PPBA Champions

Red Sox players and coaches rejoice outside of their dugout after beating the Dodgers 12-7 to win the PPBA Mustang Division championship last Thursday afternoon at the Field of Dreams. The Dodgers won 3-1 the previous day to force a deciding game.
Photo: Steve Galluzzo

Red Sox Win Pinto and Mustang Divisions; Orioles Claim Bronco Title

By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor

Another thrilling season for the Pacific Palisades Baseball Association ended last week on the diamonds at the Palisades Recreation Center’s Field of Dreams complex and the first champion to be crowned was the Red Sox in the Pinto Division ages (7-8).

After victories over the Phillies, Cardinals and Orioles, Dave Ludwig’s Red Sox emerged from the winner’s bracket with a chance to wrap up the title Tuesday in a rematch against the Cardinals.

Red Sox batter Will Monaco singles in the Mustang finale versus the Dodgers.
Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

The Red Sox plated four runs in the third inning to to take the lead for good and won 10-4.

“Our kids grew tremendously,” Ludwig said. “In the last two playoff games, no one struck out. Everyone consistently hit the ball and found a way to get on base.”

Nate Rothman had four RBIs and Tomas Murphy added two and Rothman pitched four innings for the Red Sox, who lost three games all season, once to the Cubs and twice to the American League winning Orioles, but  avenged the Orioles losses with a 7-5 triumph in the postseason.

Everyone on the roster contributed to the team’s title: Rothman, Murphy,  Charles Croxall, Toby Daneshrad, Marlon Dunn, Henry Hill, Becker Ludwig, Jackson Mitchell, Jack Prokop, Isaac Spiess, Grant Tyler, Hoyt Wilmott and Alexander Wingfield.

The Bronco Division (ages 11-12) came down to the deciding game but in the end the team with the best record in the regular season came out on top—Coach Matt Dorband’s Orioles, who won five straight games battling through the loser’s bracket to win the title.

The Orioles met the Dodgers in the championship series and won the first game Tuesday 17-6, pounding  out 12 hits. Beckett Hoffman drove in five on three hits and stole two bases against the team that had upset the Orioles 9-5 earlier in the playoffs.

Isaac Spiess of the Red Sox fires to first base in last Tuesday’s clinching win.
Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

Max Dorband got the start on the mound and did not allow a hit in two innings. Dash Dreher and Luke Connon had multiple hits.

The second game Thursday was a 7-2 win for the Orioles, who took the lead in the fourth inning on an RBI single by Connon that started a five-run rally. Dorband pitched four innings, allowing two runs on three hits, striking out four and walking one.

The Orioles scored more runs  than any team in the league (194), allowed the second fewest to the Phillies and finished with 20 wins and would not have won the title if not for the efforts of Jet Gross, Owen Andrews, Hawkie Idelson, Nathan Turk, Jay Johnson, Matt O’Connor, Brendan O’Malley and Jack Thomas.

In the Mustang Division (ages 9-10), the Red Sox stranded runners at first and third in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s 3-1 defeat to the Dodgers, forcing a deciding game the next afternoon.

After observing how nervous his players were before the first game, Red Sox Coach Kevin Monaco brought his amp to the field and played music during pregame warmups to keep his team loose for the rematch. It worked, as the Red Sox played more relaxed and  scored four runs in each of the first two innings to build an 8-5 lead, then tacked on three runs in the top of the fourth to go ahead 11-6 on their way to a 12-7 triumph.

The Orioles celebrate moments after the last out of last Thursday’s PPBA Bronco Division championship game against the Dodgers at the Field of Dreams. The Orioles prevailed 7-2.
Photo: Steve Galluzzo

“The bottom of the order got on base, then the top of the order drove them in,” said Monaco, whose son Will pitched the final two innings to preserve the win. “The boys learned from Wednesday and didn’t let their emotions get the best of them Thursday. Getting runs early was huge. Our pitching and our defense were the keys to our success throughout the playoffs. Oliver O’Donnell would start and pitch three innings, Jason Toomire would go one and Will would go the last two, but on Thursday we needed Walter Sibson to get an out in the fourth and he did the job to set up Will after making great plays at shortstop.”

Also contributing throughout the team’s championship run were Thomas Fay, Malek Shamonki,  Mason Cohen, Aleco Ulloa, Clyde McCommon, Joshua Spiess, Jesse Wolfson and Sam Roberts.