Otters sweep Tsunamis to take over second half lead; Furries to face Whats in final series (Dec. 1)

Jonathan Stillwell’s Otters (22-16) Otters continued their remarkable second half resurgence Thurs., Dec. 1, knocking Craig Dolan’s Tsunamis (19-19) out of the second half pennant race on Weds., Nov. 30, with a sweep of the Otters home-and-away series against the Asians. The Otters,riding the crest of a surge that began in the middle of the second half, have an outstanding chance to win the second half race in in their home-and-away series against the Whatevers, their final two games of the season.

Game 1  Otters 4, Tsunamis 3 (played at Otters)

Michael Pineda, Tsunamis v Chris Flexen, Otters.

The scoring started in the top of the 3rd inning when Giovanny Soto hit a solo HR. The Otters answered back in the 4th with HRs from Seager and Tucker. In the 7th, Brett Phillips singled, stole 2nd and moved to third on a passed ball. He then scored on a grounder to short, tying the game at 2-2. Neither team could add any runs in regulation. In the top of the 10th inning, Nolan Arenado homered to give the Tsunamis the lead. But in the bottom of the inning after singles from Mullins and Seager put runners on 1st and 3rd, two walks forced in a run to tie the game. With nobody out, Robert singled home the winning run. Otters winning, 4-3.

Tsu      3-10-1   LP Craig Kimbrel. HR Juan Soto, Nolan Arenado. 

Otters  4-9-1     WP J.P. Chargois. HR Corey Seager, Kyle Tucker.

Game 2  Otters 4, Tsunamis 3 (played at Tsunamis)

Jose Berrios, Otters v. Robbie Ray, Tsunamis.

Both teams were scoreless until the bottom of the 5th inning, when Sal Perez homered to make it 1-0. In the next at bats, Otter’s Ketel Marte singled and Robert homered to give the visitors a lead, 2-1. Both teams scored in the 7th, making it 3-2, Otters. But in the bottom of the 9th Sal Perez homered to tie the game and send it to extras. Then Otter’s short-stop Seager singled and came home on a Ronald Acuna double. The Asians went down in order in their half-inning to seal the win for the Otters, 4-3

Otters     4-8-0  WP J.P. Chargois. SV Dylan Floro. HR Luis Robert.

Tsu       3-5-0    LP  Jarlin Garcia. HR Salvador Perez 2 HRs.

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Otters move into lead with split home-and-away series. Whats left needing to sweep Asians to tie for lead (Nov. 30)

In a critical series for the second half title, Jonathan Stilwell’s Otters and Walt Taylor’s Whatevers split their home-and-away series with the home team winning at both ends. The split put the Otters, into h a commanding position, with a 23-17 record for the second half and the Whatevers a 21-17 with two games left, their home-and-away series with the Tsunamis.

Game 1  Otters 9, Whatevers 4 played at Whatevers

Jose Berrios, Otters v Lucas Giolito, Whatevers.

The Otters scored in the first on an RBI double by Corey Seager. The Whats countered with two in the second on RBI doubles by George Springer and Whit Merrifield. In the bottom half of the second, an RBI triple by Jake Cronenworth was followed by a two-run homer by Yasmani Grandal make it 4-2 in favor of the Otters. 

The Whats  tied it in the fourth on a two-run homer by Springer. Grandal broke the tie in the sixth with his second homer, a solo shot off Adam Cimber, to again give the Otters the lead. The Otters blew the game wide open in the seventh on an RBI single by Lourdes Gurriel, a fielding error by Ryan Tepera, and two run triple by Cedric Mullins. Richard Rodriguez picked up the win for the Otters and Adam Cimber took the loss for the Whats.

What    4-6-1      LP-Adam Cimber 5-2. HR: George Springer #10

Otters   9-12-2   WP-Richard Rodriguez. HR: Grandal 2 HRs.

Game 2  Whatevers 4, Otters 3 played at Otters

Alek Manoah, Whatevers, v. Luis Garcia, Otters.

Scoreless thru two innings, the Whats got their first run via an RBI groundout by Shohei Ohtani. The Otters tied the game at 1-1 without a hit in the fourth with the help of two walks, a hit batter, and a SF by Trea Turner. Solo homers by Cedric Mullins and Mike Trout in the fifth put the Otters ahead 3-1. The Whats got a two-run homer by Vlad Guerrero, Jr., followed by a solo shot by Joey Votto off Andrew Chafin to take the lead 4-3. The Whatevers’ bullpen shut down the Otters the rest of the way with Emmanual Clase getting the last four outs for his thirteenth save

Otters  3-5-1     LP- Andrew Chafin. HR Cedric Mullins, Mike Trout.

Whats  4-5-0    WP- Alek Monoah 5-1. Sv Clase #13. HR. Vlad Guerrero #19, Joey Votto #20.

Who will win the OAPBA second half?

With only a handful of games left in the second half, the Otters, Whatevers, and Tsunamis all have a shot of winning the second half title to face the Taz Devils in the 2022 OAPBA World Series.

Here’s a quick rundown on the records of all three franchises in championship situations:

Jonathan Stillwell’s Otters joined the league in 2011. Under Stilwell, the Otters have won  three championships (2015, 2018, 2020) and were swept by the Beefers in the 2014 series

Walt Taylor’s Whatevers franchise has won five championships, three of them under Walt’s guidance. In 2006 and 2007, Walt guided the Whats over the Gashouse Gang 4-1 and Platoon II 4-3 to win back-to-back championships.The Whats then lost three World Series appearances against the Platoon II in 2008, 2011, and 2014. They won their most recent championship in 2016, winning both halves.

Craig Dolan’s Tsunamis have appeared in the OAPBA World Series in the past two seasons, but have come up empty in both appearances. The Asians lost to the Otters in seven games in 2020 (the famous Byron Buxton miscue Series) and lost to the Beefs in five games in 2021. The Tsunami franchise also appeared in the 2004 Series as the Road Warriors, under Marc Bostrom, losing to the Taz Devils in six games.

In memorium: Dave Larson

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.  

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.