Debut Appearance as a team merits playoff spot
MABL Southern Wisconsin helped sponsor its first ever team at the MABL/MSBL World Series in Phoenix, AZ this October. Thirteen players from our league formed the nucleus of a very competitive team in the 50 and over World Series. Randy Gaber, Mike Schoonveld, Steve Hill, Mark Von Dem Bach, Mike Wallace, Brian Buol, Jim Pliner, Randy Olivares, Andy Winn, Steve Kelliher, Steve Hirshfeld, Eric Selje, and Jeff Knight, along with two friends from AZ, and two friends from Oregon helped form the Madison Blues. The 50+ tournament included 28 teams from all over the world, and as you can imagine, several quality ballplayers. The Blues played teams from Canada, Australia, St. Thomas Virgin Islands, California, and Washington DC Area and posted a 4-2 record during pool play, good enough for a nine seed in the 12 team playoff bracket. Most of the Blues pool games were very competitive, including 3 one run games, one 3 run game, and two walk off victories. The highlight of pool play was our “home” game when we played Australia at American Family Ballpark in Maryvale, the Spring Training Home of the Milwaukee Brewers. Australia’s starting pitcher was a member of the Australian Olympic Baseball Team in 1988. He baffled the Blues for four innings, but the Blues bats ultimately won out as they cruised to an easy victory. The Blues matched up against St. Thomas Virgin Islands in their playoff game and battled throughout, holding the lead early. St. Thomas battled back and took a three run lead into the 8th inning. The Blues rallied and had the tying run at the plate but came up short in the 9th to end their run. All in all, it was a great week of highly competitive baseball for our squad, and one that we can all be proud of. With a few more Madison players, we have no doubts we can compete with teams very effectively from all over the world. We highly recommend this experience and hope we can send more teams to AZ in the future across all age groups.