Devils burn Beefers; take three in Friday night series to improve to 7-9

The Tazmanian Devils, under the direction of Marc Bostrom (with some spiritual help from Dave Larson), overwhelmed the Beefers Friday night, Sept. 23, taking three of four to improve to 7-9 for the second half. The series loss dropped the Beefs to 16-12 and cut their lead over the Tsunamis (9-7) and Whatevers (11-9) to only one game. The Devils are three games behind in the standings.

The Devils offense was in high gear, hitting .307 for the series with a OBP of .377, including 25 runs, 21 extra-base hits and nine HR. The Beefs only managed to hit .219 with 189 runs and 15 extra-base hits, including seven HR (five in the first game).  

Game 1 Taz  Devils 10, Beefers 6

Joe Musgrove (Beefs) v Gerritt Cole (Devils)

The Devils put this one away early, exploding for five runs in the first off Joe Musgrove, highlighted by two-run HRs by Paul Goldschmidt and Rafeal Devers. Altogether, the Devils blasted five HRs in the win with Kyle Schwarber, J.T. Realmuto, and Starling Marte also hitting HRs. The Beefs also hit five home runs, but all of them came with the bases empty and wound up being too little, too late. 

Beefers   6-10-0    L- Musgrove 3-5 HR Bryce Harper #16, Max Muncy #13 (pinch hit HR), Matt Olson #13, Willson Contreras #3, Carlos Correa #4. Correa and Muncy’s HRs back-to-back in 9th off Steckenrider.

Devils    10-16-0   W-Cole 6-4. HR Starling Marte #5, Goldschmidt #8, Schwarber #2, Devers #7, Realmuto #4.

Game 2  Beefers 8,Taz  Devils 4

Max Scherzer (Beefs) v Adam Wainwright (Devils)

The Beefs rebounded in Game Two with an 8-4 triumph behind Max Scherzer. The Beefs took at 2-1 lead in the fourth and Bryce Harper hit a two-run HR in the fifth to make it 4-1. The Beefs added three more in the top of the eighth on a three-run 2b by Alex Verdugo to make it 8-1. The Devils fought back with three runs in the bottom of the eighth off Beef reliever Richard Bleier on back-to-back RBI doubles by Kyle Schwarber and Jose Altuve, followed by an RBI single by Realmuto to make it 7-4, but the Beefs held on for the win, adding a run in the ninth on a HR by Fernando Tatis to make it 8-4.

Beefers 8-10-1   W- Scherzer 6-1. HR Harper #17, Fernando Tatis #15.

Devils    4-11-1   L-Wainwright 3-7. 

Game 3  Taz  Devils 5, Beefers 4

Julio Urias (Beefs) v Lance Lynn (Devils)

The Beefs broke up a scoreless game in the sixth with a four-run outburst highlighte by a three-run HR by A.J. Pollock off Lance Lynn. The Devils countered in the bottom of the frame with a grand slam HR by Randy Arozarena, off Beef starter Julio Urias to tie the game at 4-4. 

In the seventh, Mookie Betts led off the inning with a single for the Devils. Paul Goldschmidt then doubled…with Betts scoring at home on a dropped throw by Beef C Christian Vazquez (66 fielding roll that resulted in error by C-8 on the dropped throw on the boards). Vazquez error cost the Beefs as Garrett Whitlock and Drew Steckenrider when on to shut the Beefs down over the last two innings for a 5-4 win for the Devils.

Beefers   4-7-1   L- Urias 5-5. HR A.J. Pollock #3.

Devils    5-5-0   W-Garrett Whitlock 4-0. Sv Steckenrider #2. HR Arozarena #5 (grand slam HR, second of ’22)

Game 4  Taz  Devils 6, Beefers 1

Carlos Rodon (Beefs) v Zack Wheeler (Devils)

Devils righty Zack Wheeler combined with relievers Kendall Graveman and Michael Kopech to shut down the Beefer offense in the finale. Wheeler only gave up a HR and a single in seven innings and Whitlock and Kopech did not allow a hit in the final two innings. The Devils broke up a scoreless game in the seventh on an Altuve solo HR, followed by a double by Arozarena, an RBI triple by Wander Franco, and an RBI single by Santiago Espinal. The Devils added three more in the eight to up their lead to 6-1 and put the game away, all three runs coming off a 3R double by Espinal, who wound up with 4 RBIs. 

Beefers  1-3-1   L- Rodon 4-4. 

Devils    6-9-2   W-Wheeler 4-2. HR Jose Altuve #7. Espinal 4 RBIs.

In memorium

Dave Larson

June 15, 1954-Sept. 17, 2022

Dave Larson, one of the greatest managers in OAPBA (Orlando APBA league) history, passed away Saturday, September 17, 2022, in Orlando, Fla., after a decade-long battle with chronic heart problems. 

Dave was beloved and respected by everyone in the league. He was a positive person and a gentleman whose temper was always even keeled. He had a keen wit and, after retiring from a career in the flooring industry in 2019, embarked on writing humorous short stories for publication, many which were published by online fiction story sites.

A native of Illinois, Dave grew up in Galesburg, Illinois, where he attended high school and college. He moved to Tampa in the 1980s and, after attending the University of South Florida for one year for graduate studies, embarked on a career in the flooring industry, where he was in sales and marketing for most of his career, finishing with a variety of administrative management assignments in Orlando.

He was a lifelong baseball enthusiast and a passionate Chicago White Sox fan. 

Dave had a special interest in baseball’s Deadball Era. His interests were accentuated by his membership in the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR). His keystone article 1906 Chicago White Sox: a look at an underrated champion was published in SABR’s prestigious Baseball Research. Eleven years later, Dave teamed with league member Rod Caborn, to write 1906 Cleveland Naps: Deadball Era Underachiever, published in the Baseball Research Journal in 2012.

Dave entered OABPA in 1993 as an expansion entry. In only his third season in the league, his  Tasmanian Devils beat Bryant Applegate’s Metros in five games in the 1995 OAPBA World Series for his first championship, followed the next season by winning the OAPBA championship outright in 1996, winning both halves with a combined 50-30, .625 record.

He was a cornerstone of OAPBA, serving as the league’s commissioner for the league for the past two decades. In 2021, he revised the league’s rules to become more easily understandable, a monumental task, but one that was far overdue.

His OAPBA management style centered around speed. Dave consistently identified and cleverly drafted players that could deliver on the hit-and-run and always had a team that featured fast players whose baserunning abilities outshone the ability to hit home runs.

Altogether, Dave won seven championships during his OAPBA career, tied with Joe Passiatore, whose powerful Platoon teams also won seven titles before Joe retired from the league in 2013 after winning six championships in a row.

1995    Beat Metros (Bryant Applegate) 4-1 in World Series

1996    Won both halves (50-30 record) to win OAPBA championship outright

2000    Beat Joel Prinsell’s Highlanders 4-1

2003    Beat Merchantainers, managed by Walt Taylor, 4-1

2004    Beat Road Warriors, managed by Marc Bostrom 4-2

2017    Beat Otters, managed by Jonathan Stilwell, 4-2

2019    Won both halves (54-26 record) to win OAPBA championship outright

His Taz Devils also lost in three other World Series appearances 

2001    Lost to Joe Passiatore’s Platoon 4-3

2005    Swept by Walt Taylor’s Travelers 4-0

2011    Lost to Joe Passiatore’s Platoon II 4-1

In total, Dave had a lifetime record of 1341-1074, .555. In post-season play, Dave’s teams were 38-38, .500 record in post-season play in 29 seasons in OAPBA.

Dave’s Taz Devils teams won 50 or more games in a single season nine times, the most in league history, but only two of them were able to come away with championships.

2011    56-24, only to lose to Joe Passiatore’s Platoon in the ’11 World Series

2001    58-26, lost to Platoon in World Series

2003    56-29, won championship (no series)

2005    50-34, swept by Joe Passiatore’s Platoon in ’05 World Series

2009    56-30   lost to Platoon II in World Series

2019    54-26   championship (no series)

A testament to Dave’s skillful management was the fact that he had only five losing seasons in 29 years in the league. 

Dave will be remembered will be remembered with love and respect by all who had the privilege of working with him and, in particular, by those of us  in OAPBA, who sat across from him, cringing when he called for the hit-and-run that would go on lead to another victory for his beloved Tasmanian Devils.  

Whats take over top spot in second half race; take three of four from Taz Devils

Walt Taylor’s Whatevers moved into sole possession of first place Friday, taking three of four from Dave Larson’s Taz Devils. The series win upped the Whats’ second half record to 9-3 while the Devils dropped to 4-8 for the second half.

The Devils out hit the Whats .267 to .257. The Whats had 16 xbh versus 14 for the Devils. The Devils Michael Brantley was 9-10 in the series and Starling Marte added five hits and three stolen bases. Mitch Haniger had five hits and all were for extra bases for the Whats. 

Game 1 Whatevers 6,Taz  Devils 5

McCullers (Whats) v Gerritt Cole (Devils)

A two run double by Mitch Haniger in the eighth off Drew Steckenrider give the Whats a 6-5 win. Each team trade runs in the first on a rbi double by Vlad Guerrero and a rbi single by Michael Brantley. Haniger takes Gerrit Cole deep with two on to make it 4-1. The Devils claw back to tie with a pair of homers by Rafe Devers and solo shot by Paul Goldschmidt. They take the lead in the seventh on a solo shot by Kyle Schwarber off Scott Barlow. In the eighth, a two out double by Yordan Alvarez chases Tyler Matzek. Steckenrider walks pinch hitter Austin Slater before Haniger doubles in the go ahead runs. Barlow picks up the win and Jordan Romano gets the last six outs for the save.

Whats    6-9-0     W-Joel Barlow 3-1, Sv-Romano 3. HR Haniger #8.

Devils     5-10-1   L-Drew Steckenrider. HR Devers 2 HR, Goldschmidt, Schwarber.

Game 2  Whatevers 5,Taz  Devils 2

Brandon Woodruff (Whats) v Adam Wainwright (Devils)

A two-run homer by Vlad Guerrero in the sixth give the Whats the lead and the bullpen holds the Devils the rest of the way to win 5-2. Shohei Ohtani scores in the first on a passed ball by JT Realmuto. The Devils take the lead in the third off Brandon Woodruff on a rbi single by Michael Brantley and rbi double by Xander Bogaerts. Vlady takes Waino deep with one on in the sixth to take the lead. Will Smith SF in the seventh makes it 4-2 and chases Wainwright. Yadi Molina adds a rbi single in the ninth to make the final score.

Whats    5-10-0   W-Woodruff 5-4. HR Guerrero #14.

Devils     2-8-0     L-Wainwright.

Game 3  Taz  Devils 15, Whatevers 2

Shane McClanahan (Whats) v Jack Flaherty (Devils)

The Devils teed off on Shane McClanahan scoring 13 runs in the first three innings to win running away 15-4. Aaron Judge went deep twice, three-run shot followed by a grand slam, and Mookie Betts adds a three-run shot to the mix. Randy Arozarena went 3-5 with a pair of doubles and Yan Gomes added two hits and a pair of rbi’s. Shohei Ohtani connected off Jack Flaherty and Mitch Haniger had a pair of doubles and a rbi. David Peralta pitched the final two innings allowing three hits and an unearned run for the visitors.

Whats    4-7-2         L-McClanahan 0-2. HR Ohtani #16

Devils     15-15-2    W-Flaherty. HR Betts, Judge 2 HR.

Game 4  Whatevers 5,Taz  Devils 2

Walker Buehler (Whats) v Zack Wheeler (Devils)

The Whats held on to take the final 4-3. Vlad Guerrero brings in the first run with a double in the first. Isiah Kiner-Falefa SF made it 2-0 after two. Ohtani added a solo shot in the third to go 3-0. Brantley’s rbi double plated Goldschmidt in the third to make it 3-1. Haniger would take Zach Wheeler deep in the sixth for 4-1 lead. The Devils get solo homers from Rafe Devers in the seventh and Xander Bogaerts in the eighth to make it 4-3. Guerrero commits a one out error in the ninth to get a runner on. Santiago Espinal pinch runs and moves up on the hit & run groundout. He steals third but Jose Altuve would ground out to end the game. Walker Buehler earned the win and Adam Cimber collected his first save.

Whats    4-10-1    W-Buehler 4-3, Sv-Adam Cimber 1. HR Ohtani #17, Haniger # 9.

Devils     3-7-1      L-Wheeler/ HR Devers, Bogaerts.

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 Second Half standings (Sept 24)

CumulativeWLPctGB
Beefers1612.571
Tsunamis97.5631
Whatevers119.5501
Taz Devils79.4383
Otters511.3135

The Beefers (16-12) continued to hang onto the lead, despite a disastrous 1-3 series against the Taz Devils (7-9). Craig Dolan’s Tsunamis (9-7) and Walt Taylor’s Whatevers (11-9) are both only a game behind and with plenty of games left to run down the Beefers in what is turning into a terrific battle for the second half title.

CumulativeWLPctGB
Beefers4028.588
Taz Devils3224.5712
Tsunamis 2927.5185
Whatevers3030.5006
Otters1739.30417