It is my distinct pleasure to announce that the Raleigh Braves are the 2012 Fall Classic Division Champions!
The Fall Classic is the Men’s Senior Baseball League’s (MSBL) Eastern (Inter-) National Tournament. Last Monday, Nov. 12, some 200 amateur baseball teams from as far as Venezuela met near Port St. Lucie, FL to compete in one of the largest amateur baseball tournaments in the world. This past Saturday afternoon the Raleigh Braves emerged as 45+ Central Division Champions posting an 8 – 0 record over the 6 day tournament.
The Braves’ represented the Central NC MSBL league with class and distinction. They scored 86 runs and went 5 – 0 in the 5 game round robin which began on Monday and continued through Thursday, November 15. Qualifying as the top seed in the playoffs the Braves earned a first round bye; jumping directly to the quarter finals. The team didn’t have a problem with the short delay and continued to post another 30 runs in their 3 playoff games. Their playoff competition began in the quarter final round Friday afternoon defeating the DC Express 18 – 0. Dave Tubolino grabbed the win in the rout.
Jay Biesenthal climbed the mound in the semi-final game in the Saturday morning game. Jay delivered plenty of ground balls to his infielders to toss over to first of out after out. Jay received the win in a 4 – 0 battle against the Albany Cubs while Dan Kopitzke recorded a 4 inning save to closing-out the game.
The championship game was to be played on the Roger Dean Stadium, but early AM precipitation forced the game onto a training field. In this final game, the Braves encountered their best competition of the week in the Atlanta Twins. The Braves jumped out to an early 1 – 0 lead but soon found themselves on the south-side of a 2 – 1 score for the first time all week. Raleigh eventually tied the game at two a piece in the fourth and pulled ahead for good in the bottom half of the 6th. From there on Dan ‘Dr. K’ Kopitzke stayed the Twins offense as the Braves bats found ways to plate runs. At the end of the day the Braves found themselves with an 3 – 8 lead and a Championship win.
Raleigh Braves 2013 Fall Classic Championship Roster
Dave Halley – Manager
Dan Kopitzke – Tournament MVP
Mike ‘Airport’ Martin
It takes a LOT to win a championship and these gentlemen each worked toward their common goal or ‘Quest’ as they called it. I am proud of each of them. A special commendation should go out to Dave Halley who has dedicated hours to the team and their quest over the past 9 months or more.