In a major upset, the fifth-seeded State Farm Insurance team, managed by Gary Hatch and sponsored by the Ralph Vasquez Agency, defeated the number one-seeded Mutual of Omaha squad to capture the Session Two Winter Tournament.
The opening game of the six-team tournament saw State Farm upend the number four-seeded Brenden Financial Services team 18-10. Dick Bleich and Frank Tanner each went four for four while Larry Wolfe added three hits to the victor’s 23-hit attack.
In the second game sixth-seeded Terry and Susan Young’s West USA Realty team shut out the third-seeded Frank Margiotta’s Farmers Insurance Agency 12-0. The realtors were led by Steve Schaider and Doug Freisen who each banged out three hits. Pitcher Billy Maxwell’s sweeping pitches limited the Farmers to only eight hits.
The State Farm team was then matched up against the second-seeded A-1 Golf Carts team. The insurers banged out 26 hits en route to a 17-11 victory. Bill Cheney and Dick Bleich each had four hits; they were supported by Steve Hilby, Ralph Vasquez, Stan Weiss and Larry Wolfe who each stroked three hits.
In the penultimate contest, number one-seeded Mutual of Omaha topped the upstart West USA Realty team 15-3. Chuck Schaan and Bill Corso led the winners with three hits apiece.
In the championship game, Mutual of Omaha hosted the underdog State Farm team. The insurers jumped out to an early 10-5 lead and coasted to a 13-6 victory. Bill Cheney blasted out four hits to lead the insurers. Steve Hilby and Stan Weiss each had three hits. Sam Giordano led the losing squad with a perfect three for three game including two doubles. Special kudos go out to Dick Bleich who went 10 for 11 in the three games played by the insurers. He was amply supported by his teammates who totaled 48 runs and 68 hits in their three-game sweep. Manager Hatch summed up his team’s success by stating, “We just took it one game at a time. But we should have been playing like this all season!”
The tournament drew a large crowd and included a lunch consisting of submarine sandwiches and all the trimmings. Many thanks go to all the volunteers who make our tournaments a success. Ken Brenden, Mike Core and Sam Giordano were the food and beverage coordinators; our food servers were Santa Marie Giordano, Debbie Whiteley and Lynn Casey. Gary Hillabolt, Billy Kreisman and Ed Sowney did the set up work. Dennis LePore, Cyndy Hilby and Art Isley did the scorekeeping and scoreboard operations while Harry Roehl and Gary Hillabolt umpired the games. Larry Delaney and Steve Hilby were the groundskeepers. Thanks again to all who were involved.