  He’s both!  Zak is an outstanding defensive player and has played a mix of 2nd and 3rd.  A streaky hitter at the beginning of the season has progressed into a wonderfully consistent threat.  Batted nearly .550 and led the team in fashion, always sporting a Dragons bucket hat.

Ari Loiben:  Stellar play all season long in LCF.  Not sure anyone enjoys being at the fields more than Ari.  Of his 22 hits, he had 9 2B, 4 3B, and 3 HRs.  As the Dragons outfield captain, he communicates with Fulton and Adwild Perez to ensure everyone is in the right place.  Infectious leadership.

Kevin Knox:  Mr. November gave the Dragons a great fall season!  Batted over .500 and put 3 balls out.  Knoxie has alternated between 2nd and 3rd and plays great defense no matter where he’s at.  Great dugout presence and knows this league’s hitters.  

Tim Kaminski:  Great protection for Drake.  Tim had 7 HR and 26 RBI in the regular season and is due to breakout in the playoffs.  If there’s a Gold Glove to be had at first base, it’s Tim.  With a large frame and long reach, just get the ball near him and he’ll take care of the rest.  Tim epitomizes brotherhood and what it’s like to be a great teammate.

Ray Darragh:  Dragons captain Keith Dlott dubbed Darragh the “Swiss Army Knife” early in the season.  Willing and capable to play any position and always gives 100%.  Ray truly only cares about winning.  Ray tied for the team lead in walks, which demonstrates his patience at the plate.  With his get on base any way possible mindset, Ray rose several spots in the batting order.

Adwild Perez:  Here’s a challenge.  Try to find Adwild not smiling...it’s hard to do.  Perez held down left field all year with one exception.  With Fulton out early in the season, Adwild was asked to give RCF a go.  He absolutely locked it down.  Timely hitting and good base running along with steady defense is what you get here.  

John Unell:  Not sure there is a more consistent pitcher in the league.  When John needs to throw a strike, he throws one.  With John’s knowledge of nearly every player in the league, he’s quick to move the defense around.  All season John has provided excellent mentoring of the first-time Dragons captain.  It’s an honor for all Dragons to play with John.  As for his offense

Kendal Anthony:  If your book on Kendal is that he’s shaky in right field, your book is wrong.  Kendal played nearly every inning of every game in right field and made catch after catch after catch.  One mistake all year, but the rest has been solid as a rock.  Anthony’s hitting has been erratic, but he’s going to build off his 3 for 3 performance in the last game of the season.  Kendal is another “just tell me what I can do to help the team” player.

Jerry Rogers:  What a treat Jerry is to have on the team.  His calming demeanor and timely hitting make him a great pick.  Jerry has shown tremendous patience, walking 5 times this season.  It also seems as though every hit is a very timely hit, starting off a rally.  Defensively, Jerry is always where he needs to be around home plate and never throws the ball around.  

Subs:  Thanks to all the subs who came out and contributed to a strong regular season!

Squirrel Playoff Hopes Fall Short

By John Miller 10/31/2021, 2:15pm CDT

The Flying Squirrels entered the final weekend of the regular season with an outside shot of making the playoffs but needed to win two against the Corny Dogs plus get some help from other teams.

Game 1 got off to a quick start, tied at 7 after 2. Big hits were a two run single from Randy Ransom, a two run dinger from Troy Steele and another RBI single from Ransom. The Squirrels led the rest of the way, carrying a slim 9-8 led into the final inning. A four run uprising from the Dogs gave them the W and ended the Squirrel playoff hopes 12-9.

Game 2 saw the Squirrels playing looser as defensive positions were jumbled and Dustin Bone took to the mound and pitched very well. The Squirrels prevailed 10-8. Big hits came from Tim Jamieson with an RBI double, a two run single from Dustin Bone and a two run single from Brian Ortega.

The Squirrels had a well balanced attack today as Tim Jamieson led the way with 4-7, 3 doubles, 2 runs and 2 RBI’s. Robbie Franklin and John Miller went 3-5 and Dustin Bone and Brian Ortega 3-6. That ends the season for the Flying Squirrels with a disappointing win-loss record but another great Shalom season nonetheless.  

  • Around the Pond

  • By Coach Duck 06/01/2021, 9:15am CDT
  • Two rough outings for the Ducks this week, but even in the losses, highlights were to be found.  
  • Read More

Tiburones were cold and the Padres showed no Mercy

By Alfredo Sardi 11/08/2021, 4:45pm CST

On an unusual but nice play ball time for a Shalom playoff (9am), Tiburones showed to the field with the full team trying to get into the next playoff week. Having the OF leader back after his injured was really nice. However, field 2 was working against them and the outfield had a lot of trouble with the sun on their faces. Also, a weird situation happened when an umpire wanted to be the main show of the day with a particular way to handle a situation that 99% of the people on the field agreed that should be handle completely different.

I am not here to say that this was the reason of the 2 loses because the Padres were way better than us on both games. Hats off to the Prim’s and their team.

Game 1 – Tiburones 3 – Padres 16

Tiburones scored 2 on the 1st inning with a single by Andy and a double by captain Sardi, followed by a single of Jon Killburn. Padres answered back with 3 on the bottom of the 1st inning. Tiburones did not score on the 2nd and 3rd but the Padres were “caliente” and scored 8 on the 3rd. Tiburones tried to came back on the game but were short and just scored 1 on the 4th. Padres kept their “caliente” style and scored 5 more. The Tiburones arrived to the top of the 5th with the run rule on their shoulders and they could not score so the 1st game was over.

Game 2 – Padres 27 – Tiburones 5

After about 10 min, the game started on a similar way. The Padres scored 4 on the top of the 1st inning and Tiburones answered back with 2. However, the Padres were “en fuego” and scored 7 on the 2nd, 6 on the 3rd and 10 on the 4th showing not mercy at all. Tiburones were cold and nothing was working for them. They were able to scored 3 on the bottom of the 3rd with a dinger courtesy of Justin Reed. The game ended in 4th inning with another run rule.

We were able to play 2 more games and be at the 1st week of the playoff against the “No Mercy” Padres. They were not our compadres during the regular season and definitely not during the playoff. Kudos to them and win it all guys!

As the season ended for us, I want to say thank you to the 11 players that I drafted as I know they gave every week everything they have on the tank. This was my 2nd time as a captain and I can say that I did my best too. It was great to have the name of the team of my hometown.

Justin Reed – “Justino”: I was not expecting to have him on my 1st round of the draft and I was able to get him. We Have been playing together on a week night for about 3 years and we were together at the Eusay’s Astros. He may be the loudest person on the whole league and play the game with a lot of passion. He has been helping me a lot at the OF for a year and I appreciate all the suggestions during the draft and this season. Thank you my Canadian brother.

Andy Hoelscher – “Andres”: Shalom Rookie but we have been playing on weeks nights for a year. He plays with heart and passion for the game as every Cardinals fan. Really good person, good speed and will always be there to help and support.

Ben Enlow – “Big Ben”: 3rd time playing with him at Shalom (Cubs in 2019 and Astros 2021) and he sub with my team during week nights a couple of times. Great guy to share the field. He can lockdown the 3rd base, hit bombs and will always talk to you in a nice way. He is another player that will give you 100% and can show the passion during the games.

Brad Earls – “Pilot Point”: I played with him  years ago on a Saturday Shalom tourney and I drafted him knowing what I was going to get which is a great player that will show his temper as the game is going. The passion he brings to the game is nice even though he can lose it pretty quick lol. He will dive, hustle and do the best he can to contribute to the team.

Jonathan Killburn – “Jon”: 1st time playing with him and I am so glad I drafted him. He brings all the knowledge and help every time he is on the fields. He will always be there to give you some batting tips, support with stats, write ups and suggestions on how to be a better team and a better player.

Jonathan Braun – “JB”: 2nd time playing with him and the good vibe he brings to the field is really nice. I love having his kids on the field and supporting him every time. He is a great teammate and is able to play OF and 1B.

Liam Killburn – “Lazy”: 1st time playing with him too and it was a nice surprise. Even though he was always the last one arriving to the fields and almost never wears the team shirt, I love the enthusiasm of him in and out of the field. Also, he adapted to his defensive role without any problem. Since the draft, he was excited to be on the team and we were in contact since that day. I called him “Lazy” just for fun and we both laugh about it. Really nice kid that hit his 1st dinger at Shalom this season. Keep getting better every week brother.

Barry Epstein – “Tornado”: 1st time playing with this legend of the league. Great teammate willing to help, bring suggestions and listen to it. He brings his knowledge, a great speed, line drive hitter and the capacity to play multiple position which is always nice to have on a team. He started playing OF and 1B and changed to be a pitcher in the middle of the season.

Ian Contreras –“Tio”: What can I say about my uncle? He will always be there to help and plays with all he can. He is able to play 1B and OF. Really nice person in/out the fields and better friend than softball player lol. He does the job that nobody sees but it is important on a team. He got injured during Spring season due to the passion on a game. Great teammate.

Valentin Diaz – “Tigre”: We play on the same team on a week night. He arrived to the team by a trade after the draft per a personal request and negotiation with the Storm Chasers captain. Thanks JP for accepting this trade. Valentin will bring joy and willingness to always improve his skills. He is a great person to have at the dugout as he is always willing to help and never gets mad.

Chris Peterson – “Krispy”: 2nd time playing together and both times have been during Fall seasons. Great teammate that will always be there enjoying the game. Awesome person that listen advices and suggestions and work on it to be a better player. As I mentioned to you probably the last 3-4 weeks keep doing whatever you are doing my friend as you ended the season “en fuego”.

Thank you guys for a nice season! Hope to share the field with all of you again!

 

 

Cornered Trash Pandas Fight Way into Playoffs

By Kelly Alexander 11/04/2021, 4:00pm CDT

Coming into the last week of regular season play on the outside looking in, the Trash Pandas were trying to overcome all the oh-so-close one run division losses (3) and get into the tournament.  A play here or there and we could be unbeaten in the Lynn division--big ifs and big buts.  Facing the underrated Monarchs led by Spring champion captain Abbey Garber (playing without subs for the first time all season!) and ace hurler John Burke, all the pressure was on us.

Game 1:

The visiting TPs got off to a fast start, something that has worked well for us all season.  Consecutive singles by the speedy Jacob and Josh Forniglia followed by a big Chenz triple scored 2. Greeley SACed in Vinnie, then consecutive singles by captain Alexander and Glossy set the table for a 4 run inning when Kennin Doyle let his hair down and singled in another run.  The defense made quick work of the Monarchs top and we had a 4-0 lead after one inning played.

The good guys picked up another run in the second when rookie sensation Vinnie Terhune singled in speedy Jacob Forniglia. Again the defense held in the bottom half and the score was 5-0 Pandas.

The third inning was big for both teams.  The confident Trash Pandas broke out for 7 runs, batting all the way around the lineup.  The inning started with an Alexander double, Glossy single, 2 RBI Dan "MVD" Mele double, and another Doyle single.  Travis "Zoolander" Olander picked up a RBI on a fielder's choice, then it was the Forniglia show again... wily "Uncle" Ronn singled, Jacob singled, and Joshua blasted a 3 RBI double.  Chenz moved a step closer to hitting for the cycle when he smoked a RBI double .  After 3 outs when the dust cleared, we led 12-0!

Then the Monarchs hit some HRs, details are sketchy as I repressed those memories.  12-6 after 3 innings played.

The TPs added 2 more runs in the fourth when Kennin Doyle scored Glossy and Zoolander scored Doyle, an efficient 2 runs on 3 hits and good base running.  A solid defensive effort followed and it was 14-6 after four innings played.

The fifth inning was quiet, but we added 3 more runs to seal the deal in the sixth, highlighted by the rousing spectacle of rookie Chuck Taylor chugging around the bases on a bad leg after his outfielder burning RBI triple, not his last of the day. 

Final score 17-9 Trash Pandas.

 

Panda Prodigies

Jacob Forniglia  4-4 with 3 runs

Joshua Forniglia  4-4, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 runs

Kennin Doyle  4-4, 3 RBI, 2 runs

Chenz  3-4, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI

Alexander  3-4, 2 doubles, 3 runs

Mike Glosier  3-4, 2 runs

 

Peering from our field to the next one over, I could see we needed to win again to control our own destiny and punch our playoff ticket.  This time we were home team, and the Monarchs were trying to spoil it for us.

After giving up 3 in the top of the first, the Trash Pandas responded with 4 of our own.  Hot hitting continued as Josh F, Chenz, Greeley, Alexander and Glossy all reached based consecutively. 4-3 us after one.

In the top of the second Garber's no-quit squad got 3 more runs, taking the lead again.  We could only respond with 1 of our own after another Chuck "where you been all season" Taylor triple and Uncle Ronn SAC.  6-5 Monarchs after two.

The defense held strong in the third inning and the bats came to life.  Chenz started it off with another double, Greeley followed with a RBI single, el capitan moved him up with a single, Glossy got another RBI single, and Zoolander got the final RBI of the inning with a crafty single.  8-6 Trash Pandas after three.

After giving up only one in the top half of the fourth, the TPs resembled butter (on a roll) and the bats remained warm.  We picked up 3 more hard-fought runs on a double by Jacob F and consecutive singles by Chenz, Greeley, Alexander and Glosier11-7 us after four.

Things got a little dicey in the top of the fifth when the fiesty Monarchs tied it up with 4 runs of their own.  Rumor has it John Burke hit a fence bomb in his last at bat of the season--I can confirm the veracity of that claim.  Needing only one run to win and ice the much needed sweep, big-baller Vinnie "Chenz" Terhune stepped up to the plate and took matters into his own hands, launching one where nobody could catch it--walk-off, playoff clinching bomb.  The crowd goes wild!

Kudos to Abbey and the Monarchs for a hard-fought series, they really played great. Lance Lassen is for real, the legendary Wu is back, and Burke hits bombs.

Panda IPOW candidates

Chenz  7-8, 3 doubles, triple, 5 runs, 6 RBI, walk-off HR winner! Super hustle and face paint on point. Season BA leader.

Mike Glosier  6-7, 2 runs, 3 RBI and great SS play coming back from a bum ankle (*he's not a SS).

Jacob Forniglia  6-8, double, 4 runs, speedy lead-off and a tough out on this day.

Your Temple Shalom Trash Pandas look forward to putting our best effort together for a tough playoff matchup this weekend.  Let's all have some fun!

Corny Dogs Split, Tossed from Playoff Chase

By Nick Barr 11/04/2021, 12:45pm CDT

On a chilly damp Sunday morning the Corny Dogs arrived with one thing on their collective mind. Playoffs. It would take help from other teams and likely a sweep from the good guys to get in. Unfortunately neither the sweep nor the help came to fruition and the Dogs season faded away along with the morning dew. Nonetheless a fun season for the Corny Dogs and their rookie captains. I certainly learned a lot and hope to have the opportunity again in the future.

Game 1: Corny Dogs at Flying Squirrels

The Softball Team on a Stick™ middle of the lineup got things started early. Taylor Abrego doubled, Miguel Duron used his elite speed to leg out an infield single, setting the table for the Barr/Parr combo to each drive in runs with singles of their own. Mitch Klaassen, taking a break from hitting doubles, also singled in a run to give the Dogs an early three run lead. The Squirrels answered with a five spot in the bottom half and it quickly became apparent these two teams clinging to hope were going to leave it all on the field.

Jim Finley got his day going with a sharp single, lefty Tommy Appligian and Ozzie Zurita each chipped in with hits and flipped the lineup. Tony Macaluso made it four straight hits with his RBI single. Duron had the big blast, a three run jimmy jack to give the Dogs back the lead. The pesky Squirrels would again answer to tie the game in the following inning and tacked on a couple insurance runs over the next two innings as the Corny Dog sticks went quiet. 

Trailing 9-7 heading into the fifth inning, Macaluso doubled and scored on an Abrego single. To cut the lead to one. This time the Squirrels were not able to answer. With the season on the line the Dogs bottom of the lineup came up huge in the final innings. Klaassen reached with an infield single on a very close play at first, Cesar Garza singled, Matt Roth blasted a double over the drawn in outfield, and Jim Finley smashed a triple to give the Dogs the lead for good. Brad Parr shut down the rodents in the bottom half to secure the win.


Before Game 2 it was picture time. Pretty good looking group.



Game 2: Flying Squirrels at Corny Dogs

With the Ducks dropping their opener, the Dogs would need a win and Tiburones loss to make it to the tournament. Unfortunately the offense sputtered out of the gate and new Squirrel pitcher Dustin Bone was wild and effective only surrendering back to back HRs from Abrego and Duron. Down 8-3 headed into the sixth the Corny Dogs knew it was now or never and strung together a gutsy five run inning against the patchwork defense. Macaluso led off the inning by drawing a walk, Abrego hit his second triple of the game to bring him in. Duron once again displaying his speed hit an inside the parker. Barr doubled to right and scored on a single by sub Brad Cox to bring the Corny Dogs within a run. About this time word of the Tiburones victory and subsequent Corny Dog elimination knocked the wind from the Dogs sails, and Operation Ketchup was halted. Dogs finished their season with a 10-8 loss.

Game 1

CANNON BALLERS - 16

Rubber Ducks - 1

The Cannon Ballers woke up early on the final Sunday of the regular season ready to do some duck hunting. Muck and crew were looking to paddle their way into the playoffs but showed up with their feathers slightly ruffled due to some stressful personnel issues. The Ballers came out shooting, with Dylan Ryno Hugs Hurt Me Buhrow leading off the bottom of the first with a double, followed by a walk for Big Lee McDonald. The sweet swinging Baby J (Buhrow highlight #1 on the day) then hammered a three-run homer over the duck pond to get the Baller offense flying. The third inning was almost a carbon copy as the first for the Baller bats. Back-to-back doubles by Dylan and Cuddles got it going, followed by another walk by Lee Keen Eye McDonald, set the table for the Bacon Man. Ryno came through with a big three run homer and the Ballers were filling their bags. The fourth inning provided the second Buhrow highlight of the day. The middle/bottom of the lineup started the at bat en fuego. Brink and Gumaro led off the at bat with singles, with Daniel Buhrow coming through with an RBI sac fly. Conn (RBI) and C Bass then both singled to load the bases. Up stepped young Dylan Buhrow, and he proceeded to hit a wicked slicing liner to RF that made its way to the fence. Dylan turned on the after burners and crossed the plate for an inside the park GRAND SLAM that would have made Willie, Jase, and Si proud. Ace Lee McDonald was masterful on the mound, holding a good hitting Ducks squad to one run!

Dylan Buhrow – 3 for 3, HR, two doubles, 4 RBIs, 3 runs scored

Baby J Buhrow – 3 for 3, HR, 3 RBIs, two runs scored

Brian Conn – 2 for 2, RBI, run scored

Ryno Alford – 2 for 3, HR (2), 4 RBIs, two runs scored

Game 2

Cannon Ballers - 21

Rubber Ducks- 10

The Cannon Ballers came out quick in the first with Big Lee McDonald (sac fly) and Ryno (2B) driving in the first two runs of the game. The Ballers only scored once in their second at bat, but it is worth noting how they did so. With two outs and the bases empty, Gumaro On Time Castillo produced a sweet line drive single. Then, Daniel Gran Palo Buhrow stepped into the duck blind and it was time for a show. He proceeded to hit an absolute shotgun blast to the fence in RCF for an RBI double (third Buhrow highlight of the day)! The Baller offense started firing on all gauges in their third at bat. Consecutive singles by C Bass, Dylan, and Cuddles, a walk by Big Lee, an RBI single by Ryno, an RBI walk by Baby J Buhrow, and a huge three RBI double by Jon Simo Simonson capped a seven-run effort. With the gamey Ducks trying to waddle back into the game, the Ballers put up another seven runs in the fourth to put the game on ice. After a quiet fifth, the Ballers offense decided to head into the playoffs with some offensive momentum. Cuddles and Big Lee led off the inning with back-to-back singles, and then the Pied Pig Piper drove them in with his third homer of the day. Baby J started it right back up with a single, and later in the inning and right on time, Gumaro Castillo blasted a double to the fence to cap the scoring for the Ballers. As usual, Ace Lee McDonald was steady on the bump and kept a motivated Ducks offense in check for the entire game.

Gumaro Castillo – 2 for 4, double, 2 RBIs, run scored

Jon Simo Simonson – 2 for 4, double, 5 RBIs, run scored

Daniel Buhrow – 1 for 4, double, RBI

Ryno Alford – 3 for 3, HR, double, 5 RBIs, 3 runs scored

BALLER WEEK 6 IPOWS

Dylan Buhrow – 6 for 7, HR (grand slam), 3 doubles, 2 singles, 4 RBIs, 6 runs scored from the lead of spot

Baby J Buhrow – 4 for 5, HR, 3 singles, BB (2), 5 RBIs, 5 runs scored

Gumaro Castillo – 3 for 7, double, 2 singles, 2 RBIs, 2 runs scored

Launching the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers – SportsLogos.Net News

Sharknado attacked twice and Tiburones clinched into playoff

By Alfredo Sardi& Jon Killburn 11/02/2021, 5:00pm CDT

Tiburones arrived to the field 3 on a chilly early morning with multiple combinations on the table to make the playoff. Yet they have one thing in mind and it was win 2 and are in the Playoffs!

The scenario was not going to be easy because they were missing their outfield leader Justin Reed due to an injure. Captain Sardi spent some hours of his Saturday trying to locate a sub until he was able to get the super sub Cody Strull who as soon as arrived to the field asked Captain Sardi for the correct pronunciation of the team name and the meaning of it.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

It was a brisk morning as we walked up to field 3 in a do or die situation!  The Tiburones were staring down the barrel of the no playoffs gun.  Would they be able to not only win one, but two against the division leading Storm Chasers?  A huge underdog moment, to say the least...  In a classic double header, game 1 would see the Tiburones start off with a bang.  A walk for Andy, followed by a fly ball to advance him from Sardi, would bring up our super sub Cody Strull (playing in relief of the injured Justin Reed), who would single.  Kilburn would walk, setting up Brad Earls who would drive in one with his double.  Setting up Enlow to clear the bases with a timely Home Run.  The inning would end with the Tiburones up by 5.  The second inning would see the Sharks not plate a single run but still up 5-0 heading into the top of 3.  The third inning would see the furry of the Sharknado, as the Tiburones would plate 10!  The Bottom would again flip the order with the bottom 3 hitters going 6-6 through 3 innings! The fourth would see the Storm Chasers wake up and score 6 to get back in the game.  Top of the 5th would see the Tiburones bottom AGAIN flip the order on 3 straight hits... a couple of SAC flies would see two more runs before the inning ended.  The Tiburones would plate one final run in the 6th, but would fight off a late rally by the Storm chasers.  Final score Tiberones 18, Storm Chasers 9.

Power Bottom:

Valentin Diaz 3-3, 2 RS, 1 Triple

Ian Contreras 3-3, 2 RS

Chris Peterson 2-2, 2 RS, 1 BB, 2 Singles

 

Bottom 3 hitters, 8-8 for 1000!

Remember I mentioned the multiple scenarios to clinched the playoff? Well, Tiburones were going to play their 2nd game with the necessity of winning so they will not need to be checking the scores on the other fields but the Storm Chasers were looking to take revenge.

The second game would start out with the Storm Chasers picking up where they left off and smashing the ball.  They would plate 5 before the inning half would come to an end.  The Tiburones would answer back with 4 of our own on a double by Andy, and a flurry of single by both Kilburns, Earls and Enlow, to plate 4.  the top of the second would see another 3 runs from the Storm Chasers.  The bottom of the second would see the "power bottom" for the Tiburones kick into gear again, with singles from Braun, Valentin and Contreras, and the inning would end with the Tiburones still down one.  The bottom of the 3rd would start off with a top of the net Home run from Kilburm and singles from Brad and Liam, but only 2 would cross... the chase continued as the Storm Chasers lead 10-9 going into the 4th. Valentin would lead off the bottom of the 4th with a single but get knocked off the bases on a Fielders Choice from Ian.  Chris "Crispy" Peterson would drive the ball to shallow Center Field moving the runners.  Andy would get a hit and score on a single from Cody Strull.  The inning would end and the teams would be knotted up 12 all. The Storm Chasers would tack on 3 to make it 15-12 going into the final inning.  With time gone the Tiburones faced a 3 run deficit with the bottom of the order due up again.   Not to be denied our sweep after a quick out from Barry, four singles in a row would load the bases  At this moment, "La Samba" and the fans were yelling the famous  chant "Si Podemos, Si podemos" (we can do it, we can do it).  Down 2 with the winning run on first a right field line shot from Andy would score all 3 needed runs.  Kudos to Chris Peterson to score from first, and narrowly beating the throw from the outfield. The whole team jumped into the field and celebrate that awesome walk off as they knew they were getting into the playoff!

Final score Tiburones 16, Storm Chasers 15.

Tiburones did what they need to do or what we called in Venezuela "La hombrada" and they clinched the playoff without needing to wait for other field results.

Power Bottom was great in both games and carried the team on these 2 great W!

Jonathan Braun 2-3, 2 RS, Double

Valentin Diaz 2-2, 2 RS, Walk

Ian Contreras 2-2, 3 RS, Walk

Chris Peterson 2-3, 2 RS

Bottom 4 hitters a combined 7-9! A whopping .778 in Game 2!

Great defense all day with some gems at the outfield by Braun "JB", Ian aka "Tio", Andy "I will clear the bases", Cody "super sub" Strull and captain Sardi. Also, Valentin "Tigre" did an awesome foul ball catch and Earls did a great job at the SS too.

One of the best moment of this games was after "JB" did a great catch at the RF fence and his 2 kids run to him after the inning was done to cheers with him. I love to see the joy of this kids and his dad every Sunday.

Tiburones will face the Padres on the 1st playoff round next week and hope to get Justin Reed back.

Fun Facts

Tiburones mascot name is "Tibu" and he is always chering the team on every home game witht he famous entertainment music group called "La Samba"

Estadio de los Tiburones de La Guaira no será del equipo, será del pueblo

 

 

BLUE ROCKS SWEEP - SECURE 2ND SEED IN LYNN DIVISION

By Kyle Casper 11/02/2021, 11:00am CDT

Blue Rocks Sweep Double Header!

The Blue Rocks opened game one with some solid defense and a solid 4 run bottom of the first, featuring a solo shot from Ryan Richardson, a Peter Hogan triple, and a Mark Phares 2 RBI triple. The Rocks collected another run in the third off another solo shot from Richardson, and another two runs in the fourth featuring base hits from Doc Levy and Seth Pepkin who would utilize clever baserunning to sneak in and score. The Blue Rocks grabbed their final two runs courtesy of base hits from Matt Rakofsky, captain Banta, and Dennis Brummet. The game finished 9-6. 

Ryan Richardson- 2-3, 2 HRs, 3 runs scored, 2 RBI

John Banta- 1-2, BB, RBI, 1 run scored

Dennis Brummet- 2-3, 2B, 1 run scored

Doc Levy- 1-1, BB, 1 run scored

In the second game of the double header, the Blue Rocks woke up their bats and tightened up their defense. The game ended 19-3 and featured a 10 run second inning for the Blue Rocks. Ryan Richardson hit his third and fourth home runs of the day, including a grand slam. Ryan Richardson, Peter HoganKyle Casper, and Dennis Brummet went 16 for 16 in the heart of the order, powering the offense to its 19 run total.

Ryan Richardson- 4-4, 2B, 2 HRs (grand slam), 5 RBI, 4 runs scored

Peter Hogan- 4-4, 2B, 3B, RBI, 4 runs scored

Kyle Casper- 4-4, 2 2Bs, 3RBI, 3 runs scored

Dennis Brummet- 4-4, 2 2Bs, 3B, 2 RBI, 2 runs scored

Seth Pepkin- 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI

Grayson Vick- 0-1, 2 BBs, run scored

The sweep propels the Blue Rocks healthily into the playoffs.

La Cueva del Leon - Week 8 Recap

By Leo Cova 11/01/2021, 10:15pm CDT

Editor Remarks

October is over and with that TSSL 2021 regular seasons, leaving players and subs ‘worried’ alike about when the sign-up process will start to secure a spot into the high-demand upcoming Spring 2022 season

About being ‘worried’, but in a good way, is the precise feeling for the remaining 96 players part of the teams that punched their ticket into the 2021 Fall postseason, as their championship journey has just begun. Congratulations, in alphabetical order to avoid any preferences, to the Blue Rocks, Cannon Ballers, Dragons, Padres, Tiburones, Tin Caps, Trash Pandas, and Storm Chasers. Best of luck fellow captains in these 3 weeks ahead!

Speaking of fellow players, throughout the previous editions of “La Cueva del Leon” (Lions Cave) articles I'd shared some of the best moments I’d had the opportunity to experience during this season with  multiple teams in the league, but for this the last article from ‘El Capitan’ in the foreseeable future I’ll like to recognize my fellow Leones teammates and the terrific session they put together thru the Fall, so please bear with me as I describe these great guys and gals with whom I’d the pleasure to share the field during this season

Andy Mabry – Generally we use the word ‘5 tools’ to describe the versatility and quality of a player in the field. If we ever needed to use an equivalent term to describe a best-in-class teammate, there is no doubt that the phrase will be ‘he is a Mabry’. Not only Andy is one of the best lead-off hitters in the league, a smart base runner, and a great defensive outfielder, but on top of that, he brings a unique energy and passion in every single game that energizes any squad! Watching him almost bursting into tears after we lost the first game (which automatically eliminated the Leones) speaks by itself the quality of individual you’ll have in your team

Reese Leonard – When you talk about a TSSL round # 1 picks, people have a natural tendency to turn their eyes into the player key power stats (HR, RBI’s, OPS, SLG, etc.) yet in my opinion, the real unhidden value of a first-round player is his leadership ability, as more often than usual captains will rely on this person to push the squad to the next level. Never had the pleasure to play with Reese before, but must say that after 16 great games there is no doubt that he is a true first-rounder, and no wonder why he was a 2011 NSA World Series All-Tournament player. Thanks for all you did for the Leones Reese!

Spencer Manz – Big Ryan Alford always says “once a Piggie always a Piggie” and boy is he right about that. The intangible things that bring playing with the Iron Pigs make elevate a player’s game to the next level in terms of intensity, smartness, and resilience, and Spence carries that out in his DNA. Not only he is one of the best defensive TSSL LCF’s and a real big threat at the plate capable to hit extra bases throughout the field, but he truly acknowledges the principle ‘you are as good as your next opportunity’ focusing to be the best he can be every time he has a chance. Had the pleasure to hit after him the entire season and will never forget our phrase ‘see ball hit ball’ taken from big Alford!

Matt Shwarts – If ever in need to let go of a bad game situation (error, poor at-bat, etc.) think no more and reach big Matty, one of the most relaxed yet game focused players you’ll ever play with, who always seeks to lift the spirit of the one feeling down after a negative game outcome. Have had the opportunity to play with Matt in many weekday leagues (and even in TSSL with the 2018 Eusay Orioles) and can only say that from the non-first rounder players out there, there is no better guy in this league with the ‘hidden’ leadership factor mentioned before than Matt!

Ashley Mort – One of the most common things you hear during the pre-draft conversations is the word ‘underrated’ to assess the value of players on lower rounds. A guy that genuinely defines that without any doubts is Ashley. And not just because the fact of finding a powerful and solid defensive outfielder in the 6th round is very low, but when you add constant clutch hitting, adaptability to play LF/RF interchangeably, and a positive dugout attitude then you realize how good of a steal you got at that round at and why Ashley is one of the best-hidden gems in this league!

Donnie Holtmann – Silent killer is generally a term used in a negative context, but when talking about softball this guy represents exactly the opposite. Donnie, also known as “Donnie Baseball”, is precisely the type of guy that will do all his talk with his skills: from powerful and clutch hitting to smooth fielding at the hot corner, Donnie always leaves his footprint in a game making a positive difference in the game result. There is a natural tendency in TSSL to say championships are won in the later rounds, well let me tell you something, Donnie is exactly the definition of that, as you won’t get much more value in those rounds than the one, he will bring to you!

Michael Barth – Fifty-one over forty-six is the ratio of Hall of Famers over the years in this league, meaning getting exalted to the TSSL immortal temple is not an easy task. And when you have the pleasure to play with one of those 51 guys, you realize no wonder why that number is so low, as combining integrity, brotherhood, sportsmanship, athletic ability, and leadership in a single person is really difficult. As one of those 51 guys, Mike simply has it all (and then some more!). Can spend hours writing about how an incredible person Michael is, but instead just want to say thank you for being such a great teammate and person with me and my family, and can only wish to play with you once again in the near future!

Omar Ovalle – A good number of words can be used to describe Omar’s performance in the field, but personally during this, my first season with him as a teammate, the two that stand the most were commitment and passion. If you saw a Leones game, then automatically you witnessed his passion in every at-bat, every play, and every time the team attempted a comeback (which were many by the way), to the extent that the league now recognizes his voice as a truly inspiring one. He is exactly the type of new talent we seek in TSSL from the rookie’s farm

Steve Johnson – Fast forward to 2045, and God permitting, I’m still playing TSSL ball, then can only wish I play half as good as Steve does! Don’t where to begin honestly, highlight his defensive qualities turning out double plays smoothly like 20 years old? Or should I mention how smart a hitter he is making sure to get on base in any way possible? Perhaps better to say the great teammate he is by proactively keeping the book (with not a single error!) making sure his captain focuses on the game? But none of those will be most remarkable than to recognize the gentleman he is. A true class act of a player!

Dorian Moore – In 2020 I learned from big Ryno the 2 things that all players control in the game: “Attitude and Effort” and let me tell you as a captain that is exactly what you expect the most from the players you draft for your team. If someone defined that for the Leones during this 2021 Fall season it was Dorian. Never had the pleasure to play with him before and I was greatly surprised by the effort he puts in every single time he was playing giving his best whether it was an at-bat, fielding, or even running (we witnessed that yesterday indeed after his injury!). Dorian definitely controlled that from day one of the season!

Alicia Shwarts – Perceived value is a somewhat subjective approach, but strongly believe a few can argue there is a player that brings more value-added to a team in this league than Alicia! Dugout attitude, playing effort, collaboration, league branding, community support, and one-of-a-kind teammate are just a few of the things that Alicia brings to any team she joins in this league. As well as with Matt I’d have the pleasure to play with Alicia during weekdays before and can only say if you haven’t played with her, you don’t what you are missing!

From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Andy, Reese, Spencer, Matt, Ashley, Donnie, Michael, Omar, Steve, Dorian, and Alicia for giving everything you had in every single game representing my childhood team the Leones!

At the diamond

If you have read previous ‘Cueva del Leon’ articles you’ll notice that epic battles have their fair share on the write-ups when describing the Leones games, but dear reader today this sentence was lifted to the next level during the 1st affair of the Leones – Tin Caps doubleheader. Please allow me to reconstruct what happened in the season-ending games for the feline squad

Field 4 around 1030am witnessed the best overall game of the season for the Leones when they hosted the Tin Caps in an elimination game for the home team. It all started with a scoreless 1st inning on both sides, giving the Tin Caps the opportunity to strike first with 2-runs in the 2nd inning which were counter from the Leones thanks to Cova’s leadoff double, Shwarts.M single and Mort’s sac fly to put the game 2-1 after 2.

The 3rd inning saw Tin Caps largest attack to the feline squad by scoring 3 runs which the Leones couldn’t answer back in the bottom part of the frame. But after holding scoreless the Tin Caps in the 4th, Leones started their comeback by scoring 3 runs in the bottom part thanks to rbi-singles from Barth and Johnson who brought home Shwarts.M and Mort to then capped to Moore sac fly to shorten the Caps lead to 6-4.

A 1-run 5th inning for the Tin Caps gave the Leones the opportunity to grab their first lead of the game by scoring 4 runs thanks to 4 rbi singles from Cova (1), Shwarts.M (2), Barth (1), and Ovalle (1) driving home Mabry and Leonard.

Tin Caps facing their last regular game at-bat of the game were able to tie the affairs to 8 in the 6th, and Leones were unable to answer back pushing to the 3rd extras of the season for the feline squad, the only thing this will last a little more than the other 2

Caps took the lead in the first extra frame by scoring 1-run, putting the pressure on the Leones to score if they wanted to stay alive, and so they did thanks to Cova’s lead-off triple brought home Mort’s sac fly tying the affairs at 9 apiece after 7th.

A scoreless second extra frame (8th), gave the Tin Caps the opportunity to grab once again the lead in the 9th by scoring 2-runs after 2 outs, putting once again all the pressure to the Leones to comeback in the bottom frame who couldn’t materialize any runs although they had the tying run on-base, which it ultimately eliminated the Leones from this Fall 2021 edition

After taking a well-deserved break from such an exhausting affair, Tin Caps and Leones faced each other again, having two completely opposite realities, one squad extremely happy as they just clinched a postseason ticket and another team demoralized after losing an extremely competitive game. And that was showing no doubt about it throughout the 2nd game, as both teams scored a total of 5 runs, yes you read that right, five runs!

On the Leones side, the only run was scored during the first frame thanks to Leonard double and Cova’s rbi-single. After that, Leones will not score a single run in the remaining 6th innings that were played, whereas the Tin Caps materialized 1 run in the 2nd inning, 2 runs in the 3rd, and 1 more run in the 6th, to wrap up the regular season of both squads. Congrats to the Tin Caps for a well-played double header!

Outstanding Leones

  • Andy Mabry – 4/7, R, 2B, BB and pushing the bases all day long!
  • Matt Shwarts – 4/7, 2R’s, BB, 2RBI’s and supporting teammates all day!
  • Leonardo Cova – 5/7, 3R’s, 2B, 3B, BB, RBI

 

Fun Fact

Did you know that the Leones del Caracas have 12 retired numbers including big leaguers Luis Aparicio (11), Chico Carrasquel (17), Tony Armas (20), Omar Vizquel (23), Andres Galarraga (41), Henry Blanco (24), Bo Diaz (25) and Vic Davalillo (2)?

TSSL Leones are flexible with that and allowed Steve Johnson (2) and Leo Cova (41) to wear those retired numbers!

Game 1

SC – 9

Tibs - 18

Even though the Storm Chasers usually like an early start, this was not that day. 6 of the first 7 batters for the Chasers in game 1 went down quickly putting up 0 in the first 2 innings for the first time all season. The Chasers having been so good about putting at least 3 up early found themselves in a deep whole they could never dig out of. Thanks to Super Sub Evan B, Brum and Austin for scoring 6 of the teams 9 runs between them to at least avoid a run rule and fight to the end.

Offensive highlights for the game (though all hit great in this game!):

Matt Brumley 2-3 with 1 Double, 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 RS to account for nearly half the teams runs

Sub Evan B 2-3 with 2 singles, 2 RBI and 2 RS

Austin Montgomery – 2-2 with 2 singles and 2 RS

 

Game 2

SC – 15

Tibs– 16

The Storm Chasers would not be embarrassed twice in one day and came out swinging in the first 2 innings putting up 8 runs this time instead of the goose egg the game before. This did wind up accounting for more than half the runs they would score in the game where we cam up just short by 1 when we could only muster 1 tun over 6 batters in the last inning. This was a much better hitting display by the Storm Chasers across the board, but the defense felt the pressure of shifting around to account for the loss of their 2 and their 4 and simply got beaten twice by the mighty Tiburones who obviously turned the party on to slip into that final playoff spot. Caps off to captain Sardi and his team for pulling off a scenario many would have thought unlikely to make it into the playoffs, well done!

Offensive highlights for the game:

Brumley 4-4 with 1 double, 1 triple, 2 RBI and 3 RS

Zimmerman – 2-3 with 1 single, 1 double, 1 RBI and 2 RS

Ron Roberts – 2-3 with 2 singles and 1 RS

Impact Players of the Week:

Matt Brumley – 6-7 with 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 6RBI and 5 RS

Super Sub Evan Berkowitz – 4-6 with a triple, 3 RBI and 3 RS

Austin Montgomery – 4-5 with a double and 3 RS

Dragons Sweep Division, Claim #1 Seed

By Keith Dlott 11/01/2021, 5:00pm CDT

On a perfect Sunday morning, with division namesake David Lynn on hand, the Dragons were one win away from claiming the division title.  Having not lost since division play started, a twin bill against the mighty Aguilas was on tap to try and secure the division and the overall #1 seed.

The Dragons fought their way to a 10-7 win in game one, behind Daryl Drake’s 3-3, 2 HR, 6 RBI performance.  Game two also went the Dragons way, 15-8.  Homers by Ari Loiben, Drake, and sub Jason “Chappy” Chapman led the way along with the last three hitters going a combined 7-9.

Impact Players of the Season:

Daryl Drake:  The Dragons infield captain completed a statistically insane season with 3 more HRs and 11 RBI on Sunday.  His season line:  .800 BA, 1.980 SLG, 2.776 OPS, 16 HR, 9 2B, and 56 RBI.  While those stats are a significant part of the Dragons success, Daryl is the consummate team player.  Daryl backed up the offensive onslaught with killer play at SS.

Gary Frank:  While Gary didn’t maintain the .900 BA he had after three weeks, he did finish close to .600.  All singles, but one of the most meaningful hits of the year was a 2-run triple into the wind that capped a big comeback.  Gary’s steady dugout presence and ability to help keep Daryl Drake’s ego in check are key.

Sheldon Fulton:  Sheldon is the silent killer.  Great guy, doesn’t say much, but comes to play.  Spectacular in RCF, but can play anywhere.  Strong stick and now holding down the leadoff spot.  Patience at the plate and will get on base any way possible.  Batted >.550 with a 1.4 OPS.

Zak Edgerton:  Is he a bowler or a softball player?  He’s both!  Zak is an outstanding defensive player and has played a mix of 2nd and 3rd.  A streaky hitter at the beginning of the season has progressed into a wonderfully consistent threat.  Batted nearly .550 and led the team in fashion, always sporting a Dragons bucket hat.

Ari Loiben:  Stellar play all season long in LCF.  Not sure anyone enjoys being at the fields more than Ari.  Of his 22 hits, he had 9 2B, 4 3B, and 3 HRs.  As the Dragons outfield captain, he communicates with Fulton and Adwild Perez to ensure everyone is in the right place.  Infectious leadership.

Kevin Knox:  Mr. November gave the Dragons a great fall season!  Batted over .500 and put 3 balls out.  Knoxie has alternated between 2nd and 3rd and plays great defense no matter where he’s at.  Great dugout presence and knows this league’s hitters.  

Tim Kaminski:  Great protection for Drake.  Tim had 7 HR and 26 RBI in the regular season and is due to breakout in the playoffs.  If there’s a Gold Glove to be had at first base, it’s Tim.  With a large frame and long reach, just get the ball near him and he’ll take care of the rest.  Tim epitomizes brotherhood and what it’s like to be a great teammate.

Ray Darragh:  Dragons captain Keith Dlott dubbed Darragh the “Swiss Army Knife” early in the season.  Willing and capable to play any position and always gives 100%.  Ray truly only cares about winning.  Ray tied for the team lead in walks, which demonstrates his patience at the plate.  With his get on base any way possible mindset, Ray rose several spots in the batting order.

Adwild Perez:  Here’s a challenge.  Try to find Adwild not smiling...it’s hard to do.  Perez held down left field all year with one exception.  With Fulton out early in the season, Adwild was asked to give RCF a go.  He absolutely locked it down.  Timely hitting and good base running along with steady defense is what you get here.  

John Unell:  Not sure there is a more consistent pitcher in the league.  When John needs to throw a strike, he throws one.  With John’s knowledge of nearly every player in the league, he’s quick to move the defense around.  All season John has provided excellent mentoring of the first-time Dragons captain.  It’s an honor for all Dragons to play with John.  As for his offense

Kendal Anthony:  If your book on Kendal is that he’s shaky in right field, your book is wrong.  Kendal played nearly every inning of every game in right field and made catch after catch after catch.  One mistake all year, but the rest has been solid as a rock.  Anthony’s hitting has been erratic, but he’s going to build off his 3 for 3 performance in the last game of the season.  Kendal is another “just tell me what I can do to help the team” player.

Jerry Rogers:  What a treat Jerry is to have on the team.  His calming demeanor and timely hitting make him a great pick.  Jerry has shown tremendous patience, walking 5 times this season.  It also seems as though every hit is a very timely hit, starting off a rally.  Defensively, Jerry is always where he needs to be around home plate and never throws the ball around.  

Subs:  Thanks to all the subs who came out and contributed to a strong regular season!

Squirrel Playoff Hopes Fall Short

By John Miller 10/31/2021, 2:15pm CDT

The Flying Squirrels entered the final weekend of the regular season with an outside shot of making the playoffs but needed to win two against the Corny Dogs plus get some help from other teams.

Game 1 got off to a quick start, tied at 7 after 2. Big hits were a two run single from Randy Ransom, a two run dinger from Troy Steele and another RBI single from Ransom. The Squirrels led the rest of the way, carrying a slim 9-8 led into the final inning. A four run uprising from the Dogs gave them the W and ended the Squirrel playoff hopes 12-9.

Game 2 saw the Squirrels playing looser as defensive positions were jumbled and Dustin Bone took to the mound and pitched very well. The Squirrels prevailed 10-8. Big hits came from Tim Jamieson with an RBI double, a two run single from Dustin Bone and a two run single from Brian Ortega.

The Squirrels had a well balanced attack today as Tim Jamieson led the way with 4-7, 3 doubles, 2 runs and 2 RBI’s. Robbie Franklin and John Miller went 3-5 and Dustin Bone and Brian Ortega 3-6. That ends the season for the Flying Squirrels with a disappointing win-loss record but another great Shalom season nonetheless.  

  • Around the Pond

  • By Coach Duck 06/01/2021, 9:15am CDT
  • Two rough outings for the Ducks this week, but even in the losses, highlights were to be found.  
  • Read More

Tiburones were cold and the Padres showed no Mercy

By Alfredo Sardi 11/08/2021, 4:45pm CST

On an unusual but nice play ball time for a Shalom playoff (9am), Tiburones showed to the field with the full team trying to get into the next playoff week. Having the OF leader back after his injured was really nice. However, field 2 was working against them and the outfield had a lot of trouble with the sun on their faces. Also, a weird situation happened when an umpire wanted to be the main show of the day with a particular way to handle a situation that 99% of the people on the field agreed that should be handle completely different.

I am not here to say that this was the reason of the 2 loses because the Padres were way better than us on both games. Hats off to the Prim’s and their team.

Game 1 – Tiburones 3 – Padres 16

Tiburones scored 2 on the 1st inning with a single by Andy and a double by captain Sardi, followed by a single of Jon Killburn. Padres answered back with 3 on the bottom of the 1st inning. Tiburones did not score on the 2nd and 3rd but the Padres were “caliente” and scored 8 on the 3rd. Tiburones tried to came back on the game but were short and just scored 1 on the 4th. Padres kept their “caliente” style and scored 5 more. The Tiburones arrived to the top of the 5th with the run rule on their shoulders and they could not score so the 1st game was over.

Game 2 – Padres 27 – Tiburones 5

After about 10 min, the game started on a similar way. The Padres scored 4 on the top of the 1st inning and Tiburones answered back with 2. However, the Padres were “en fuego” and scored 7 on the 2nd, 6 on the 3rd and 10 on the 4th showing not mercy at all. Tiburones were cold and nothing was working for them. They were able to scored 3 on the bottom of the 3rd with a dinger courtesy of Justin Reed. The game ended in 4th inning with another run rule.

We were able to play 2 more games and be at the 1st week of the playoff against the “No Mercy” Padres. They were not our compadres during the regular season and definitely not during the playoff. Kudos to them and win it all guys!

As the season ended for us, I want to say thank you to the 11 players that I drafted as I know they gave every week everything they have on the tank. This was my 2nd time as a captain and I can say that I did my best too. It was great to have the name of the team of my hometown.

Justin Reed – “Justino”: I was not expecting to have him on my 1st round of the draft and I was able to get him. We Have been playing together on a week night for about 3 years and we were together at the Eusay’s Astros. He may be the loudest person on the whole league and play the game with a lot of passion. He has been helping me a lot at the OF for a year and I appreciate all the suggestions during the draft and this season. Thank you my Canadian brother.

Andy Hoelscher – “Andres”: Shalom Rookie but we have been playing on weeks nights for a year. He plays with heart and passion for the game as every Cardinals fan. Really good person, good speed and will always be there to help and support.

Ben Enlow – “Big Ben”: 3rd time playing with him at Shalom (Cubs in 2019 and Astros 2021) and he sub with my team during week nights a couple of times. Great guy to share the field. He can lockdown the 3rd base, hit bombs and will always talk to you in a nice way. He is another player that will give you 100% and can show the passion during the games.

Brad Earls – “Pilot Point”: I played with him  years ago on a Saturday Shalom tourney and I drafted him knowing what I was going to get which is a great player that will show his temper as the game is going. The passion he brings to the game is nice even though he can lose it pretty quick lol. He will dive, hustle and do the best he can to contribute to the team.

Jonathan Killburn – “Jon”: 1st time playing with him and I am so glad I drafted him. He brings all the knowledge and help every time he is on the fields. He will always be there to give you some batting tips, support with stats, write ups and suggestions on how to be a better team and a better player.

Jonathan Braun – “JB”: 2nd time playing with him and the good vibe he brings to the field is really nice. I love having his kids on the field and supporting him every time. He is a great teammate and is able to play OF and 1B.

Liam Killburn – “Lazy”: 1st time playing with him too and it was a nice surprise. Even though he was always the last one arriving to the fields and almost never wears the team shirt, I love the enthusiasm of him in and out of the field. Also, he adapted to his defensive role without any problem. Since the draft, he was excited to be on the team and we were in contact since that day. I called him “Lazy” just for fun and we both laugh about it. Really nice kid that hit his 1st dinger at Shalom this season. Keep getting better every week brother.

Barry Epstein – “Tornado”: 1st time playing with this legend of the league. Great teammate willing to help, bring suggestions and listen to it. He brings his knowledge, a great speed, line drive hitter and the capacity to play multiple position which is always nice to have on a team. He started playing OF and 1B and changed to be a pitcher in the middle of the season.

Ian Contreras –“Tio”: What can I say about my uncle? He will always be there to help and plays with all he can. He is able to play 1B and OF. Really nice person in/out the fields and better friend than softball player lol. He does the job that nobody sees but it is important on a team. He got injured during Spring season due to the passion on a game. Great teammate.

Valentin Diaz – “Tigre”: We play on the same team on a week night. He arrived to the team by a trade after the draft per a personal request and negotiation with the Storm Chasers captain. Thanks JP for accepting this trade. Valentin will bring joy and willingness to always improve his skills. He is a great person to have at the dugout as he is always willing to help and never gets mad.

Chris Peterson – “Krispy”: 2nd time playing together and both times have been during Fall seasons. Great teammate that will always be there enjoying the game. Awesome person that listen advices and suggestions and work on it to be a better player. As I mentioned to you probably the last 3-4 weeks keep doing whatever you are doing my friend as you ended the season “en fuego”.

Thank you guys for a nice season! Hope to share the field with all of you again!

 

 

Cornered Trash Pandas Fight Way into Playoffs

By Kelly Alexander 11/04/2021, 4:00pm CDT

Coming into the last week of regular season play on the outside looking in, the Trash Pandas were trying to overcome all the oh-so-close one run division losses (3) and get into the tournament.  A play here or there and we could be unbeaten in the Lynn division--big ifs and big buts.  Facing the underrated Monarchs led by Spring champion captain Abbey Garber (playing without subs for the first time all season!) and ace hurler John Burke, all the pressure was on us.

Game 1:

The visiting TPs got off to a fast start, something that has worked well for us all season.  Consecutive singles by the speedy Jacob and Josh Forniglia followed by a big Chenz triple scored 2. Greeley SACed in Vinnie, then consecutive singles by captain Alexander and Glossy set the table for a 4 run inning when Kennin Doyle let his hair down and singled in another run.  The defense made quick work of the Monarchs top and we had a 4-0 lead after one inning played.

The good guys picked up another run in the second when rookie sensation Vinnie Terhune singled in speedy Jacob Forniglia. Again the defense held in the bottom half and the score was 5-0 Pandas.

The third inning was big for both teams.  The confident Trash Pandas broke out for 7 runs, batting all the way around the lineup.  The inning started with an Alexander double, Glossy single, 2 RBI Dan "MVD" Mele double, and another Doyle single.  Travis "Zoolander" Olander picked up a RBI on a fielder's choice, then it was the Forniglia show again... wily "Uncle" Ronn singled, Jacob singled, and Joshua blasted a 3 RBI double.  Chenz moved a step closer to hitting for the cycle when he smoked a RBI double .  After 3 outs when the dust cleared, we led 12-0!

Then the Monarchs hit some HRs, details are sketchy as I repressed those memories.  12-6 after 3 innings played.

The TPs added 2 more runs in the fourth when Kennin Doyle scored Glossy and Zoolander scored Doyle, an efficient 2 runs on 3 hits and good base running.  A solid defensive effort followed and it was 14-6 after four innings played.

The fifth inning was quiet, but we added 3 more runs to seal the deal in the sixth, highlighted by the rousing spectacle of rookie Chuck Taylor chugging around the bases on a bad leg after his outfielder burning RBI triple, not his last of the day. 

Final score 17-9 Trash Pandas.

 

Panda Prodigies

Jacob Forniglia  4-4 with 3 runs

Joshua Forniglia  4-4, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 runs

Kennin Doyle  4-4, 3 RBI, 2 runs

Chenz  3-4, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI

Alexander  3-4, 2 doubles, 3 runs

Mike Glosier  3-4, 2 runs

 

Peering from our field to the next one over, I could see we needed to win again to control our own destiny and punch our playoff ticket.  This time we were home team, and the Monarchs were trying to spoil it for us.

After giving up 3 in the top of the first, the Trash Pandas responded with 4 of our own.  Hot hitting continued as Josh F, Chenz, Greeley, Alexander and Glossy all reached based consecutively. 4-3 us after one.

In the top of the second Garber's no-quit squad got 3 more runs, taking the lead again.  We could only respond with 1 of our own after another Chuck "where you been all season" Taylor triple and Uncle Ronn SAC.  6-5 Monarchs after two.

The defense held strong in the third inning and the bats came to life.  Chenz started it off with another double, Greeley followed with a RBI single, el capitan moved him up with a single, Glossy got another RBI single, and Zoolander got the final RBI of the inning with a crafty single.  8-6 Trash Pandas after three.

After giving up only one in the top half of the fourth, the TPs resembled butter (on a roll) and the bats remained warm.  We picked up 3 more hard-fought runs on a double by Jacob F and consecutive singles by Chenz, Greeley, Alexander and Glosier11-7 us after four.

Things got a little dicey in the top of the fifth when the fiesty Monarchs tied it up with 4 runs of their own.  Rumor has it John Burke hit a fence bomb in his last at bat of the season--I can confirm the veracity of that claim.  Needing only one run to win and ice the much needed sweep, big-baller Vinnie "Chenz" Terhune stepped up to the plate and took matters into his own hands, launching one where nobody could catch it--walk-off, playoff clinching bomb.  The crowd goes wild!

Kudos to Abbey and the Monarchs for a hard-fought series, they really played great. Lance Lassen is for real, the legendary Wu is back, and Burke hits bombs.

Panda IPOW candidates

Chenz  7-8, 3 doubles, triple, 5 runs, 6 RBI, walk-off HR winner! Super hustle and face paint on point. Season BA leader.

Mike Glosier  6-7, 2 runs, 3 RBI and great SS play coming back from a bum ankle (*he's not a SS).

Jacob Forniglia  6-8, double, 4 runs, speedy lead-off and a tough out on this day.

Your Temple Shalom Trash Pandas look forward to putting our best effort together for a tough playoff matchup this weekend.  Let's all have some fun!

Corny Dogs Split, Tossed from Playoff Chase

By Nick Barr 11/04/2021, 12:45pm CDT

On a chilly damp Sunday morning the Corny Dogs arrived with one thing on their collective mind. Playoffs. It would take help from other teams and likely a sweep from the good guys to get in. Unfortunately neither the sweep nor the help came to fruition and the Dogs season faded away along with the morning dew. Nonetheless a fun season for the Corny Dogs and their rookie captains. I certainly learned a lot and hope to have the opportunity again in the future.

Game 1: Corny Dogs at Flying Squirrels

The Softball Team on a Stick™ middle of the lineup got things started early. Taylor Abrego doubled, Miguel Duron used his elite speed to leg out an infield single, setting the table for the Barr/Parr combo to each drive in runs with singles of their own. Mitch Klaassen, taking a break from hitting doubles, also singled in a run to give the Dogs an early three run lead. The Squirrels answered with a five spot in the bottom half and it quickly became apparent these two teams clinging to hope were going to leave it all on the field.

Jim Finley got his day going with a sharp single, lefty Tommy Appligian and Ozzie Zurita each chipped in with hits and flipped the lineup. Tony Macaluso made it four straight hits with his RBI single. Duron had the big blast, a three run jimmy jack to give the Dogs back the lead. The pesky Squirrels would again answer to tie the game in the following inning and tacked on a couple insurance runs over the next two innings as the Corny Dog sticks went quiet. 

Trailing 9-7 heading into the fifth inning, Macaluso doubled and scored on an Abrego single. To cut the lead to one. This time the Squirrels were not able to answer. With the season on the line the Dogs bottom of the lineup came up huge in the final innings. Klaassen reached with an infield single on a very close play at first, Cesar Garza singled, Matt Roth blasted a double over the drawn in outfield, and Jim Finley smashed a triple to give the Dogs the lead for good. Brad Parr shut down the rodents in the bottom half to secure the win.


Before Game 2 it was picture time. Pretty good looking group.



Game 2: Flying Squirrels at Corny Dogs

With the Ducks dropping their opener, the Dogs would need a win and Tiburones loss to make it to the tournament. Unfortunately the offense sputtered out of the gate and new Squirrel pitcher Dustin Bone was wild and effective only surrendering back to back HRs from Abrego and Duron. Down 8-3 headed into the sixth the Corny Dogs knew it was now or never and strung together a gutsy five run inning against the patchwork defense. Macaluso led off the inning by drawing a walk, Abrego hit his second triple of the game to bring him in. Duron once again displaying his speed hit an inside the parker. Barr doubled to right and scored on a single by sub Brad Cox to bring the Corny Dogs within a run. About this time word of the Tiburones victory and subsequent Corny Dog elimination knocked the wind from the Dogs sails, and Operation Ketchup was halted. Dogs finished their season with a 10-8 loss.

Game 1

CANNON BALLERS - 16

Rubber Ducks - 1

The Cannon Ballers woke up early on the final Sunday of the regular season ready to do some duck hunting. Muck and crew were looking to paddle their way into the playoffs but showed up with their feathers slightly ruffled due to some stressful personnel issues. The Ballers came out shooting, with Dylan Ryno Hugs Hurt Me Buhrow leading off the bottom of the first with a double, followed by a walk for Big Lee McDonald. The sweet swinging Baby J (Buhrow highlight #1 on the day) then hammered a three-run homer over the duck pond to get the Baller offense flying. The third inning was almost a carbon copy as the first for the Baller bats. Back-to-back doubles by Dylan and Cuddles got it going, followed by another walk by Lee Keen Eye McDonald, set the table for the Bacon Man. Ryno came through with a big three run homer and the Ballers were filling their bags. The fourth inning provided the second Buhrow highlight of the day. The middle/bottom of the lineup started the at bat en fuego. Brink and Gumaro led off the at bat with singles, with Daniel Buhrow coming through with an RBI sac fly. Conn (RBI) and C Bass then both singled to load the bases. Up stepped young Dylan Buhrow, and he proceeded to hit a wicked slicing liner to RF that made its way to the fence. Dylan turned on the after burners and crossed the plate for an inside the park GRAND SLAM that would have made Willie, Jase, and Si proud. Ace Lee McDonald was masterful on the mound, holding a good hitting Ducks squad to one run!

Dylan Buhrow – 3 for 3, HR, two doubles, 4 RBIs, 3 runs scored

Baby J Buhrow – 3 for 3, HR, 3 RBIs, two runs scored

Brian Conn – 2 for 2, RBI, run scored

Ryno Alford – 2 for 3, HR (2), 4 RBIs, two runs scored

Game 2

Cannon Ballers - 21

Rubber Ducks- 10

The Cannon Ballers came out quick in the first with Big Lee McDonald (sac fly) and Ryno (2B) driving in the first two runs of the game. The Ballers only scored once in their second at bat, but it is worth noting how they did so. With two outs and the bases empty, Gumaro On Time Castillo produced a sweet line drive single. Then, Daniel Gran Palo Buhrow stepped into the duck blind and it was time for a show. He proceeded to hit an absolute shotgun blast to the fence in RCF for an RBI double (third Buhrow highlight of the day)! The Baller offense started firing on all gauges in their third at bat. Consecutive singles by C Bass, Dylan, and Cuddles, a walk by Big Lee, an RBI single by Ryno, an RBI walk by Baby J Buhrow, and a huge three RBI double by Jon Simo Simonson capped a seven-run effort. With the gamey Ducks trying to waddle back into the game, the Ballers put up another seven runs in the fourth to put the game on ice. After a quiet fifth, the Ballers offense decided to head into the playoffs with some offensive momentum. Cuddles and Big Lee led off the inning with back-to-back singles, and then the Pied Pig Piper drove them in with his third homer of the day. Baby J started it right back up with a single, and later in the inning and right on time, Gumaro Castillo blasted a double to the fence to cap the scoring for the Ballers. As usual, Ace Lee McDonald was steady on the bump and kept a motivated Ducks offense in check for the entire game.

Gumaro Castillo – 2 for 4, double, 2 RBIs, run scored

Jon Simo Simonson – 2 for 4, double, 5 RBIs, run scored

Daniel Buhrow – 1 for 4, double, RBI

Ryno Alford – 3 for 3, HR, double, 5 RBIs, 3 runs scored

BALLER WEEK 6 IPOWS

Dylan Buhrow – 6 for 7, HR (grand slam), 3 doubles, 2 singles, 4 RBIs, 6 runs scored from the lead of spot

Baby J Buhrow – 4 for 5, HR, 3 singles, BB (2), 5 RBIs, 5 runs scored

Gumaro Castillo – 3 for 7, double, 2 singles, 2 RBIs, 2 runs scored

Launching the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers – SportsLogos.Net News

Sharknado attacked twice and Tiburones clinched into playoff

By Alfredo Sardi& Jon Killburn 11/02/2021, 5:00pm CDT

Tiburones arrived to the field 3 on a chilly early morning with multiple combinations on the table to make the playoff. Yet they have one thing in mind and it was win 2 and are in the Playoffs!

The scenario was not going to be easy because they were missing their outfield leader Justin Reed due to an injure. Captain Sardi spent some hours of his Saturday trying to locate a sub until he was able to get the super sub Cody Strull who as soon as arrived to the field asked Captain Sardi for the correct pronunciation of the team name and the meaning of it.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

It was a brisk morning as we walked up to field 3 in a do or die situation!  The Tiburones were staring down the barrel of the no playoffs gun.  Would they be able to not only win one, but two against the division leading Storm Chasers?  A huge underdog moment, to say the least...  In a classic double header, game 1 would see the Tiburones start off with a bang.  A walk for Andy, followed by a fly ball to advance him from Sardi, would bring up our super sub Cody Strull (playing in relief of the injured Justin Reed), who would single.  Kilburn would walk, setting up Brad Earls who would drive in one with his double.  Setting up Enlow to clear the bases with a timely Home Run.  The inning would end with the Tiburones up by 5.  The second inning would see the Sharks not plate a single run but still up 5-0 heading into the top of 3.  The third inning would see the furry of the Sharknado, as the Tiburones would plate 10!  The Bottom would again flip the order with the bottom 3 hitters going 6-6 through 3 innings! The fourth would see the Storm Chasers wake up and score 6 to get back in the game.  Top of the 5th would see the Tiburones bottom AGAIN flip the order on 3 straight hits... a couple of SAC flies would see two more runs before the inning ended.  The Tiburones would plate one final run in the 6th, but would fight off a late rally by the Storm chasers.  Final score Tiberones 18, Storm Chasers 9.

Power Bottom:

Valentin Diaz 3-3, 2 RS, 1 Triple

Ian Contreras 3-3, 2 RS

Chris Peterson 2-2, 2 RS, 1 BB, 2 Singles

 

Bottom 3 hitters, 8-8 for 1000!

Remember I mentioned the multiple scenarios to clinched the playoff? Well, Tiburones were going to play their 2nd game with the necessity of winning so they will not need to be checking the scores on the other fields but the Storm Chasers were looking to take revenge.

The second game would start out with the Storm Chasers picking up where they left off and smashing the ball.  They would plate 5 before the inning half would come to an end.  The Tiburones would answer back with 4 of our own on a double by Andy, and a flurry of single by both Kilburns, Earls and Enlow, to plate 4.  the top of the second would see another 3 runs from the Storm Chasers.  The bottom of the second would see the "power bottom" for the Tiburones kick into gear again, with singles from Braun, Valentin and Contreras, and the inning would end with the Tiburones still down one.  The bottom of the 3rd would start off with a top of the net Home run from Kilburm and singles from Brad and Liam, but only 2 would cross... the chase continued as the Storm Chasers lead 10-9 going into the 4th. Valentin would lead off the bottom of the 4th with a single but get knocked off the bases on a Fielders Choice from Ian.  Chris "Crispy" Peterson would drive the ball to shallow Center Field moving the runners.  Andy would get a hit and score on a single from Cody Strull.  The inning would end and the teams would be knotted up 12 all. The Storm Chasers would tack on 3 to make it 15-12 going into the final inning.  With time gone the Tiburones faced a 3 run deficit with the bottom of the order due up again.   Not to be denied our sweep after a quick out from Barry, four singles in a row would load the bases  At this moment, "La Samba" and the fans were yelling the famous  chant "Si Podemos, Si podemos" (we can do it, we can do it).  Down 2 with the winning run on first a right field line shot from Andy would score all 3 needed runs.  Kudos to Chris Peterson to score from first, and narrowly beating the throw from the outfield. The whole team jumped into the field and celebrate that awesome walk off as they knew they were getting into the playoff!

Final score Tiburones 16, Storm Chasers 15.

Tiburones did what they need to do or what we called in Venezuela "La hombrada" and they clinched the playoff without needing to wait for other field results.

Power Bottom was great in both games and carried the team on these 2 great W!

Jonathan Braun 2-3, 2 RS, Double

Valentin Diaz 2-2, 2 RS, Walk

Ian Contreras 2-2, 3 RS, Walk

Chris Peterson 2-3, 2 RS

Bottom 4 hitters a combined 7-9! A whopping .778 in Game 2!

Great defense all day with some gems at the outfield by Braun "JB", Ian aka "Tio", Andy "I will clear the bases", Cody "super sub" Strull and captain Sardi. Also, Valentin "Tigre" did an awesome foul ball catch and Earls did a great job at the SS too.

One of the best moment of this games was after "JB" did a great catch at the RF fence and his 2 kids run to him after the inning was done to cheers with him. I love to see the joy of this kids and his dad every Sunday.

Tiburones will face the Padres on the 1st playoff round next week and hope to get Justin Reed back.

Fun Facts

Tiburones mascot name is "Tibu" and he is always chering the team on every home game witht he famous entertainment music group called "La Samba"

Estadio de los Tiburones de La Guaira no será del equipo, será del pueblo

 

 

BLUE ROCKS SWEEP - SECURE 2ND SEED IN LYNN DIVISION

By Kyle Casper 11/02/2021, 11:00am CDT

Blue Rocks Sweep Double Header!

The Blue Rocks opened game one with some solid defense and a solid 4 run bottom of the first, featuring a solo shot from Ryan Richardson, a Peter Hogan triple, and a Mark Phares 2 RBI triple. The Rocks collected another run in the third off another solo shot from Richardson, and another two runs in the fourth featuring base hits from Doc Levy and Seth Pepkin who would utilize clever baserunning to sneak in and score. The Blue Rocks grabbed their final two runs courtesy of base hits from Matt Rakofsky, captain Banta, and Dennis Brummet. The game finished 9-6. 

Ryan Richardson- 2-3, 2 HRs, 3 runs scored, 2 RBI

John Banta- 1-2, BB, RBI, 1 run scored

Dennis Brummet- 2-3, 2B, 1 run scored

Doc Levy- 1-1, BB, 1 run scored

In the second game of the double header, the Blue Rocks woke up their bats and tightened up their defense. The game ended 19-3 and featured a 10 run second inning for the Blue Rocks. Ryan Richardson hit his third and fourth home runs of the day, including a grand slam. Ryan Richardson, Peter HoganKyle Casper, and Dennis Brummet went 16 for 16 in the heart of the order, powering the offense to its 19 run total.

Ryan Richardson- 4-4, 2B, 2 HRs (grand slam), 5 RBI, 4 runs scored

Peter Hogan- 4-4, 2B, 3B, RBI, 4 runs scored

Kyle Casper- 4-4, 2 2Bs, 3RBI, 3 runs scored

Dennis Brummet- 4-4, 2 2Bs, 3B, 2 RBI, 2 runs scored

Seth Pepkin- 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI

Grayson Vick- 0-1, 2 BBs, run scored

The sweep propels the Blue Rocks healthily into the playoffs.

La Cueva del Leon - Week 8 Recap

By Leo Cova 11/01/2021, 10:15pm CDT

Editor Remarks

October is over and with that TSSL 2021 regular seasons, leaving players and subs ‘worried’ alike about when the sign-up process will start to secure a spot into the high-demand upcoming Spring 2022 season

About being ‘worried’, but in a good way, is the precise feeling for the remaining 96 players part of the teams that punched their ticket into the 2021 Fall postseason, as their championship journey has just begun. Congratulations, in alphabetical order to avoid any preferences, to the Blue Rocks, Cannon Ballers, Dragons, Padres, Tiburones, Tin Caps, Trash Pandas, and Storm Chasers. Best of luck fellow captains in these 3 weeks ahead!

Speaking of fellow players, throughout the previous editions of “La Cueva del Leon” (Lions Cave) articles I'd shared some of the best moments I’d had the opportunity to experience during this season with  multiple teams in the league, but for this the last article from ‘El Capitan’ in the foreseeable future I’ll like to recognize my fellow Leones teammates and the terrific session they put together thru the Fall, so please bear with me as I describe these great guys and gals with whom I’d the pleasure to share the field during this season

Andy Mabry – Generally we use the word ‘5 tools’ to describe the versatility and quality of a player in the field. If we ever needed to use an equivalent term to describe a best-in-class teammate, there is no doubt that the phrase will be ‘he is a Mabry’. Not only Andy is one of the best lead-off hitters in the league, a smart base runner, and a great defensive outfielder, but on top of that, he brings a unique energy and passion in every single game that energizes any squad! Watching him almost bursting into tears after we lost the first game (which automatically eliminated the Leones) speaks by itself the quality of individual you’ll have in your team

Reese Leonard – When you talk about a TSSL round # 1 picks, people have a natural tendency to turn their eyes into the player key power stats (HR, RBI’s, OPS, SLG, etc.) yet in my opinion, the real unhidden value of a first-round player is his leadership ability, as more often than usual captains will rely on this person to push the squad to the next level. Never had the pleasure to play with Reese before, but must say that after 16 great games there is no doubt that he is a true first-rounder, and no wonder why he was a 2011 NSA World Series All-Tournament player. Thanks for all you did for the Leones Reese!

Spencer Manz – Big Ryan Alford always says “once a Piggie always a Piggie” and boy is he right about that. The intangible things that bring playing with the Iron Pigs make elevate a player’s game to the next level in terms of intensity, smartness, and resilience, and Spence carries that out in his DNA. Not only he is one of the best defensive TSSL LCF’s and a real big threat at the plate capable to hit extra bases throughout the field, but he truly acknowledges the principle ‘you are as good as your next opportunity’ focusing to be the best he can be every time he has a chance. Had the pleasure to hit after him the entire season and will never forget our phrase ‘see ball hit ball’ taken from big Alford!

Matt Shwarts – If ever in need to let go of a bad game situation (error, poor at-bat, etc.) think no more and reach big Matty, one of the most relaxed yet game focused players you’ll ever play with, who always seeks to lift the spirit of the one feeling down after a negative game outcome. Have had the opportunity to play with Matt in many weekday leagues (and even in TSSL with the 2018 Eusay Orioles) and can only say that from the non-first rounder players out there, there is no better guy in this league with the ‘hidden’ leadership factor mentioned before than Matt!

Ashley Mort – One of the most common things you hear during the pre-draft conversations is the word ‘underrated’ to assess the value of players on lower rounds. A guy that genuinely defines that without any doubts is Ashley. And not just because the fact of finding a powerful and solid defensive outfielder in the 6th round is very low, but when you add constant clutch hitting, adaptability to play LF/RF interchangeably, and a positive dugout attitude then you realize how good of a steal you got at that round at and why Ashley is one of the best-hidden gems in this league!

Donnie Holtmann – Silent killer is generally a term used in a negative context, but when talking about softball this guy represents exactly the opposite. Donnie, also known as “Donnie Baseball”, is precisely the type of guy that will do all his talk with his skills: from powerful and clutch hitting to smooth fielding at the hot corner, Donnie always leaves his footprint in a game making a positive difference in the game result. There is a natural tendency in TSSL to say championships are won in the later rounds, well let me tell you something, Donnie is exactly the definition of that, as you won’t get much more value in those rounds than the one, he will bring to you!

Michael Barth – Fifty-one over forty-six is the ratio of Hall of Famers over the years in this league, meaning getting exalted to the TSSL immortal temple is not an easy task. And when you have the pleasure to play with one of those 51 guys, you realize no wonder why that number is so low, as combining integrity, brotherhood, sportsmanship, athletic ability, and leadership in a single person is really difficult. As one of those 51 guys, Mike simply has it all (and then some more!). Can spend hours writing about how an incredible person Michael is, but instead just want to say thank you for being such a great teammate and person with me and my family, and can only wish to play with you once again in the near future!

Omar Ovalle – A good number of words can be used to describe Omar’s performance in the field, but personally during this, my first season with him as a teammate, the two that stand the most were commitment and passion. If you saw a Leones game, then automatically you witnessed his passion in every at-bat, every play, and every time the team attempted a comeback (which were many by the way), to the extent that the league now recognizes his voice as a truly inspiring one. He is exactly the type of new talent we seek in TSSL from the rookie’s farm

Steve Johnson – Fast forward to 2045, and God permitting, I’m still playing TSSL ball, then can only wish I play half as good as Steve does! Don’t where to begin honestly, highlight his defensive qualities turning out double plays smoothly like 20 years old? Or should I mention how smart a hitter he is making sure to get on base in any way possible? Perhaps better to say the great teammate he is by proactively keeping the book (with not a single error!) making sure his captain focuses on the game? But none of those will be most remarkable than to recognize the gentleman he is. A true class act of a player!

Dorian Moore – In 2020 I learned from big Ryno the 2 things that all players control in the game: “Attitude and Effort” and let me tell you as a captain that is exactly what you expect the most from the players you draft for your team. If someone defined that for the Leones during this 2021 Fall season it was Dorian. Never had the pleasure to play with him before and I was greatly surprised by the effort he puts in every single time he was playing giving his best whether it was an at-bat, fielding, or even running (we witnessed that yesterday indeed after his injury!). Dorian definitely controlled that from day one of the season!

Alicia Shwarts – Perceived value is a somewhat subjective approach, but strongly believe a few can argue there is a player that brings more value-added to a team in this league than Alicia! Dugout attitude, playing effort, collaboration, league branding, community support, and one-of-a-kind teammate are just a few of the things that Alicia brings to any team she joins in this league. As well as with Matt I’d have the pleasure to play with Alicia during weekdays before and can only say if you haven’t played with her, you don’t what you are missing!

From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Andy, Reese, Spencer, Matt, Ashley, Donnie, Michael, Omar, Steve, Dorian, and Alicia for giving everything you had in every single game representing my childhood team the Leones!

At the diamond

If you have read previous ‘Cueva del Leon’ articles you’ll notice that epic battles have their fair share on the write-ups when describing the Leones games, but dear reader today this sentence was lifted to the next level during the 1st affair of the Leones – Tin Caps doubleheader. Please allow me to reconstruct what happened in the season-ending games for the feline squad

Field 4 around 1030am witnessed the best overall game of the season for the Leones when they hosted the Tin Caps in an elimination game for the home team. It all started with a scoreless 1st inning on both sides, giving the Tin Caps the opportunity to strike first with 2-runs in the 2nd inning which were counter from the Leones thanks to Cova’s leadoff double, Shwarts.M single and Mort’s sac fly to put the game 2-1 after 2.

The 3rd inning saw Tin Caps largest attack to the feline squad by scoring 3 runs which the Leones couldn’t answer back in the bottom part of the frame. But after holding scoreless the Tin Caps in the 4th, Leones started their comeback by scoring 3 runs in the bottom part thanks to rbi-singles from Barth and Johnson who brought home Shwarts.M and Mort to then capped to Moore sac fly to shorten the Caps lead to 6-4.

A 1-run 5th inning for the Tin Caps gave the Leones the opportunity to grab their first lead of the game by scoring 4 runs thanks to 4 rbi singles from Cova (1), Shwarts.M (2), Barth (1), and Ovalle (1) driving home Mabry and Leonard.

Tin Caps facing their last regular game at-bat of the game were able to tie the affairs to 8 in the 6th, and Leones were unable to answer back pushing to the 3rd extras of the season for the feline squad, the only thing this will last a little more than the other 2

Caps took the lead in the first extra frame by scoring 1-run, putting the pressure on the Leones to score if they wanted to stay alive, and so they did thanks to Cova’s lead-off triple brought home Mort’s sac fly tying the affairs at 9 apiece after 7th.

A scoreless second extra frame (8th), gave the Tin Caps the opportunity to grab once again the lead in the 9th by scoring 2-runs after 2 outs, putting once again all the pressure to the Leones to comeback in the bottom frame who couldn’t materialize any runs although they had the tying run on-base, which it ultimately eliminated the Leones from this Fall 2021 edition

After taking a well-deserved break from such an exhausting affair, Tin Caps and Leones faced each other again, having two completely opposite realities, one squad extremely happy as they just clinched a postseason ticket and another team demoralized after losing an extremely competitive game. And that was showing no doubt about it throughout the 2nd game, as both teams scored a total of 5 runs, yes you read that right, five runs!

On the Leones side, the only run was scored during the first frame thanks to Leonard double and Cova’s rbi-single. After that, Leones will not score a single run in the remaining 6th innings that were played, whereas the Tin Caps materialized 1 run in the 2nd inning, 2 runs in the 3rd, and 1 more run in the 6th, to wrap up the regular season of both squads. Congrats to the Tin Caps for a well-played double header!

Outstanding Leones

  • Andy Mabry – 4/7, R, 2B, BB and pushing the bases all day long!
  • Matt Shwarts – 4/7, 2R’s, BB, 2RBI’s and supporting teammates all day!
  • Leonardo Cova – 5/7, 3R’s, 2B, 3B, BB, RBI

 

Fun Fact

Did you know that the Leones del Caracas have 12 retired numbers including big leaguers Luis Aparicio (11), Chico Carrasquel (17), Tony Armas (20), Omar Vizquel (23), Andres Galarraga (41), Henry Blanco (24), Bo Diaz (25) and Vic Davalillo (2)?

TSSL Leones are flexible with that and allowed Steve Johnson (2) and Leo Cova (41) to wear those retired numbers!

Game 1

SC – 9

Tibs - 18

Even though the Storm Chasers usually like an early start, this was not that day. 6 of the first 7 batters for the Chasers in game 1 went down quickly putting up 0 in the first 2 innings for the first time all season. The Chasers having been so good about putting at least 3 up early found themselves in a deep whole they could never dig out of. Thanks to Super Sub Evan B, Brum and Austin for scoring 6 of the teams 9 runs between them to at least avoid a run rule and fight to the end.

Offensive highlights for the game (though all hit great in this game!):

Matt Brumley 2-3 with 1 Double, 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 RS to account for nearly half the teams runs

Sub Evan B 2-3 with 2 singles, 2 RBI and 2 RS

Austin Montgomery – 2-2 with 2 singles and 2 RS

 

Game 2

SC – 15

Tibs– 16

The Storm Chasers would not be embarrassed twice in one day and came out swinging in the first 2 innings putting up 8 runs this time instead of the goose egg the game before. This did wind up accounting for more than half the runs they would score in the game where we cam up just short by 1 when we could only muster 1 tun over 6 batters in the last inning. This was a much better hitting display by the Storm Chasers across the board, but the defense felt the pressure of shifting around to account for the loss of their 2 and their 4 and simply got beaten twice by the mighty Tiburones who obviously turned the party on to slip into that final playoff spot. Caps off to captain Sardi and his team for pulling off a scenario many would have thought unlikely to make it into the playoffs, well done!

Offensive highlights for the game:

Brumley 4-4 with 1 double, 1 triple, 2 RBI and 3 RS

Zimmerman – 2-3 with 1 single, 1 double, 1 RBI and 2 RS

Ron Roberts – 2-3 with 2 singles and 1 RS

Impact Players of the Week:

Matt Brumley – 6-7 with 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 6RBI and 5 RS

Super Sub Evan Berkowitz – 4-6 with a triple, 3 RBI and 3 RS

Austin Montgomery – 4-5 with a double and 3 RS

Dragons Sweep Division, Claim #1 Seed

By Keith Dlott 11/01/2021, 5:00pm CDT

On a perfect Sunday morning, with division namesake David Lynn on hand, the Dragons were one win away from claiming the division title.  Having not lost since division play started, a twin bill against the mighty Aguilas was on tap to try and secure the division and the overall #1 seed.

The Dragons fought their way to a 10-7 win in game one, behind Daryl Drake’s 3-3, 2 HR, 6 RBI performance.  Game two also went the Dragons way, 15-8.  Homers by Ari Loiben, Drake, and sub Jason “Chappy” Chapman led the way along with the last three hitters going a combined 7-9.

Impact Players of the Season:

Daryl Drake:  The Dragons infield captain completed a statistically insane season with 3 more HRs and 11 RBI on Sunday.  His season line:  .800 BA, 1.980 SLG, 2.776 OPS, 16 HR, 9 2B, and 56 RBI.  While those stats are a significant part of the Dragons success, Daryl is the consummate team player.  Daryl backed up the offensive onslaught with killer play at SS.

Gary Frank:  While Gary didn’t maintain the .900 BA he had after three weeks, he did finish close to .600.  All singles, but one of the most meaningful hits of the year was a 2-run triple into the wind that capped a big comeback.  Gary’s steady dugout presence and ability to help keep Daryl Drake’s ego in check are key.

Sheldon Fulton:  Sheldon is the silent killer.  Great guy, doesn’t say much, but comes to play.  Spectacular in RCF, but can play anywhere.  Strong stick and now holding down the leadoff spot.  Patience at the plate and will get on base any way possible.  Batted >.550 with a 1.4 OPS.

Zak Edgerton:  Is he a bowler or a softball player?  He’s both!  Zak is an outstanding defensive player and has played a mix of 2nd and 3rd.  A streaky hitter at the beginning of the season has progressed into a wonderfully consistent threat.  Batted nearly .550 and led the team in fashion, always sporting a Dragons bucket hat.

Ari Loiben:  Stellar play all season long in LCF.  Not sure anyone enjoys being at the fields more than Ari.  Of his 22 hits, he had 9 2B, 4 3B, and 3 HRs.  As the Dragons outfield captain, he communicates with Fulton and Adwild Perez to ensure everyone is in the right place.  Infectious leadership.

Kevin Knox:  Mr. November gave the Dragons a great fall season!  Batted over .500 and put 3 balls out.  Knoxie has alternated between 2nd and 3rd and plays great defense no matter where he’s at.  Great dugout presence and knows this league’s hitters.  

Tim Kaminski:  Great protection for Drake.  Tim had 7 HR and 26 RBI in the regular season and is due to breakout in the playoffs.  If there’s a Gold Glove to be had at first base, it’s Tim.  With a large frame and long reach, just get the ball near him and he’ll take care of the rest.  Tim epitomizes brotherhood and what it’s like to be a great teammate.

Ray Darragh:  Dragons captain Keith Dlott dubbed Darragh the “Swiss Army Knife” early in the season.  Willing and capable to play any position and always gives 100%.  Ray truly only cares about winning.  Ray tied for the team lead in walks, which demonstrates his patience at the plate.  With his get on base any way possible mindset, Ray rose several spots in the batting order.

Adwild Perez:  Here’s a challenge.  Try to find Adwild not smiling...it’s hard to do.  Perez held down left field all year with one exception.  With Fulton out early in the season, Adwild was asked to give RCF a go.  He absolutely locked it down.  Timely hitting and good base running along with steady defense is what you get here.  

John Unell:  Not sure there is a more consistent pitcher in the league.  When John needs to throw a strike, he throws one.  With John’s knowledge of nearly every player in the league, he’s quick to move the defense around.  All season John has provided excellent mentoring of the first-time Dragons captain.  It’s an honor for all Dragons to play with John.  As for his offense

Kendal Anthony:  If your book on Kendal is that he’s shaky in right field, your book is wrong.  Kendal played nearly every inning of every game in right field and made catch after catch after catch.  One mistake all year, but the rest has been solid as a rock.  Anthony’s hitting has been erratic, but he’s going to build off his 3 for 3 performance in the last game of the season.  Kendal is another “just tell me what I can do to help the team” player.

Jerry Rogers:  What a treat Jerry is to have on the team.  His calming demeanor and timely hitting make him a great pick.  Jerry has shown tremendous patience, walking 5 times this season.  It also seems as though every hit is a very timely hit, starting off a rally.  Defensively, Jerry is always where he needs to be around home plate and never throws the ball around.  

Subs:  Thanks to all the subs who came out and contributed to a strong regular season!

Squirrel Playoff Hopes Fall Short

By John Miller 10/31/2021, 2:15pm CDT

The Flying Squirrels entered the final weekend of the regular season with an outside shot of making the playoffs but needed to win two against the Corny Dogs plus get some help from other teams.

Game 1 got off to a quick start, tied at 7 after 2. Big hits were a two run single from Randy Ransom, a two run dinger from Troy Steele and another RBI single from Ransom. The Squirrels led the rest of the way, carrying a slim 9-8 led into the final inning. A four run uprising from the Dogs gave them the W and ended the Squirrel playoff hopes 12-9.

Game 2 saw the Squirrels playing looser as defensive positions were jumbled and Dustin Bone took to the mound and pitched very well. The Squirrels prevailed 10-8. Big hits came from Tim Jamieson with an RBI double, a two run single from Dustin Bone and a two run single from Brian Ortega.

The Squirrels had a well balanced attack today as Tim Jamieson led the way with 4-7, 3 doubles, 2 runs and 2 RBI’s. Robbie Franklin and John Miller went 3-5 and Dustin Bone and Brian Ortega 3-6. That ends the season for the Flying Squirrels with a disappointing win-loss record but another great Shalom season nonetheless.  

  • Around the Pond

  • By Coach Duck 06/01/2021, 9:15am CDT
  • Two rough outings for the Ducks this week, but even in the losses, highlights were to be found.  
  • Read More