Rod Caborn’s Beefers won their second league championship Friday, defeating Craig Dolan’s Tsunamis four games to one in a World Series that was much closer than the final result might suggest.
The Series win was the second championship in the Beefers history, the other coming in 2014, when the Beefs swept the Otters. For the Tsunamis, who battled hard to win OAPBA’s 2021 second half, the Series loss was a disappointment, particularly after coming close in the 2020 Series, losing to Jonathan Stilwell’s Otters in seven games.
The stats for the Beefs and Asians reflected just how closely were matched up. The Tsunamis hit .210 and scored 11 runs with three home runs. The Beefs hit .207 and scored 15 runs with five HR. The Beefs had 17 extra-base hits and the Tsunamis had 11 extra-base hits.
The Beefs won the first two games via walk-off home runs by Beefer 3b Jose Ramirez, the Series MVP, and their other two wins were nailed down only in the final two innings of each game.
The pitching for both teams was outstanding, particularly Shane Bieber for the Beefs, who won the finale, and Max Fried for the Tsunamis, who threw 12.3 scoreless innings, but was victimized by Bieber in both games, coming away with two no-decisions.
The Series MVP was Beef 3b Jose Ramirez, who hit walk-off homers in Games One and Two and, for the Series, who was 9-21, with three doubles and hits in each of the five games. For the Tsunamis, Juan Soto was 5-20, .250 with three doubles, a HR and a base on balls. Wearing goat horns was luckless reliever Eric Yardley, who was the losing pitcher in three of the four Tsunami losses.
Game 1: Beefers 2, Tsunamis 1; Jose Ramirez hits walkoff HR in bottom of the ninth for win in Series opener.
Beefer 3b Jose Ramirez (photo below) hit a walk-off solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to give the Beefs a hard-fought 2-1 win in the 2021 Series opener. Tsunami starter Max Fried, (6.1 IP, four hits, no runs) was outstanding, leaving the game in the seventh inning with a 1-0 lead courtesy of a solo HR by Alex Bohm, off Beef starter Shane Beiber, in the second inning. Reliever James Hoyt, however gave up solo HR to Beef 1b Brandon Belt in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game at 1-1.
In the bottom of the ninth, Asians reliever Eric Yardley retired the first two Beefers he faced, but then gave up a solo shot to Ramirez that gave the Beefs a 2-1 win and a 1-0 lead in the Series.
Beef starter Shane Bieber pitched into the ninth, striking out 14 Tsunamis with no walks, before giving way to Zach Britton, who got the win in relief. The Tsunamis only generated four hits, including a pair of doubles by Juan Soto.
Tsunamis 1-4-0 L- Zach Britton 1-0 . HR Alec Bohm #1.
Beefers 2-7-0 W- Zach Britton 1-0. HR Jose Ramirez #1, Brandon Belt #1.
Game 2: Beefers 4, Tsunamis 3 (11 innings; Jose Ramirez hits walkoff HR for second straight game.
Jose Ramirez stole the spotlight for the second straight game with an identical ending to Game One, hitting a walk-off HR off Eric Yardley this time in the bottom of the 11th inning, to lift the Beefs to a 4-3 win and a 2-0 lead in the ’21 Series.
The Beefs scored first, in the second, on solo HR by Jeff McNeil. The Bovines lead was short-lived, however, with the Tsunamis knocking out four hits off Beef starter Kyle Hendricks to take a 3-1 lead in the third on a triple by Mike Yazstremski, an RBI single by Tim Lacastro and a run by Alec Bohm, who scored on an error by Bryce Harper.
Tsu starter Trevor Bauer kept the Beefs under control through the seventh, but hit Brandon Nimmo with a pitch to start the eighth, bringing in reliever James Hoyt, who promptly gave up a 2R HR to Brandon Belt, tying the game 3-3.
In the bottom of the 11th, with Eric Yardley in his third inning of work, Jose Ramirez duplicated his Game One heroics with another home run off Yardley, winning the game for the Beefers by a 4-3 score.
Tsunamis 3-8-1 L- Eri Yardley 0-2 .
Beefers 4-5-2 W- John Gant 1-0. HR Jose Ramirez #2, Brandon Belt #2.
Game 3 Tsunamis 6, Beefers 2. Tsunamis’ Corbin Burnes, bullpen shut out Beefs on four hits.
Before a sellout crowd at The Wave Pool, the Tsunamis got the offense untracked in Game Three, jumping out to a 1-0 first inning lead on a solo shot by Juan Soto off Beef starter Dinelson Lamet. The The Beefs tied the game at 1-1 in the fourth on an RBI double off Tsu starter Corbin Burnes, but from that point on it was all Tsunamis.
In the bottom of the fourth, Tsuanmis C Tucker Barnhart doubled home Eric Hosmer and, after walking Mike Yazstremski, Lamet served up a two-run triple to Tim Lecastro, putting the Tsunamis ahead 4-1. Trevor Story tripled another Asians run home in the fifth to make it 5-1 and the Tsunamis added one more in the seventh on a solo HR by Edwin Rios, who homered nine times in the first half against the Beefs, putting the Asians ahead 6-2.
Burnes got the win, going give innings, giving up one run, striking out seven. Jose Ramirez was 3-5 for the Beefer, with a pair of doubles. The win pulled the Tsunamis to within a game of evening the Series, with the Beefers ahead two games to one.
Beefers 2-5-0 L- Dinelson Lamet 0-1.
Tsunamis 6-11-2 W-Corbin Burnes 1-0. HR Juan Soto #1, Edwin Rios #1.
Game 4: Beefers 5, Tsunamis 1. Beefs score four in ninth inning to break open tight game.
The Beefs won a tough 5-1 decision to go ahead 3-1 in the Series, with the final score failing to convey just how close the game was until the ninth inning.
Beefer starter Zach Plesac and Kwang-Hyun Kim both pitched scoreless baseball for the first five innings, Kim afforded the Beefers with plenty of opportunitied, walking four and giving up four hits, but wiggled his way out of jam after jam, with the Beefs leaving eight runners on base in the first seven innings.
The Tsunamis broke the ice in the sixth on an RBI double by Juan Soto, scoring pinch-runner Ramon Quinn, who had stolen second, putting the Tsunamis ahead 1-0. In the eighth, with James Hoyt on the hill for the Asians, Beef DH Bo Bichette singled Jose Ramirez home to the game at 1-1.
The roof caved in for the Tsuamis in the top of the ninth with the Beefs pouring over four runs off Richard Bleier and Brandon Kintzler, including a two-run HR by Bichette and an RBI double by Wil Myers. Rafael Iglesias blanked the Asians in the bottom of the ninth to preserve the 5-1 final score.
Beefers 5-11-2 W- Yusmeiro Petit 1-0. Beefs hit six doubles.
Tsunamis 1-6-2 L- Richard Bleier 0-1.
Game 5: Beefers 2, Tsunamis 0. Wil Myers singles in two runs in 8th inning to lift Beef to Series win.
The Beefs again won another tense win, with Wil Myers singling home two runs in the top of the 8th inning to give the Beefs a 2-0 lead, with Shane Bieber going eight scoreless innings and Zach Britton and John Gant blanking the Asians in the ninth for the victory and the 2021 OAPBA championship.
Both Bieber and Tsunami starter Max Fried were outstanding, with Fried going six innings, allowing only four hits and no runs. The Asians were able to generate only six hits, including four scattered singles.
Beefers 2-7-0 W- Shane Bieber 1-0. Save John Gant #1.
Tsunamis 0-6-0 L- Eric Yardley 0-3
Craig Dolan’s Tsunamis clinched a tie for OAPBA’s second half title with a home-and-away sweep of Dave Larson’s Taz Devils. The Tsunamis took the lead in both games and their weary bullpen was strong enough to hold off the Devils, who threatened a come-from-behind win in Game 1 and came close in Game 2. The Tsunamis series win puts them within one game of winning the second half title outright and advancing to the World Series for the second year in a row.
Game 1 Tsunamis 5, Taz Devils 4 (at Tsunamis)
The visiting Tsunamis got an RBI triple from the second batter in the first. Starling Marte brought home Raimel Tapia but was gunned down trying to stretch the hit into an inside the park home run. The score at 1-0 into the fifth when the homies plated three runs. The Tsunamis got RBIs from Tucker Barnhardt, Tim LoCastro, and Donovan Solano. The bottom of the seventh saw the Wave score twice more on hits from Solano and Alex Bohm. With the lead at 5-1, the home squad’s bullpen was as taxed as that of the visitors. The top of the 9th saw Matt Chapman single home a run. He would score on a pinch-hit homer from Anthony Rizzo. With two outs, Cody Bellinger doubled but was stranded as Evan Marshall relieved blowout pitcher, Ryan Presley.
Devils 4-11-0 L- Zach Davies (3-5) HR- Rizzo (3).
Tsunamis 5-7-0 W- Fried SV- Marshall.
Game 2 Tsunamis 4, Taz Devils 3 (at Taz Devils)
Each team got solo homers in the second, Byron Buxton for the Tsunamis and Aaron Judge for the Tazzies. Bohm blasted a two run jack the following inning for a 3-1 lead. Xander Bogaerts cut the lead to one with a solo homer in the sixth. The home squad tied the game in the 7th when a Chapman sac fly brought Rizzo home. The Asians retook the lead in the top of the 8th when Trevor Story singled home pinch runner Roman Quinn. Down 4-3, the Devils put men at first and second in the bottom of the 9th. The game ended on a rare 1-5-3 double play off the bat of Austin Nola.
Tsunamis 4-10-0 W- Marco Gonzales. SV- Michael Pineda. HR- Alec Bohm, Byron Buxton.
Devils 3-6-2 L- Blake Snell (2-3). HR- Judge (9), Bogaerts (13).
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.