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.