Otters finish first half with a flourish; take both ends of home and away with Whats

Jonathan Stillwell’s rebuilding Otters wound up the first half on a positive note Saturday, wining on the road and at home to take both ends of the home-and away series from Walt Taylor’s Whatevers. The sweep gave the Otters a 12-28 record to finish the first half. The Whatevers, with six games left, all against the Tsunamis, fell to 15-19.

Game 1 Otters 11, Whatevers 2 (13 innings) at Whatevers   

Flexen (Otters) v Ohtani (What).

The Whats scored first with a rbi single by Ohtani. Cronenworth drove in Acuna to tie in the second. Kiner-Falefa SF in the fourth gave the Whats a brief lead.In the sixth, the Otters scored three to take the lead on a solo homer by Mullins and a two run blast by Acuna. A solo homer by Guerrero in the sixth pulled the Whatevers to within one. In the seventh, the Whats got back to back doubles by Polanco and Merrifield to tie it and a Will Smith single made it 5-4. A Tucker rbi double in the eighth tied it up and the bullpens held from there to send it to extras. In the top of the thirteenth, the Otters rattled off five straight hits and ultimately scored six runs to blow the game open and win 11-5. Floro gets the win and Martin takes the loss.

Otters   11-12-0 W-Dylan Floro. HR: Cedric Mullins, Ronald Acuna.

Whats    5-9-3 L- Brett Martin. HR: Vlad Guerrero

Game 2 Otters 10, Whatevers 6 at Otters   

McCullers Whatevers v Urquidy (Otters).

The Otters continued their assault plating nine runs in the first with the help of six walks by McCullers and a three run homer by Gurriel and go on to win 10-6. The Whats got homers from Ohtani, Guerrero, and a pair from Votto to make it close but it was the 14 walks the What’s staff handed out that made the comeback tough to do. Green picks up the win in relief meanwhile McCullers is in the bullpen working on curveball.

Whats   6-9-0 L-McCullers. HR: Ohtani, Guerrero, Votto 2 HRs.

Otters   10-11-0 W-Chad Green. HR: Lourdes Gurriel.

Devils capture OAPBA first half crown; take both ends of home and away series from Beefers

Dave Larson’s Taz Devils, with their backs to the wall — down by one game with only two games left—took both ends of their home-and-away series from the Beefers to win OAPBA’s first half crown by one game. The Devils pitching was the story in the sweep with starters Zack Wheeler and Gerrit Cole both delivering outstanding starts, backed up by a bullpen that did not give up run in both games.

The Devils finished at 25-15 to win the first half, one game ahead of the Beefs, who finished 24-16. It was the second time in two years both teams had taken the battle for the first half down to the final game of the half and a measure of revenge for the Devils, who had fallen short in 2021.

Gm 1 Devils 7, Beefers 6 (at Beefers)

Zack Wheeler (Devils) v Max Scherzer (Beefers).

The Beefers looked like they would take command early with Fernando Tatis homering off Wheeler in the bottom of the first to make it 1-0. The Beefs added a second run in the fourth when Matt Olson singled home Tatis to make it 2-0, Beefs. 

The Devils finally got to Scherzer in the sixth when Aaron Judge belted a two-run homer to the the game at 2-2. In the seventh, with Lucas Luetge on in relief, Starling Marte slammed a solo shot to put the Devils ahead 3-2. The Devils added an insurance run in the ninth when Marte singled off Yusmeiro Petit, went on to steal second and third and score on a single by Paul Goldschmidt. 

Urias gave way to Andrew Kitteridge in the eighth and Raisel Iglesias closed for the save as the Beefers Garrett Whitlock put two batters on in the bottom of the ninth, but then retired Marcus Semien, Jose Ramirez and Max Muncy in order to earn the save. 

The win tied both teams at 24-14 with one game left…at the Devils.

Devils   4-10-0   W- Zack Wheeler 3-1. Sv – Garret Whitlock 3. HR Aaron Judge # 7, Starling Marte # 4.

Beef      2-4-0     L- Lucas Luetge 0-4. HR Fernando Tatis # 9.

Gm 2 Devils 2, Beefers 1 (at Devils)

Carlos Rodon (Beef) v Gerrit Cole (Devils). 

The final game of the first half marked the second time in two years the Beefs and Devils took the first half pennant fight down to the final game. The Beefers prevailed in 2021, in a one-game playoff. This time, it was the Devils who emerged victorious.

The Beefs quickly went to work against Gerrit Cole in the top of the first. Bryce Harper walked and, two batters later, scored on an RBI single by Marcus Semien. For the Beefs, this turned out to be their final run of the first half. 

The Devils quickly answered back in the bottom of the first when Paul Goldschmidt homered off Rodon to tie the game at one apiece. In the second, Ty France and Jose Altuve both singled and Yan Gomes singled home France to put the Devils in front 2-1. 

From that point forward, it was all zeros on the scoreboard as Cole combined with Tyler Matzek, Drew Streckenrider and Liam Henriks to hold the Beefs to only one hit over the final seven innings to come away with a 2-1 win and the first half pennant.

Beef    1-3-1   L- Carlos Rodon 3-2. 

Devils  2-7-0     W-Gerrit Cole 5-1. Sv Liam Henriks 9. HR Paul Goldschmidt # 9.

Beefs take three of four from Devils; edge into first place by one game

Before a packed house at the Devil Dome, the Beefers took three of four from Dave Larson’s Taz Devils The series win gave the Beefers (24-14) a one-game lead over the Devils (23-15) with two games left for both teams….a head-to-head home-and-away series to decide the 2022 first half pennant.

The Beefers outhit the Devils .246-.230 in the four games, but the biggest difference was in OBP. The Beefs had a .342 OBP while the Devils struggled to get men on base at .288. The Beefs outhomered the Devils in the series, but only by a 9-7 count.

Marcus Semien, Max Muncy and Willson Contreras each hit two HRs for the Beefs in the series. Contreras’ home runs were his first two blasts of the season. For the Devils, Jose Altuve hit three homers in the series, including a game-winner in Game Three. 

Gm 1 Beefers 3, Devils 0

Julio Urias (Beef) v Framber Valdez (Devils).

The Beefers wasted no time, scoring a pair of runs in the first off Valdez on an RBI single by Fernando Tatis and another run off a ground out double play. Both pitchers matched zeros until the sixth when back-top-back errors by Devils SS Xander Bogaerts and Valdez led to another run for the Beefs to make it 3-0.

Urias gave way to Andrew Kitteridge in the eighth and Raisel Iglesias closed for the save as the Beefers blanked the Devils 3-0.

Beef    3-7-0   W- Julio Urias 3-3. 

Devils  0-4-0    L-Framber Valdez 0-1.  

Gm 2 Beefers 4, Devils 3

Carlos Rodon (Beef) v Adam Wainwright (Devils). 

Beefer Max Muncy homered off Wainwright in the second to start the scoring, but the Devils got to Rodon with an Aaron Judge HR in the bottom of the second and a solo shot by Yan Gomes in the third to go ahead 2-1. The Beefs regained a 3-2 lead in the seventh on a Muncy sac fly and an RBI single by Verdugo and went ahead 4-2 when Carlos Correa homered to add an insurance run in the ninth. 

Altuve homered in the bottom of the ninth off Richard Bleir to make it 4-3 and Ramon Tapia followed with a double to put the tying run on base, but Raisel Iglesias came in to strand Tapia, retiring three in a row for the save. 

Beef    4-9-3   W- Carlos Rodon 3-1. Sv Raisel Iglesias 4. HR Max Muncy # 7, Carlos Correa # 3. 

Devils  3-8-0     L-Adam Wainwright 2-5. HR Jose Altuve # 4, Aaron Judge # 6, Yan Gome s #2.

Gm 3  Devils 7, Beefers 6

Max Scherzer (Beef) v Zack Wheeler (Devils). 

The Devils prevailed in a back-and-forth rock ‘em, sock ‘em contest that was decided in the bottom of the eight on a home run by Jose Altuve. 

After Alex Verdugo put the Beefs in front 1-0 in the second with an RBI double, the Devils took a 3-1 lead on a 2R HR by Starling Marte and an RBI double by Michael Brantley in the third. The Beefs then regained the lead 4-3 on a solo HR and two-run blast by Willson Contreras in the fifth, only to see the Devils tied the game at 4-4 when Altuve hit an RBI double in the bottom of the frame.

The Beefs took a 6-4 lead in the sixth on a solo HR by Semien and a sac fly by Verdugo but the Devils again fought back, raking Beef reliever Diego Castillo for four hits and two runs in the seventh, tying the game at 6-6.

In the bottom of the eighth, with Lucas Luetge on for the Beefs, Altuve hit a home run to put the Devils in front 7-6. 

Garrett Whitlock, who had entered the game earlier for the Devils, promptly walked the first Beef batter, Max Muncy to start the ninth. Bo Bichette then came in a pinch-runner. After Alex Verdugo flied to left, Bichette stole second and third to put the tying run on third with only one out. Whitlock responded to the challenge by fanning Contreras and retiring A.J. Pollock on a fly ball to end a classic battle. 

Beef    6-6-0      L- Lucas Luetge 0-3. HR Jose Ramirez # 9, Marcus Semian # 12.

Devils  7-11-0   W-Garrett Whitlock  3-0. HR Starling Marte # 3, Jose Altuve # 5

Gm 4 Beefers 9, Devils 4

Frankie Montas (Beef) v Lance Lynn (Devils). 

Jose Altuve took Montas over the fence in the first for an early Devils lead, but the Beefs quickly rebounded, scoring four unearned runs in the second after Lynn walked leadoff man Matt Olson, hit Jose Ramirez, and then committed an error that let in a run. Lynn then up a three-run HR to Willson Contreras, his second HR in two games, to put the Beefs ahead 4-1. The Beefs added two more in the fourth on a Marcus Semien HR and an RBI double by Contreras to go ahead 6-2.

Rafael Devers delivered a two-run HR off Rodon in the sixth to cut the Beef lead to 6-4, but Max Muncy delivered a 2R HR in the eighth and Bryce Harper hit a HR in the ninth to give the Beefs a 9-4 win and put them into the league lead with only two games left

Beef    9-11-0  W- Frankie Montas 3-1. HR Marcus Semien # 13, Bryce Harper # 5, Max Muncy # 8.

Devils  4-8-0    L-Lance Lynn. HR Rafael Devers # 8, Jose Altuve # 6.

Whats throttle Beefers; knock Bovines out of first with home-and-away sweep

Walt Taylor’s Whatevers (15-17) took both ends of their home and away series with the Beefers, Fri., June 7, to pull to within two games of .500 for the first half. The twin losses knocked the Beefs (21-13) out of a first place tie with the Taz Devils (21-11), who now lead the first half by a full game. 

The Whats called on the long ball to win both games. Yordan Alvarez hit a game-winning three-run blast in the ninth inning to win the opener, at the Beefers. In the second game, at the Whatevers Whoville Stadium, Shohei Ohtani slammed a three-run HR to lift the Whats an early 5-1 lead that they never relinguished.

What reliever Emmanuel Clase earned saves in both games

Gm 1 Whatevers 6, Beefers 3 (at Beefers)

Walker Buehler (Whats) vs. Chris Bassitt (Beefers). Beef RHP Chris Bassitt struck out out eight and did not give up a hit in the first four innings, striking out seven in a row at one point. The Beefs, meanwhile, took an early 2-0 lead on an RBI double by Bryce Harper, who then scored on a single by Alex Verdugo.

The Beefs lead was short-lived, however, with the Whats storming back with three runs in the fifth when Isiah Kiner-Falafa drove in two runs with a single and Jorge Polanco drove in a run to give the Whats a 3-2 lead. After the Beefs knotted the game on a sac fly, the game entered the ninth tied at three apiece.

Raisel Iglesias, on in relief for the Beefs, quickly put himself in a hole with two consecutive walks. Yordan Alvarerez then made Iglesias pay a heavy price for his errant control, blasting a three-run HR that was a game-winner. Emmanuel Clase put the Beefs away in order in the bottom of the inning to earn a save.

Whats 6-4-0   W- Brett Martin. Sv Emmanuel Clase. HR Yordan Alvarez.

Beef    3-7-0    L-Raisel Iglesias 2-2. Beefers hit five doubles.

Gm 2 Whatevers 7, Beefers 4 (at Whatevers)

Julio Urias (Beefers) v. Lucas Giolito (Whats). The Whats put this one away early, jumping on Urias for five runs in the second, highlighted by a three-run HR by Showei Ohtani. What SS Keke Hernandez made it 6-1 with a solo HR off Urias in the third. The Beefs put up two in the fourth on a two-run HR by Marcus Semien to close the lead to 6-3, but What relievers Garrett Crochet, Adam Cimber and Brett Martin keet the Beefs under control and turned things over, in the ninth, to Emmanuel Clase, who notched his second save in two games to complete the Whats’ two-game sweep.

Beef    3-7-1    L- Julio Urias 2-3. HR Bryce Harper #4.

Whats 7-7-0   W- Garrett Crochet. Sv Emmanuel Clase. HR Shohei Ohtani, Keke Hernandez.Rod Caborn

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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 June 27

Taz Devils2515 .625
Beefers 2416.6001

The Taz Devils (25-15) clinched the first half title on Fri., June 25 with a stirring come-from-behind home-and-away series sweep to win the first half crown by one game over the Beefers.

After losing three of four to the Beefers in a four-game series at the Devil Dome, the Devils pitching took command in the two-game home/away series. The Devils won 4-2 at the Beefers, giving up only four hits, and clinched the title at home with a tense 2-1 win behind Garret Cole and relievers Tyler Matzek, Drew Steckenrider and Liam Hendricks.

Still remaining on the first half schedule,The Tsunamis (18-16) have an outside shot at tying for second place, but they would have to win their six remaining games, all against the Whatevers to do it (a home series hosting the Whatevers and a home-and-away series with the Whats). Since their 1-7 start, the Asians have compiled a 17-9 record.

The Whatevers, at 15-19, are in fourth place with six games left on the slate, all with the Tsunamis. The Whats need to go 4-2 to finish at .500

The Otters (12-28), finished this season this past Sat., June 2, with a two-game sweep of the home-and-away series with the Whatevers.