Devils take over top spot via statistical edge; take both ends of home and away v. Otters

Dave Larson’s Taz Devils moved into statistical tie for first place, improving to 14-8 with a home-and-away sweep of Jonathan Stilwell’s Otters (9-21). The Devils have a .636 winning percentage, .003 better than the Beefers (19-11), but are one game behind in the standings.

Both teams put their best foot forward on offense. The Otters hit .257 in the series with four doubles and three homers. The Devils hit .268 with three doubles and three homers. 

Game 1 Devils 4, Otters 3

Adam Wainwright (Devils) vs. Jose Berrios (Otters) at Oshkosh.

Berrios was tough on the visitors, pitching five scoreless innings. The Otter jumped out with two in the bottom of the first on a Freddie Freeman moon shot. The homies did add a single run in the fourth when Jake Cronoworth doubled home Junior Gurrell. The Tazzies caught a break in the sixth when Mookie Betts scored when Berrios fired a grounder down the first baseline. After a walk and hit by pitch, Betts hit his first round-tripper of the year, Devils go up, 4-3. A pair of Devils relievers saved Wainwright’s first win of the season. 

Devils 4-6-3  W- Wainwright (1-3)  Sv- Hendriks (5)  HR- Betts (1)

Otters 3-7-1  L- Rodriquez  HR-Freeman

Gm 2  Devils 10, Otters 6

Jose Uriquidi (Otters) vs. Lance Lynn (Devils) at Tazland

The home squad struck first with an unearned in the first, courtesy of an Urquidi error. Aaron Judge drove the run home. The Otters game right back with a pair in the second when Yaz Grandal singled home Gurrell and Cronoworth. The visitors tied the game at 3-3 when Cory Seager hit a solo dinger in the top of the third. 

The Devils came back with three in the fourth on a Michael Brantley home run. The Otters weren’t done as Grandal hit a solo homer in the fifth to close the game to 5-4. The Tazzies got the up to 6-4 when the homies got three singles, the third by Xander Bogaerts, driving home Paul Goldschmidt 

The Otters wouldn’t give up, cutting the lead down to 7-6 in favor of the Devils. The bottom of the seventh saw the Tazzies break the game open when Starting Marte doubled home Nicky Lopez and Goldie followed with a home run. The Devil bullpen finished off the game for Lynn’s first win. Freddie Freeman had four singles in the game and the Devils killer, Cory Seager, had a pair of doubles to go with his homer. 

Otters 6-12-1  L-Uriquidy  HR- Seager, Grandal.

Devils 10-13-2  W-Lynn (1-3)  HR- Goldschmidt (5), Brantley (2)

Beefs stun Whatevers with four-game sweep; take over first place by two games

Rod Caborn’s Beefers stunned Walt Taylor’s Whatevers Friday afternoon (May 13) with a four-game sweep on the road at the Whatevers Whoville Stadium. The four wins lifted the Beefers into a two-game lead over Dave Larson’s Taz Devils (12-8) and dropped the Whatevers into fourth place at 9-11, with Craig Dolan’s Tsunamis moving up a notch into third place (13-13).

Three of the games were decided in extra innings in what was a hard-fought series for both teams. The three extra-inning games could have gone either way. The Beefs hit .208 for the series and the Whats hit .209. The big difference was in the power stats, with the Beefs piling up 10 homers and 19 extra-base hits compared to the Whats, who had 12 extra-base hits and five homers.

Game 1   Beefers 2, Whatevers 1 (10 innings)

Chris Bassit (Beefs) v Shohei Ohtani (Whats). Shohei Ohtani, backed up by a 1-0 lead on a Joey Votto home run looked like he might throw a no-hitter, getting into the eighth inning when Beef 2b Marcus Semien walked, stole second and third, and then scored on the first Beefer hit in the game, a pinch-hit RBI double by Carlos Correa tying the game at 1-1. In the top of the 10th, Correa walked and scored two batters later on an RBI single by Myles Straw. Andrew Kitteridge earned the win in relief.

Beefers 2-3-0   W-Andrew Kitteridge 2-1. 

Whats   1-4-0    L-Adam Cimber 3-1. HR Joey Votto #9.

Game 2  Beefers 3, Whatevers 2 (10 innings)

Max Scherzer (Beefs) v Lance McCullers, Jr. (Whats). The Whats, behind Lance McCullers, took a middle inning 2-0 lead on a Jorge Polanco home run and an RBI double by Whit Merrifield, but the Beefers got a run back in the sixth on a HR by Matt Olson and tied the game 2-2 in the ninth on a HR by Kyle Schwarber. In the top of the 10th, Jose Ramirez greeted What reliever Jordan Romano with a homer. Beef closer Raisel Iglesias blanked the Whats in the bottom of the frame to earn the win.

Beefers 3-5-1   W-Raisel Iglesias 2-1. HR Jose Ramirez #6, Kyle Schwarber #5, Matt Olson #7. 

Whats    2-7-1   L-Jordan Romano 1-1. HR Jorge Polanco #3.

Game 3    Beefers 10, Whatevers 4

Frankie Montas (Beefs) v Walker Buehler (Whats). Holding a 4-1 lead after six innings, the Beefers broke the game open in the seventh on a Bryce Harper solo HR and a three-run HR by Carlos Correa to make it 8-1. The Whats tried to come back in the bottom of the inning on a 2R HR by Vlad Guerrero, Jr., but  the Beefs tacked on two more scores in the ninth on a two-run blast by Marcus Semien to make it 10-4 in the only game in the series that was not particularly close. 

Beefers 10-11-2  W Frankie Montas 2-1. HR Bryce Harper #3, Matt Olson #8, Marcus Semien #7, Carlos Correa #3.

Whats    4-9-1     L-Walker Buehler 1-2. HR Vlad Guerrero, Jr. #8.

Game 4   Beefers 4, Whatevers 3 (11 innings)

Julio Urias (Beefs) v Lucas Giolito (Whats). Beefer Marcus Semien’s second HR of the game in the 11th inning, off Emannuel Clase, gave the Beefs a hard-fought 4-3 win and a series sweep. The Beef took an early 3-0 lead on solo HRs by Jose Ramirez, Semien, and Bo Bichette, but the Whats quickly tied things 3-3 up in the fourth on a solo HR by Yuli Gurriell, followed by a walk to Guerrero and a 2R HR by Shohei Ohtani. Both bullpens then came to the fore, holding each team scoreless until Semien’s game winning HR in the 11th

Beefers 4-10-0  W-Andrew Kitteridge 3-1. HR Jose Ramirez #7, Marcus Semien 2 HRs (including game-winner) #8-#9, Bo Bichette #1.

Whats   3-11-0  L-Emannuel Clase 0-2. HR Yuli Gurriel #1, Shohei Ohtani #6.

OAPBA’s origins revealed; a look into the past provided by Joel Prinsell

OAPBA launched its 34th season in February, but the story of how the league started and grew has always been somewhat vague. Thanks to one of the league’s four Founding Fathers, Joel Prinsell, we now know precisely when the league began and how it moved forward during its inaugural campaign. Here’s Joel’s account of the league’s startup:

On Feb. 24, 1988, thirty-three years ago today, or, if any of us want to feel even older — a third of a century ago, the Orlando APBA league commenced its inaugural regular season schedule.  

Attached for posterity are the scoresheets from the first two 2-game series played by the four original franchises – the Tourists, managed by Steve Lorman; the Platoon, managed by Joe Passiatore; the Metropolitans, managed by Bryant Applegate, and the Highlanders, managed by me.  (Sorry, but a few of the attached PDF pages might be upside down, sideways, etc.)

A couple of weeks before the opening games, the teams had held a 25-round snake draft, where Kirby Puckett was selected by the Metros with the first overall pick.

The Tourists won Game #1, 5-0, over the visiting Highlanders. Nolan Ryan (who’s he?!) threw a one-hitter with 7 K’s, with Jeff (?) Reardon pitching the last 2 outs. Mike (?) Scott took the loss. Ryne Sandberg was the league’s first whiff victim. Tony Gwynn was the first player to reach base (how fitting), with a BB (but was caught stealing by “Spanky” LaValierre).  Ozzie Smith had the league’s first hit (a single), the first SB, and scored the first run.  Robin Yount had the first error.  But the star of the game was Benito Santiago, who went 3-3, had the league’s first RBI (plating Ozzie), first extra-base hit (a 2B), and first HR. 

The Highlanders came back to win Game #2, the nightcap of the doubleheader, 6-1.

The next day, the Platoon swept the Metropolitans in Games #3 and 4, 6-5 and 2-1.  Although the Metros got off to a rough 0-3 start, they ended the regular season with the best record. 

Two or three years later, the Beefers, managed by Rod, and the Taz Devils, managed by Dave, joined the league, and the rest is history — the longest running APBA league. 

2022 OAPBA First Half standings through May 15

CumulativeWLPctGB
Beefers 1911.633
Taz Devils128.6361
Tsunamis1313.5004
Whatevers911.4505
Otters921.30010

The Beefers (19-11, with their surprising sweep over Walt Taylor’s Whatevers (9-11), have revamped the standings and put the Beefs into the first half lead, but only one game in front of Dave Larson’s Devils, who took both ends of their home and away series on Sunday, May 15. In a statistical quirk, however, the Devils lead by percentage points, however, .636-.633.

Craig Dolan’s Tsunamis have continued to rise in the standings and are in third place, one game ahead of the Whats, who were swept in their last series by the Beefs . The slumping Otters (9-21 )are resigned to the cellar for the remainder of the first half, but are still a threat and are in a position to serve the role as a spoiler for any of the front-runners.