Posted by Dan Wukmir on Sep 19 2015 at 05:00PM PDT
Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #21
Game: September 20, 2015
Buzzards dominate Solons in championship game, 18-1
The Gold County Buzzards are champions of the world of Sacramento NABA ol' men's baseball for the third straight year. The Buzzards dominated in every aspect of the game in the match-up of the first and second place yeams for the men's 52-years and over baseball crown with an 10-1 win. The 17-3 regualr season was capped by a finale showing off the same Buzzard strengths that were displayed during the year: excellent pitching, fabulous defense and big, strong bats.
The ol'man division's game was the first of the day for Playfields Park, so at 10 am with a slight breeze and temperatures heading toward 96º, the game began. The starting pitcher for the Solons was the tough lefty, Tom 'Foz" DeFazio #31. Taking the hill for the home team Buzzards was the heat throwing right-hander, Taylor 'Welzy' Welz #26. Welzy was 4-0 this season in eight appearances and struck out 31 batters in 31 innings.
The Buzzards made quick work of the Sacramento Solons in the top of the first on eight pitches with two K's and a ground-out. The offense showed up right away with Welzy leading off with an infield looper that landed in no-man's land between the mound and first base for a single. On the play, Foz tried the slide-scoop-toss move, but it got past big Frank and his huge glove and hands at first base, which allowed T-Welz to take second base. Batting next, Dave 'Evy' Everingham smashed the 1-0 pitch to right-center for a sliding double that put both runners in scoring position. Jim 'Milli' Milligan followed with a hot liner to left-field to score both Buzzards. With one out, Tom 'Tomahawk' Keatley slapped a grounder up the middle for a single to station Buzzards on the corners.
Up next, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir walked on a full-count to load the bases. Fred 'Freddy' O' Donoghue followed with a bouncer to the left-side that the shortstop rushed for an error and a run scored. Batting next, Kelly 'Cagey' Garcia hit a high pop-up behind the first baseman heading to short-right field and down the line. The ump yelled “infield fly-rule, if fair” on the tough play. The ball landed fair by about six inches and was way out of reach of the first baseman, but the play was declared an out as Tomahawk scored from third base with the fourth run of the opening frame.
The Gold Country gang then set out to demolish and demoralize the Solons with five more runs in the bottom half of the second dig. Welz led off with a high chopper to third base. He beat-out the throw by a half-step for an infield single. Evy took first with a base-on-balls to put two runners on. Milli then crushed the 1-1 offering to deep left-center to score Welzy and a hustlin' Evy from first before the throw from the outfield got a sliding Milli at second. Mark 'Thunder' Weathers followed with a sharp single to center-field for a hit.
One out later, Wookie hit a high looper to right-center-field that fell in for a single. Freddy then walked on five pitches to load the bases before Cagey slammed a single to left to score Tomahawk. Up next, Kevin 'Flash' Krantz followed with a flare into left-field for a hit to score Wookie and leave the bases loaded for a salivating Welzy. Taylor was not given much good to hit and walked on a 3-2 pitch to push in the fifth run of the inning for a nice 9-0 lead at the end of the second inning.
The Solons changed pitchers during the second inning and put in the easy throwing righty, John 'Freckles' Hagen #24. After the second inning, the Buzzards were miss-timing Hagen's pitches for ground-outs and fly-outs for the next three frames, meanwhile Welzy was throwing a shut-out at the Solons to keep the big lead.
The greedy Ol' Buzzards added to the bag of runs with five more to put the game on ice in the sixth. Freddy started it off with the almost always deadly lead-off walk. Cagey then got on base via an E-6. Next, Flash hit a rocket shot into the sun and blinded the center-fielder for a hit to load the bases. Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri entered the game and promptly doubled to right-center on the first pitch to score two runs. Batting next, Welzy laced a single down the left-field line for a run. Evy knocked in the next run with a grounder to first base, and then Millie hit a high bouncer to shortstop to score Welzy from third with the last run. The score after six innings of play was 14 to zip.
The Solons finally scored a run in the seventh inning on three singles to make the score 14-1. The Buzzies showed no mercy and added two more runs in the bottom half of the seventh. Tomahawk led-off with a smoking liner to left-center. After an out, Freddy hit a high-fly that was lost in the sun by the center-fielder for a single. With Cagey up, the pitcher balked sending in Tomahawk from third and moving the runner to second. Kelly then pulled the 3-2 pitch down the third base line for a run-scoring single. Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny entered the game and lined a single to right-field putting runners at first and second. Up next, Salmo hit a ground-huger through the left-side for a base hit before the inning ended on two nice defensive plays with the score 16-1 Buzzards.
The Buzzards finished off the game and season with two more runs in the last at-bats of the season in the bottom of the eighth. Millie walked on a full-count to lead-off the inning. Thunder launched a moon shot to deep left-field for an easy run-scoring double. With one out, 'Blue' Barry Forman moved into the batter's box. Blue stroked the ball to deep left-center to knock in Thunder with the last Buzzard run of the year, but was thrown out in a close play at second base to settle for a single.
The Solons went quietly in the ninth and the Buzzards successfully defended their championship title with the 18-1 thumping. The nine-inning game lasted three hours and 15 minutes, which was followed by high-five celebrations, trophy presentations and team photos.
This was a dominating performance by the Buzzards, as was much of the 2015 season. The orange and black showed class and composure, as well as an excellent brand of baseball all year. Another great day to be a Buzzard.
Buzzard pitching combined with a solid defense gave the Solons no chance. Even though Welzy was pitching a shut-out after six innings, the team was too far ahead and classy to push for a shut-out. Taylor faced 22 Solons and threw 74 pitches (47 strikes & 27 balls). Welz gave up zero runs on four hits with one walk and three strike-outs in the six shut-down innings. Salmo pitched the seventh and eighth frames and threw 40 pitches (24 strikes & 16 balls) in facing 10 batters. Rick gave up one run on three hits with one walk and one strike-out.
One of the hits was a controversial infield, sun-blinding, pop-up that was ruled a hit since no infielder was able to see the evil pop-up until it hit the ground. Surf Dawg finished off the Solons in the top of the ninth. Novotny threw 19 pitches (10 strikes & 9 balls) while facing five Solons. Gregg gave up no runs on two hits. The Solons had nine hits and two walks for their total offense.
The Ol' Buzzards offense was potent and relentless. The 18 runs were a result of 23 hits, six walks and three errors. The hit club for the championship game included: Blue Barry, Cagey-3, Evy, Flash-2, Freddy-2, Millie-2, Salmo-2, Surf Dawg, Thunder-2, Tomahawk-3, Welzy-3, and Wookie. The ribbies were served-up by: Blue, Cagey-3, Evy-2, Flash, Millie-4, Salmo-2, Thunder, Tomahawk, and Welzy-2. The 18 runs were scored by: Cagey, Evy-2, Flash, Freddy-3, Millie-2, Salmo, Thunder, Tomahawk-3, Welzy-3, and Wook. The five eagle-eyed Buzzards earning six free-passes to first base were: Evy, Freddy-2, Millie, Welzy, and Wookie. The offense had another good day and hammered the Solon pitching force for most of the game.
The defense played extremely well under the pressure of a championship game and with the extra distractions of wives, girlfriends, family and buddies during a game. Of the 27 outs, there were four strike-outs and only one double play.
With one on and one out in the sixth, Welzy snagged the hard hit liner headed for a single up the middle. Taylor then quickly threw the ball to Thunder at first base to nail the runner off of the bag for the second out of the double play.
There were six fly-ball outs in the game. Cagey had three put-outs in left-field. The first one was a hard sinking line drive toward the foul line that took a running catch with an out-stretched right glove to catch Gilberto's hooking liner. The second put-out was a routine fly-ball, looking into the sun, in the third dig. And the third fly-out was a sinking flare to left that was snared at the shoe top by a hustlin' Cagey to end the fifth. Flash made his running catch in center-field for the final out of the seventh inning with Solons moving on the bases. Tomahawk had his two put-outs in back-to-back plays in the fifth frame. The first one was a 'can of corn' in right-field for the first out of the inning, while the second out required a good jump on the ball and hustle to flag it down in short right-center for a nice catch.
The infield played solid and added some interesting bounces and diving back-hands to the regular mix of plays in a game. Thunder was busy and had eight put-outs at first base with one, the last out of the game, as an unassisted grounder hit to first. Freddy started at third and had two assists. Surf Dawg had no assists playing third base, but had one from the mound in the ninth inning. Evy had an impressive diving back-hand grab in the fourth frame to go with his three other assists and two put-outs. Wookie covered second base for six innings and was busy with three assists and four put-outs. Welzy grabbed three put-outs and two assists while pitching and playing second base. Millie caught most of the game and guided the pitchers through the season finale, while collecting four put-outs. Freddy finished up the game behind the plate. The game coaches were the injured Pete Von Zboray and Norm Tucker.
The fifth frame was all fly ball outs for the first time this season, while the fourth had some sparkling plays to demoralize the Solons. After a routine grounder (4-3) for the first out, Foz singled to right. Gilberto of the Solons then smashed a grounder to Freddy's left. The ball deflected off of Freddy's glove to Evy at short. Evy gloved the ball and threw a strike to Wookie at second base for the close force-out play and a 5-6-4 out.
With Gilberto at first, Tim 'Lanky' Mosbarger then slapped a grounder into the left-side hole. Evy dove to his right and back-handed the ball for a spectacular grab. Evy quickly came to his knees and from a long ways threw an off-target throw to Wook covering second. The Wookster was able to show-off a vertical leap of at least 12 inches while back-handing the high throw, and tap his left foot on the base while sailing over and past the bag for the exciting 6-4 out. The back-to-back plays – the deflected bounce play and the diving defensive gem were like daggers into the offensive spirit of the Solons. Then in the fifth, the outfield covered everything for the only 1-2-3 inning of the game.
A great game to play and win, but sadly it was the last Buzzard game of the year. And double sadly, Dave Kelley was not here to enjoy the Buzzard championship, and the season dedicated to his memory.
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