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Austin Metro Baseball League, 60+ Division
Austin Brewers 14, Colt 45’s 10
By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
Once in a while passion flies at you like a rocket and Jeff
Latimer, manager of the Austin Brewers of the Austin Metro Baseball League,
loves his team and his players and wanted to make sure they were all recognized
in their wonderful championship story. Yes, this championship feature is way too long but to edit it would be
discrediting Jeff’s intention so I left it alone…word for word, player by
player. Whether you are a player on Jeff’s
team, a fellow Austin league member or grandma in another state, please enjoy
Jeff’s personal insight. I certainly
Submitted by Jeff Latimer, Brewers manager: in his own words
The 60+ Brewers outlasted those pesky Colt 45's in a winner
take all contest at Anderson High School after torrential rains had flooded the
field the night before. But thanks to the gallant efforts of commissioner Mike
Lucas and his crew, somehow the field was playable by 10 AM.
It turned out to be a yo-yo affair with the Brew Crew jumping
out to sizable leads only to have the 45's answer each rally with one of
Gerald 'Accessory' Smith got the start on the bump as he threw
everything he had at the 45'ers including his prized football, tennis
racket, and metal batting implement. When he departed the Crew held on
tenuously to a 5-5 tie. Gerald also went two for three at the plate in his
best game of the season.
John 'Don't call me Johnny' Durfor again donned the
"tools of ignorance" and turned in another memorable performance
behind the plate. He juggled the four pitchers the Crew had cobbled
together in the noticeable absence of Ray El Toro Amaro. Durfor was brilliant
blocking and picking so many errant tosses he finally just came out in hockey
goalie gear for the last inning. His arm also kept the Colts running game in
check and he contributed at the plate.
Ken 'Satts' Satterle also turned in his finest performance of
the season in this reporters eyes as he initially stabilized the infield
at first. He doubled and lengthened the Crew's five run first inning
outburst eventually coming around to score. This was followed by a game saving
stint on the mound as he battled and kept the 45'ers from taking the lead
as they flailed at his off speed offerings. He then manned the hot corner and
snagged Fletch's shot down the line, calmly righting himself, and firing a blue
BB to Latimer at second for the game’s final out.
Latimer the 'Penguin' at second, with only memories of his
better days, gets credit for actually fielding this fine squad and making out
the lineup. He also coached third base. And he got to pinch run where he
stumbled into the final out of the first inning. Mainly he gets credit for
getting out of the way of the Big Blue Brew Crew.
Richard 'Snake Bit' Sladecek started at third and
laid down a perfect bunt loading the bases in the first inning. He came around
to score in the five run first for the Crew. But then he was injured in a
collision at third. He will see his MD this Wednesday afternoon. Maybe we can
buy him a beer afterwards. Meanwhile, Richard returned to the book where his
contributions have been invaluable this season, in addition to his flashes
of brilliance on the field.
Steve 'Mr. Intangible' Gillis graced us with his presence once
again initially at short. He was 3 for 3 at the plate with a walk and scored four
runs. We won by four. Need more be said? Well, yes, actually since he again
anchored the infield and then came in to pitch and record the final three
outs of the contest thus saving the game. Not bad for a morning's
work. Steve has been inspirational on both of the teams I have been fortunate
to coach in this league.
Ray 'Ray' Lorio also careered in left field. When he wasn't
covering his domain like a late afternoon shadow, he was going 3 for
4 with three runs scored and a key two out double in the third plating two runs
in the process. As mentioned, Ray swooped in on a shot to left and took it in
stride to get us out of a tight spot. Almost as important, he
alertly tagged up at third on a fly ball to left and scored easily ...!
Old dogs can learn new tricks! Just kidding, Ray. You played a great game.
Not to be outdone, Johnny 'Paycheck' Kauffroth proved
invaluable covering center, third base and finally short stop, seemingly at the
same time. He also went 4 for 4, scored three runs and stole more bases than Ty
Cobb. Not to be outdone, Johnny also came in relief of Satts and baffled the
Colts with his Ephis curve ball which seemed to drop in from the heavens.
Johnny has been such a consistent / brilliant player this season that his
hat no longer fits on his head. Wait, Johnny...where is your hat, glove, bat,
gear...? Just kidding.
Once again, filling in for us in right field, was our
reliable Indian, Randy 'Steady' Alexander. Despite not a lot of action in
right, Randy did move to center where it was also pretty quiet. This may have
been a function of our pitching, but I suspect the wood bats and our age
contributed. Be that as it may, Randy came up in the top of the fifth in a
tight spot. Tied 10 - 10, Russo had reached and stole second. Randy then laid
down a perfect swinging bunt to short which eluded the fielder and allowed Russo
to take third. They then both scored providing the Crew their winning margin.
Ray Amaro, who is otherwise known as 'EL Toro' for his propensity to
run full speed into backstops in pursuit of pop foul balls. Fortunately, he has
his catcher's gear on but not always his helmet. Despite this he has no signs
of CTE, so far. He is also a durable starting and relief pitcher despite his
partial knee replacement. This has cut down on his range at third but not on
his will to win. Ray also has considerable power at the plate. He coaches three
sports at a local high school.
Clark Charbonnet was only able to grace our team for
several games early in the season. He was selected for his workmanlike skills
in left and at the plate, but mainly for his omnipresent smile and accompanying
great disposition. Clark moved back to NOLA but has promised us great places
to dine when we are in Louisiana. He also left a case of Tobasco sauce for
post game parties.
Deric Mann fancies himself as a first baseman and has three
such gloves to prove it. Trouble is at times he has flash backs to his football
days. But there were no significant collisions this season. Deric also is a
steady force at the plate and has almost learned to run the bases within the
rule book. He is the most improved player, every year.
Sam 'Sudden Sam' Park is no doubt the hardest working player
in MSLB. Besides his daily conditioning drills, he is at the batting cages
working on all aspects of his game several days a week. As an avowed left
hander, his repertoire includes an uncanny ability to bunt the ball
wherever and whenever he desires. He can also hit sharply to all
fields. He is a crafty LHP, but can play anywhere you need him.
Throw in great base running and you have a complete baseball player.
Last but not least was our 'Lucky Leprechaun', Robert Russo.
Russo patrolled right field and "was (once again) just happy to be
out there". Apparently the baseball gods wanted to reward him as he
smacked a solid single to left to open the final frame. He then stole second
with his deceptive speed and quickness and "I got a good jump". This
he learned watching the Yankees of the early sixties and then honed as a Baylor
Bear over forty years ago. So he's now on second as Randy placed his perfect swinging
bunt. Not content to be in scoring position, Russo broke for third somehow
eluding multiple tags in the process. It was like he was spinning on a bugie
board. Now safely hugging third, Russo scored the eventual winning run one
I just want to say a few things. First, as great as you guys
played, the Colt 45's answered every challenge until the fateful last inning.
They were indeed a worthy opponent and pushed us to the limit.
Second, this is the first team I have coached (and only the second I have
played on) that actually won their league here in the AMBL. I have played off
and on for 22 years. This was the first year for the Brewers, but this team was
actually a compilation of Bob Evelith's Padres, Tony's Diamondbacks, and Mike
Harm's Riverdogs. They all played a role here.
This is a big deal to me and I thank everyone for
hanging in their despite injuries and schedule conflicts and umpires who
did not always see things our way but whom were doing the best they could. As Satts fired that final perfect throw to me at second, it seemed to be in
slow motion. I squeezed it and stepped on the bag.
It might have been the only thing I did right all day...jL