In Ancaster Vets Slo-pitch action, the Braves capped their record-breaking season with a convincing playoff run. The Braves edged the Orioles 12-11 after falling behind 6-0 in the first inning. Geoff Burman and Chuck Paglia pitched a terrific game, with help from the superb fielding of Rob Cavalieri, remarkable stretching ability of first-sacker Bob Harper and Len Brandino’s great coverage at third, making up for the absence of defensive anchor Mark Cheshire. Claudio Sardo, Chris Chevalier and Brian Carey wielded strong bats, and Tim Blore sacrificed his body to make a diving catch.
Rob McKenzie, Brian McKeown and Frank Accomando hammered the ball for the Orioles, keying the first inning rally.
The Braves then went on to eke out a tough 11-10 win over the red-hot Indians to take the championship and win their record 24th game against only two defeats. Tim Blore shook off his injury and had a perfect game with the stick. Reliable Don Nikulka was perfect as well. Bob Harpur and captain Brian Carey shut down the Indians with a classic double play.
Paul McKinney led the Indians with a two-run blast over the fence in the third, and Darren Stockley robbed Chuck Paglia of a hit with a behind-the-back catch.
The Indians won two games earlier in the day to earn the right to face the Braves in the final. Bill Pridmore’s tribe beat the Dodgers 7-4 behind the hard hitting of sluggers Bill Irvine and Ian Johnson.
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Ron Lacroix kept the Dodgers off the scoresheet with brilliant pitching, and John Delaney made many fine plays at short, including a double play. Highlights for the Dodgers included a scintilating catch in centre field by playoff hero Paul Bolduc and two slick outfield force-outs by John Sullivan. Des Dufresne, Phil Tiessen and Tony Salerno hit the ball hard for the Dodgers.
The Tribe then hammered the hard-luck Orioles 21-11. The entire team hit well, especially Bruce Lawson, Paul McKinney, John Delaney, Bill Irvine, Ian Johnson, Mike Berryman and Mike Meur who each belted three hits. Dave Skrzek, Ron Lacroix, Dave McInnis, Darren Stockley and venerable Bill Pridmore cracked two each. Rob McKenzie shone all over the infield for the Orange Birds, and Brian McKeown flashed the cowhide in the outfield. Outfielder Dave Sawatzky took one for the team and made a great catch.
Congratulations to the victorious Braves and their manager Brian Carey, who has come close many times in the last few years. The players thank the umpires for a terrific job. Distinguished veteran Casey Ciere and Rob Robichaud worked long and hard to ensure fair calls. It was another fine year for the league, thanks to Bill Pridmore’s hard work and leadership.
Players also wish Jay Howes a speedy recovery. It has been wonderful to see him out to watch his teammates play and the hope to see him back soon, with a smile on his face and a glove in his hand.