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Old 12-18-2016, 07:58 PM   #5341
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THE ISLANDIAN TIMES
Tuesday, September 17, 2052


2052 RUTHLANDIAN UNION FINAL PLAYER BATTING AND PITCHING LEADERBOARDS
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Old 12-18-2016, 07:58 PM   #5342
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THE ISLANDIAN TIMES
Tuesday, September 17, 2052


2052 TYCOBBIAN UNION FINAL PLAYER BATTING AND PITCHING LEADERBOARDS
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Old 12-18-2016, 08:31 PM   #5343
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THE ISLANDIAN TIMES
Tuesday, September 17, 2052


ISLAND FEVER IS EVERYWHERE!

"Baseball is a marathon," or so the saying goes... at least in the 154-game regular season... but once the Islandian Pro Alliance playoffs start today, it's a sprint to the finish... one false move, one errant miscue, one pressure-packed flub will end your team's chances of winning the title... it could be over in a moment... on the other hand, one swing of the bat or a fastball blown by the last hitter could just as easily send your team parading down Main Street, hoisting a 24-carat gold-studded IPA Pro Cup Series trophy before an adoring crowd... the contending ballclubs are all poised and ready -- the playoffs begin Thursday afternoon all across the Islands.

It's playoff time in the Islands... it's Pro Cup time!

First-round play will pair the Waleska Westerners (90-64) against the Taranto Tars (99-95)... they will open up at the tiny bandbox, the Palazzo di Sport... in the other Ruthlandian Division Championship Series the Middlefield Roosters (106-48) will host the Wynnamac Sundowners (95-59) at Middlefield Park.

In the Tycobbian Division Championship Series it will be the Kenwood Panthers (91-63) going up against the East Point Panthers (96-58) at beautiful Armed Forces Park... and the Oxford Red Caps (86-69) traveling to Typhoon Stadium to encounter the Turon Typhoons (96-58).

The winners of the four series will move on to the next round, the League Championship Series... the Ruthlandian Union title winner will then take on the Tycobbian champ for the much-cherished Islandian Pro Alliance Pro Cup trophy... all Pro Cup Series are best-of-seven.

Last edited by Eugene Church; 12-18-2016 at 08:49 PM.
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Old 12-18-2016, 08:39 PM   #5344
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THE ISLANDIAN TIMES
Wednesday, September 18, 2052


AROUND THE TOWN IN THE IPA
Each town in the Islandian Pro Alliance is proud of its heritage... to help you get ready for 2052 Pro Cup Series we thought we should acquaint our readers to the virtues of small-town life in Islandia.
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Old 12-18-2016, 08:48 PM   #5345
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WALESKA WESTERNERS

Owner: Ewing Enterprises Philanthropic Foundation
GM/Manager: Roy Hobbs

Waleska is in the southwest part of Ruthlandia near the Silver Mountains and has about 113,000 inhabitants. The town name comes from the Waleska Indian phrase meaning "I don't understand", which was the reply given by the Indians, when the White Man first encountered them and asked them who they were. The Whites mistakenly took the phrase to mean their name.

The High Plains area was settled originally by ranchers to raise purebred Hereford cattle. After the ranchers came, the railroad industry built the railroads for easy transportation of the cattle to market. This attracted many wealthy men from the eastern United States and Europe, who brought with them their impeccable social amenities, culture and high society. Many cattle barons spent their summers in Waleska and winters in Europe. They created the Waleska Social Club, a lavish club furnished on a scale equal to the finest gentleman's clubs in England.

Residents enjoyed a full social life, which was unique in the western part of Ruthlandia and on par with more cultured Ruthlandian towns in the east and south. Among the earliest settlers were the ancestors of the Jock Ewing family, the owners of the Waleska Westerners of the Ruthlandian Union. The club plays in the South Division. Oil was soon discovered on the ranch lands and the rich got richer, creating a financial empire that also expanded to railroad, meat packing and processing, banking and finance.

The Ewing Family is a powerful force in the history of the Islands and its baseball development. They have three franchises in the league. Sons J. R. and Bobby have their own franchise in Ozarka and South Fork respectively. How did they get so many franchises? Money and power is the answer.

The Westerners play their games at historic Westerner Stadium (circa 1902), the oldest ballpark in the Islands. It really is a unique stadium because the power alleys are deeper than center field. The Ewings renovated it in 1980, but kept the beautiful old brick wall that runs around the entire ballpark. It was named in honor of the tough men and woman, who braved the harsh and hostile frontier environment to establish a thriving and prosperous town. One of the big events of the year is the Frontier Days celebration, a week-long event that features a world class rodeo, country music concerts and a spotlight on the good things of western life. A country band entertains the crowds at Westerner Stadium during the games, complete with steel guitar, bass fiddle and twin fiddles. What a treat to hear twin Texas fiddles play "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and see the buckaroos and their little darlings do line dances and boot-scooting boogies during the game. One of the very special treats at Westerner Stadium is the mouthwatering steak sandwiches that are grilled right in front of your eyes and noses on a huge charcoal grill. And of course, an ice cold bottle of imported Lone Star beer ("Brewed deep in the Heart of Texas") comes with it, too.

Westerner owner, Jock Ewing, was very instrumental in the IPA's coming to be. He and several other multi-millionaire cohorts,like shipbuilder Brent Steiner of Bayiew, Jorge Trujillo (former dictator, now exiled) of Belair Beach, and wealthy entertainers Louis "Sugar Lips" Charles of Bay St. Clair and Conway Birdie of Cape Coral, conceived, financed and tried to contrive the league in their image and control.

But with the "help and guidance" of talented baseball owners like Manny Earl of Sugar Valley, Rob Jackson of Forest City and Rip Calkin of La Claire, the latter more than held their own in the smoke-filled rooms of debate and won a great concession: they got John Banson installed as commissioner with almost absolute control of the IPA, a necessity considering the history and practices of the power mongers.

Since Jock Ewing's passing, the control of the team has been given to the Ewing Enterprises Philanthropic Foundation. Waleska's club operations are run by the legendary Roy Hobbs, who starred for the Westerners from 2013 to 2031. He batted .345 in 19 seasons with 587 homers and 2037 RBIs. Hobbs was voted into the IPA Hall of Fame. The gifted center fielder led Waleska to its first Pro Cup in '28 as a player. Twice as manager the Westerners have won the IPA crown in '37 and '39. Hobbs was a 15-time All-Star, Golden Glover and won seven Golden Bat Awards in his terrific career.

Westerner Stadium (1902)
Capacity: 12,850

Left Field Line - 355
Left Field - 375
Left Center - 410
Center Field - 385
Right Center - 410
Right Field - 375
Right Field Line - 355
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Old 12-20-2016, 06:31 PM   #5346
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AROUND THE TOWN IN THE IPA

Taranto Tars

Owner: CEO Papa Giovanni's Pizza
GM/Manager: Tommaso Lazzorda

Originally Taranto was just a small fishing village on the southeastern coast of Valdar Island settled by Italian immigrants in the 1870s after the unification of Italy caused economic collapse in several areas of the country. Taranto was named after its namesake in Italy. Visitors are enthralled by the quaint and picturesque town. It has the feel and essence of the old country and should not be missed by tourists.

Taranto is also the origin of the common name of the Tarantula spider family, In ancient times, residents of the town of Taranto, upon being bitten by a spider, would promptly do a long vigorous dance like a jig. This was done in order to sweat most of the poison out of their pores and thus survive the spider bite. The dance they did became locally known as the Tarantella, which eventually became the name we use today to describe the large, sometimes hairy type of spider, the Tarantula.

The town got a big boost in the 1880s when the Ruthlandian government decided to construct a naval base here. The natural harbor at Taranto made it a logical home port for the Ruthlandian naval fleet. Taranto has since grown to a present-day population of 63,000. As a result of the naval expansion, baseball leagues sprang up in Taranto. First it was just for the sailors and marines, but soon spread to the town. Baseball has thrived in Taranto since the late 1880s.

The Navy is still the prime industy in Taranto. However, the town is also known for being the headquarters of Papa Giovanni's Pizza, the number one pizza in the Islands. Giovanni Di Bella began making pizzas in 1905 after emigrating from Italy. His pizzas with a special garlic butter sauce soon became a favorite of the townspeople. Papa Giovanni's Pizza's popularity soon spread throughout Vandar Island and then to the mainland of Ruthlandia and Tycobbia. You will now find a Papa Giovanni's Pizza shop in all of the main towns of Islandia.

Papa Giovanni was a good baseball player in his own right, but where he excelled was in sponsorship of the local amateur team. Papa Giovanni also managed the club and got most of his players from the navy leagues, hence the name Papa Giovanni's Tars. He used the team to publicize his expanding pizza business. The more popular his team got, the more pizza he sold.

A "tar" is a sailor. The name comes from the black, petroleum substance used to keep ropes and rigging dry aboard ship. It was also used to seal and make the ships water-tight. It would get on the sailors uniform, so people began to refer to them as Tars.

Papa Giovanni housed his team in the Palazzo di Sport, which was built in 1922 and is still in use today. The Palazzo is known for being a hitter's ballpark with its short fences. It's only 320 down the lines, 360 in the power alleys and just 385 to center. The Di Bello family has continued to big supporters of baseball in Taranto. When they heard that the IPA was going to expand the league, Grandson Gianni Di Bello got the backing of the Admiralty to insure a franchise would be granted to Taranto and to Papa Giovanni's Pizza.

The first general manager and field manager of the Taranto Tars was Tommaso Lazzorda. He gained his fame as a crafty southpaw for the Papa Giovanni's Tars. Lazzorda gained even more success and notoriety as the team's skipper. When the Tars switched over to professional baseball, Lazzorda came, too. Lazzorda loves to eat and loves his baseball. The congenial Lazzorda is good with a quote, too. "When we win, I'm so happy I eat a lot. When we lose, I'm so depressed, I eat a lot. When we're rained out, I'm so disappointed I eat a lot."

And the people of Taranto love him, too. There's no better ambassador of baseball than Tommaso Lazzorda. He often tells reporters, "I love doubleheaders. That way I get to keep my uniform on longer."

Though retired for many years now, Lazzorda is still found around the Palazzo di Sport at game time. The current manager and general manager is Augie Marshall, one of the greatest Tar stars in history. Marshall starred for almost 10 seasons, from 2013 to 2022. A heavy-hitting outfielder he swatted 504 homers and drove in 1719 runs, batting .287 for his career. Marshall was voted the 2013 Ruthlandian Rookie of the Year, a 9-time All-Star and inducted into the IPA Hall of Fame in 2049. Augie Marshall played right field for six teams in his 19 years in the IPA, but played primarily for the Taranto Tars, where he enjoyed his most success from 2013 to 2022. Marshall led the Ruthlandian Union in homers and RBIs in 2014 and 2015. He helped two clubs win Pro Cups. Taranto won in 2015 and Crystal Lake took it in 2022. Marshall played until 2033 when he retired at age 39.

Palazzo di Sport

Capacity: 7,175

Dimensions:
Left Field Line 320
Left Field 335
Left Center 360
Center Field 385
Right Center 360
Right Field 335
Right Field Line 320
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Last edited by Eugene Church; 01-08-2017 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 12-23-2016, 01:07 PM   #5347
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THE ISLANDIAN TIMES
Tuesday, September 17, 2052


TARANTO UPSETS VALMARA IN RU NORTH
The Valmara Vipers (94-60) have almost totally dominated the Ruthlandian North Division, winning the pennant 7 of the previous 9 years and capturing 3 Pro Cups ('43, '49, '50), but they were knocked off of their lofty perch by the Taranto Tars (99-55) this season... the Tars beat them in a season-long battle by 5 games and won the division for the first time since 2019... Valmara had a slight lead at mid-year, but just couldn't keep up with Taranto in the second half, despite playing very good baseball... the third place Ranford Bulls (83-71) ran a good race until the All-Star Game, then went on the fritz and wound up 16 games back... Kilkenny (81-73) was never really close, trailed by 18 games and finished fourth.

1st Place: TARANTO TARS (98-56)
Last Year: 5th Place (82-72) 22 GB
Pro Cups: 1 (2019)... beat Bay St. Clair in 5 games.
Playoffs: 5
Last Appearance: 2019

The last time the Tars made the Pro Cup playoffs was decades ago... their current manager Augie Marshall was the team's star and he sparked them to the 2019 playoffs that season, belting 40 homers and driving 130 runs... Taranto won its only Pro Cup in 2015 when the 21-year-old Marshall (.323 BA/47 HR/131 RBI) propelled them to the IPA title, topping the Bay St. Clair Buccaneers in 5 games.

Marshall's club depends on standout pitching and home-run power... Taranto (99-55) ranks 2nd with an exceptional 2.74 ERA and 191 homers, topped only by Rocky Rapids (2.66 ERA) and Middlefield (206 HR)... they are 6th in scoring runs with 775 runs... and on defense the Tars are just average with a .965 FA.

Taranto's twirlers were paced by rookie Phil Castle (23-3/1.83), who had a marvelous year, and two vets Valerio Rossi (20-11/2.52 and Armani Pizzoconi (10-5/2.98)... however, Pizzoconi was injured at mid-season and will not be available for the playoffs... a severe loss for Marshall... filling in for Pizzoconi will be rookies Enzo Ferrara (17-15/3.58) and Freddy DeAngelis (8-8/3.48)... the Tars are strong in the bullpen, led by rookie Louie Toscano (10-1/0.70/8 saves/33 G)... offensively the prime run providers are 1B Phil Wilson (.292/21 HR/88 RBI/99 R) and rookie C Niccolo Parisi (.291/24 HR/86 RBI/73 R)... vet LF Kuma Toyota (.266/30 HR/65 RBI/70 R) and rookie CF Renzo Caruso (.240/26 HR/62 RBI/72 R/16 SB) were productive bats, too... Castle, Rossi and Parisi all made the Ruthlandian All-Star team... Taranto may not have the mound depth to challenge in the Pro Cup playoffs... three solid starters are usually needed to contend.

2nd Place: Valmara Vipers (94-60) (5 GB)
Last Year: 1st (104-50)
Pro Cups: 4 (2026, 2043, 2049, 2050)
Playoffs: 20
Last Appearance: 2051

Valmara skipper Vanya Vasylenko had the hurlers this year, but his offense was just average... the Vipers were still 94-60, but came out 5 games short of first place... they ranked 5th with a fine 3.19 ERA, but only scored 726 runs (16th) and hit 115 homers (17th-tied)... Valmara defense was good with a .969 FA.

The Vipers' impressive rotation consisted of All-Star Primo Sirak (22-8/2.40), Darus Grajek (20-11/2.31) and Darek Polaski (18-10/3.42)... Mirko Musial (13-13/4.05/6 saves/50 G) was a capable starter, too... Valmara also had an excellent closer in Carver Dillon (11-5/2.31/16 saves/69 G)... at the plate the Vipers were just fair-to-middling with SS Ken Jensen (.274/4 HR/55 RBI/94 R/21 SB), RF Boyd Holmes (.295/20 HR/64 RBI/70 R), rookie 3B Yancey Evers (.266/18 HR/62 RBI/49 R) and vet C Karol Koska (.224/18 HR/72 RBI/54 R)... 12-year vet CF Don Ritchie (.230/2 HR/50 RBI/55 R/8 SB), normally a .293 hitter slipped considerable this season at age 33.

3rd Place: Ranford Bulls (83-31) (16 GB)
Last Year: 3rd (100-54) (4 GB)
Pro Cups: 1 (2040)
Playoffs: 7
Last Appearance: 2041

Manager Kyle Hunt and his Ranford Bulls were looking forward to the 2052 season... they were coming off a 100-win season... and had finished third, just 4 games behind Valmara... the team was ready and poised to take it to another level and take the division flag... but Hunt's hurlers let him down... they wound up with a 3.53 team ERA (12th)... the Bull bats did well with a .273 BA (6th), 135 HR (10th) and 757 runs (11th)... and they did well in the field with a fine .969 FA... but they couldn't keep with Taranto and Valmara past the All-Star Game... slowly fading in the race in the second half of the season and winding up with a disappointing 83-71 mark... Ranford hasn't been to the Pro Cup playoffs since 2040 and 2041... the Bulls were IPA champs in '40, when they whipped the Summerland Sunsets in a 7-game series... that's the only time Ranford brought home the Pro Cup trophy.

The Bulls have one of the top pitchers in the IPA in 36-year-old All-Star ace Ralph Hawk (23-7/1.97), who had a great season, but didn't get much help... Rik de Meester (18-15/3.90), Neil Martin (16-15/4.24) and Duffy Davidson (14-20/4.65) had off years... in the bullpen Martin Futch (10-9/3.28/19 saves/81 G) was inconsistent, great at times, mediocre at times.... Hunt's mound corps is aging, most of them in their mid-30s... Hunt had three All-Stars on his club... the most productive Ranford batters are All-Star CF Joey Hawkins (.322/19 HR/76 RBI/73 R/10 SB), LF Zach Isom (.297/19 HR/78 RBI/99 R), All-Star 1B Virgil Belisle (.308/18 HR/69 RBI/70 R), 3B Joel Rimes (.312/12 HR/66 RBI/79 R/9 SB) and 2B Don Connell (.246/15 HR/81 RBI/72 R)... the Bulls can compete offensively, but need an infusion of talented youth in its pitching to get to the next level to go up against Taranto and Valmara.

4th Place: Kilkenny Cats (81-73) (18 GB)
Last Year: 6th Place (78-76) (26 GB)
Pro Cups: None
Playoffs: 1
Last Appearance: 2042

The Kilkenny Cats got a new manager this season... Kevin McLaglen played outfield for them 12 years (2035-2046)... he only had an average career... batting .267 with 157 home runs and 832 RBIs... just a reliable journeyman... he inherited a so-so club that hadn't appeared in the postseason since 2042... in fact, that is the only time the Cats have made the Pro Cup playoffs in the team's history.

Kilkenny (81-73) ended up in fourth place in the RU North Division, 18 GB... the Cats possess pretty good pitching with a 3.47 ERA (8th)... they have average scoring with 740 HR (14th), but don't hit well... only .252 (29th), but they have a bit of power with 136 HR (8th-tied)... the defense is atrocious with a .957 FA.

The staff is stocked full of veterans, led by Josh Andrews (15-12/2.95), Dewayne Hague (14-12/2.59), Glen Caswell (15-17/3.96) and Dave Stratford (12-14/4.59)... the bullpen is solid with Larry Burke (9-6/2.74/22 saves/84 G)... the most reliable bats are RF Les Utley (.269/30 HR/106 RBI/75 R/11 SB) and 1B Ryan Reagan (.270/27 HR/90 RBI/98 R)... CF Vance Snead (.286/1 HR/36 RBI/103 R/27 SB) and SS Ray Vayda (.282/10 HR/78 RBI/70 R/22 SB) are quality players, too.

5th Place: Glasco Athletics (80-74) (19 GB)
Last Year: 2nd (101-53) (3 GB)
Pro Cup: None
Playoffs: 3
Last Appearance: 2045

Aspirations were high for the Glasco Athletics this year... coming off a splendid second-place season in '51 with a 100-54 mark (3 GB), many just knew the A's would make the playoffs this year... but the mound staff staggered and slumped with the ERA rising from a brilliant 2.71 to just an average 3.48 ERA... Glasco fell to 5th place in the RU North with a record of 80-74.

2051 Ruthlandian Manager of the Year Charles Darby is still at the helm... he pitched 6 of his 18 seasons in Glasco... overall he was 241-226 with a 4.08 ERA... a lousy attack done Darby dirty this year... the A's only batted .252 (30th), only scored 631 runs (31st) with 109 HR (20th)... pitching was good with a 3.48 ERA (9th), but absolutely nothing like the previous year... however, Glasco plays good defense with a .970 FA.

Glasco's starters all saw their ERAs soar some this season... they still performed well except for Dylan McCord (7-15/4.27)... last year he was 21-7 with a 3.34 ERA... others in the rotation were Pat Meyers (22-14/3.56), Evan Walsh (18-12/3.12) and Benny McDaniel (16-16/3.10)... the bullpen was inconsistent this year... Ken McLin (5-10/2.61/21 saves/70 G) was the best reliever... Darby has an older staff with most of them 32-36 in age... rookie and All-Star LF Callum Slattery (.325/8 HR/64 RBI/85 R/15 SB) and vet 2B Ross McFalls (.270/24 HR/88 RBI/85 R/6 SB) were the only quality hitters in the batting order.

6th Place: Far Mountain Redhawks (75-79) (24 GB)
Last Year: 7th Place (73-81) (31 GB)
Pro Cups: 3 (2011 2012 2013)
Playoffs: 14
Last Appearance: 2047

For the fourth season in a row the Far Mountain Redhawks (75-79) have been stucked in the RU South second division with a below .500 record... finishing 6th and 24 games off the pace of division champ Taranto... skipper Robby Kelly has better-than-average pitching with a 3.51 ERA (10th), is just average scoring with 712 runs (22nd) and 117 HR (16th)... defensively the club is poor with a .961 FA... Kelly spent 19 years with the Redhawks, posting a fine 279-196 mark with an impressive 3.23 ERA... he was voted into the IPA Hall of Fame in 2030.

On the hill rookie Benny Van (17-15/3.46), vet Stan Smith (12-16/3.50) and vet Ryan Kolb (12-17/3.45) are three capable starters... so is reliever Jack McKinney (12-12/3.04/15 saves/89 G)... at the plate rookie CF Ox Gless (.301/23 HR/97 RBI/99 R) really had a fine season and pretty much carried the club... LF Terry Crawford (.264/13 HR/50 RBI/81 R/11 SB) was the best of the rest.

7th Place: Ancona Red Elephants (69-85) (30 GB)
Last Year: 8th (57-97) (47 GB)
Pro Cups: None
Playoffs: 5
Last Appearance: 2022

The Ancona Red Elephants (69-85) have been cellar-dwellers and division doormats in the Ruthlandian South for at least the last decade of so... coming in 7th and 8th most of those years... only twice in the last 25 years have they compiled a winning record ('30, '39)... the last postseason appearance was in 2022... this year new skipper Alekos Kotas improved the mark to 69-85, but the Red Elephants still wound up in 7th place, 30 GB... Kotas prospered as a 2-time All-Star first basement for the Elephants, hitting .288 in his 14-year career with 284 homers and 1190 RBIs... Ancona has a poor attack with a .255 BA (26th), only 96 roundtrippers (28th) and 654 runs (30th)... pitching is average with a 3.92 ERA (20th)... defense is mediocre with a .963 FA.

Ancona has two quality starters in rookie Hank Worsley (16-17/3.40) and vet Roger Kostas (13-15/3.45)... and Kasey Tharp (7-4/2.19/11 saves/61 G) stood out in the bullpen... 1B Anton Cormier (.308/13 HR/63 RBI/60 R), LF Denver Blanton (.279/7 HR/54 RBI/46 R), SS Ron Drinkwater (.270/6 HR/50 RBI/55 R) and CF Dwayne Langdon (.276/6 HR/46 RBI/72 R/13 SB) are just average hitters at best.

8th Place: LaGrange Sports (54-100) (45 GB)
Last Year: 4th Place (85-69) (19 GB)
Pro Cups: None
Playoffs: 6
Last Appearance: 2037

No wonder the LaGrange Sports (54-100) came in last in the Ruthlandian North... lousy pitching (4.81 ERA), poor scoring (28th) and bad defense (.963 FA)... the Sports haven't won the RU North flag since '37... LaGrange is managed by Mike York... this was his first year in charge... York pitched from 2023-2044 for the club registering 266-250 record with a fine 3.12 ERA.

Leading the LaGrange staff are Rodger Gagnier (10-21/4.57), Justin Menard (11-22/4.68) and Arnie Ayers (10-13/5.72)... 15-year vet and star SS John Rodgers (.345/12 HR/55 RBI/66 R/9 SB) had a strong year at 35, though he missed 50 games with injury... rookie 1B Rene Broadway (.324/21 HR/58 RBI/50 R) showed his stuff when given the opportunity... and CF Andre Chirac (.311/13 HR/51 RBI/51 R/13 SB) can still swing a good bat... not much in the lineup after these three guys.
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Old 12-23-2016, 01:10 PM   #5348
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Old 12-24-2016, 08:08 PM   #5349
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THE ISLANDIAN TIMES
Tuesday, September 17, 2052


WESTERNERS WIN AGAIN IN RU SOUTH
The Ruthlandian South Division title went to Waleska (90-64) for the second year in a row... Waleska was challenged by Valka (81-73) and Grand City (81-73) until mid-season, leading by only 2 and 4 games, then the Westerners took the pretty girl in hand and rode off into the sunset with the pennant, galloping off in easy fashion by 9 games... four clubs were far back in the race, 20 games behind and tied for 4th place: San Dimas (70-84), Crystal Lake (70-84), Claxton (70-84) and Belair Beach (70-84)... and the St. John Crusaders (66-88) came in last.

1st Place: WALESKA WESTERNERS (90-64)
Last Year: 1st Place (87-67)
Pro Cups: 3 (2028, 2037, 2039)
Playoffs: 8
Last Appearance: 2051

Waleska went to the IPA Pro Cup Finals last year and lost to Arlon in 5 games... manager Roy Hobbs hopes to do better this year and win it all... the Westerners hit the cover off the ball with a sensational .288 BA (3rd), scoring 819 runs (4th), but they come up short in long-distance power with only 101 HRs (26th)... pitching is better-than-average with a 3.56 ERA (13th)... the bullpen is excellent with a 2.26 ERA (4th)... on defense Hobbs has an average club with a .966 FA... Waleska upset the powerhouses Valmara and Sugar Valley last year... maybe they can do the same thing to Taranto (98-56), Wynnamac (95-69) and Middlefield (106-48), the other three Ruthlandian playoff teams.

Hobbs heavily platoons and has a slew of hitters, none with power... heading up the Waleska attack are 2B Richie Fry (.350/4 HR/55 RBI/83 R/10 SB), 3B Hisachi Yamaguchi (.335/7 HR/53 RBI/81 R), LF Allie Connors (.328/10 HR/58 RBI/63 R/32 SB), 1B Rob Rice (.323/8 HR/46 RBI/51 R), CF Lynn Washington (.313/13 HR/80 RBI/70 R) and SS Jingo Jernigan (.268/12 HR/73 RBI/83 R/23 SB)... on the hill Hobbs has a young and talented staff... the Westerner ace is Lou Carlson (20-10/3.85) with help from Kenny Foster (16-12/3.40), Vince Foster (15-11/3.49), Trey Earnest (18-16/3.51) and Niles Nielsen (14-13/3.98/12 saves/51 G)... problem is the latter two are injured and will miss the first weeks of the playoffs.

2nd Place (tie): Valka Blackhawks (81-73) (9 GB)
Last Year: 5th Place (tie) (70-84) (17 GB)
Pro Cups: None
Playoffs: 4
Last Appearance: 2017

The natives are restless in Valka... it's been over 3 decades since they last made the postseason... the Blackhawks have never won the Pro Cup... not likely to happen soon either... manager Arno Vainmaa has good pitching with a 3.52 ERA (11th), only fair offense with a .260 BA (19th), 693 runs (24th) and 110 HR (19th) and a fine defense with a .969 FA.

Valka has some fine pitchers in Arvi Tamm (19-13/2.63), Adrian Stenhouse (17-16/2.84), Maksim Moroz (15-9/3.73/10 saves/55 G) and rookie Snooky Knaup (10-4/3.10/2 saves/33 G)... the Blackhawks lack scoring... LF Marcos Arredondo (.284/13 HR/78 RBI/101 R/36 SB) is a fine talent, but needs help... SS Corey Belk (.313/4 HR/52 RBI/85 R), CF Peetrus Vaher (.252/15 HR/80 RBI/70 R/19 SB) and C Gunnar Kikkas (.268/18 HR/73 RBI/45 R) are the other run producers.

2nd Place (tie): Grand City Cybercats (81-73) (9 GB)
Last Year: 5th Place (tie)(70-84) (17 GB)
Pro Cup: None
Playoffs: 2
Last Appearance: 2030

There are many years of frustration in Grand City... despite being one of the the wealthier clubs, that has not enabled the Cybercats to compete very well... skipper Thomas Hall only has a little-better-than-average ballclub with a .267 BA (13th), 756 runs (12th), not much power with 102 HR (25th), modest mound staff with a 3.78 ERA (17th) and a good defense with a .969 FA.

Grand City has fair talent... rookie CF Rocky Valverdi (.289/15 HR/71 RBI/86 R/28 SB) made the RU All-Stars with a great first half, but tailed off in the summer... other reliables are 1B Hot Rod Gwin (.290/12 HR/76 RBI/60 R), LF Joe Crystal (.284/11 HR/67 RBI/65 R/8 SB), RF Harland Blankenship (.324/6 HR/56 RBI/74 R/10 SB), 3B Scott McIntyre (.292/8 HR/63 RBI/56 R/5 SB) and SS Laney Carrigan (.286/2 HR/50 RBI/51 R/10 SB)... the Cybercats have some quality arms in the rotation with veterans Roy Tuthill (18-16/3.98), Jimmy Engels (17-19/3.72) and Joel Eaton (15-16/3.61)... 35-year-old closer Kent Douglas (11-4/2.18/8 saves/67 G) can still get the job done.

4th Place (tie): San Dimas Rancheros (70-84) (20 GB)
Last Year: 3rd Place (tie) (74-80) (13 GB)
Pro Cup: None
Playoffs: 4
Last Appearance: 2041

The San Dimas Rancheros have not had much success in the IPA... former pitching star Shannon White (227-186/3.29 ERA) is in charge of the team... he has a pretty good offense with a .275 BA (4th), 762 runs (9th), 126 HR (12th), but is mediocre on the mound with a 4.06 ERA (22nd) and has a terrible defense with a .957 FA.

San Dimas' best bats are CF Enrique Orantez (.309/17 HR/86 RBI/103 R/11 SB), C Yunesky Villanueva (.345/2 HR/62 RBI/64 R), rookie 3B Mickey Booth (.303/20 HR/78 RBI/65 R), rookie SS Eduardo Ortiz (.305/11 HR/59 RBI/49 R) and 40-year-old vet star RF Denny Hendrix (.301/23 HR/75 RBI/59 R)... rookie starters Tomas Olmeda (20-14/3.73), Tyler Tydings (18-14/4.00) and Enrique Hernandez (11-15/3.80) all had good first campaigns... vet closer Kenny Robinson (4-11/2.71/11 saves/65 G) is the best in the bullpen.

4th Place (tie): Crystal Lake Skippers (70-84) (20 GB)
Last Year: 8th Place (65-89) (22 GB)
Pro Cups: 2 (2020, 2022)
Playoffs: 10
Last Appearance: 2044

The Crystal Lake Skippers have had success in the Islandian Pro Alliance with two Pro Cups and 10 playoff appearances... but not lately... the current manager is HOF hurler Duncan Welch (262-170/2.50 ERA)... he only has so-so talent, bordering more on the mediocre side... the Skippers hit .264 this season (16th), with 714 runs (20th-tied), good power with 130 homers (11th), but bad pitching with a lofty 4.22 ERA (25th)... not a lot of defense, either, with a poor .962 FA.

Crystal Lake's offense is led by vet star C Del Peevy (.320/20 HR/68 RBI/72 R), RF Alex Mundy (.281/16 HR/82 RBI/70 R/11 SB), rookie LF Irv Waterman (.306/13 HR/65 RBI/79 R/25 SB) and 2B Oscar Jeffers (.255/24 HR/84 RBI/65 R)... Haden Mackowiak (14-19/3.69) was the only effective starter... Josh Crosby (10-6/2.52/16 saves/80 G) stood out in the bullpen.

4th Place (tie): Claxton Diamonds (70-84) (20 GB)
Last Year: 3rd Place (tie) (74-80) (13 GB)
Pro Cups: None
Playoffs: 14
Last Appearance: 2049

The Claxton Diamonds have a player-manager... Jojo DeLucca (.310/511 HR/1953 RBI) is one of the all-time great IPA players, the son of HOF Joe DeLucca (.305/384 HR/1508 RBI/1812 R/325 SB)... the Diamonds are just borderline average... some good bats in vets 1B Jimmy John Ramsey (.287/23 HR/80 RBI/55 R), All-Star RF Whit Miley (.322/15 HR/67 RBI/105 R/21 SB), 3B Reece Somerset (.271/13 HR/80 RBI/69 R) and SS Rick Clayburne (.274/10 HR/64 RBI/84 R)... DeLucca (.269/16 HR/102 RBI/71 R/7 SB) is slowing down at age 37, but can still play the game... it's in the starting rotation that Claxton can't cut the mustard... Jared Lipton (13-18/3.65) is the only consistent starter... in the bullpen 24-year-old Ramon Santos (10-6/1.31/10 saves/71 G) had a brilliant season and is one of the league's best closers.

4th Place (tie): Belair Beach (74-80) (20 GB)
Last Year: 7th (68-86) (19 GB)
Pro Cups: None
Playoffs: 8
Last Appearance: 2047

Bob Meusel's Belair Beach Sunbirds have been stuck below the .500 mark for four straight years... he has fairly good pitching, but little offense... only once in almost 40 years have they made the playoffs... it looks like the drought is going to continue... Meusel has the worst-hitting club in the Ruthlandian Union with a pathetic .248 BA (32nd), 659 runs (28th-tied), decent power with 115 homers (15th) and fairly good pitching with a 3.57 ERA (14th)... the bullpen is quite good with a 2.54 ERA (5th)... the Sunbirds have two quality starters in Jeffrey Verblen (15-16/2.98) and Kevin Tolbert (17-18/3.28)... youngsters Claus Antoon (14-18/4.48) and Tommy Hester (11-16/4.33) have been good at times and might develop... in the bullpen the tandem of Tom Cook (7-7/2.59/16 saves/83 G) and Kyle Gibson (3-1/1.24/7 saves/37 G) have been impressive.

8th Place: St. John Crusaders (66-86) (24 GB)
Last Year: 2nd Place (82-72) (5 GB)
Pro Cup: None
Playoffs: 8
Last Appearance: 2050

2052 was suppose to be the year for St. John's manager Nicky Farrugia... they won the RU South pennant in '50, came in a fairly close second last year to Waleska and was forecast to be in the thick of the race this year... but no so... the pitching went south on Farrugia and they came in dead last... the Crusaders are still a pretty fair team... they hit and score well with a .274 BA (5th) and 773 runs (7th)... not a lot of power with only 107 HR (22nd)... less-than-adequate pitching with a 4.07 ERA (23rd)... defense is sub-standard, too, with a poor .965 FA.

St. John has a few good bats... Nolan Cramer (.342/20 HR/81 RBI/86 R/17 SB) is an RU All-Star in RF... other reliable hitters are SS Derek McKendrick (.296/8 HR/56 RBI/68 R), 1B Duncan Murrell (.302/11 HR/55 RBI/66 R), LF Chuck Coltharpe (.292/10 HR/69 RBI/55 R) and LF Ben Runnels (.282/6 HR/64 RBI/63 R/19 SB)... most of the pitching staff had off-years, all at the same time... Teddy de Grom (19-16/3.56), Frank Long (13-12/4.02/4 saves/42 G) and Liam Spears (11-24/4.41) got most of the starts.
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Old 12-24-2016, 08:09 PM   #5350
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Old 12-24-2016, 09:15 PM   #5351
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Quote:
The last time the Tars made the Pro Cup playoffs was decades ago... their current manager Augie Marshall was the team's star and he sparked them to the 2019 playoffs that season, belting 40 homers and driving 130 runs... Taranto won its only Pro Cup in 2015 when the 21-year-old Marshall (.323 BA/47 HR/131 RBI) propelled them to the IPA title, topping the Bay St. Clair Buccaneers in 5 games.
Cool story.
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Old 12-24-2016, 09:45 PM   #5352
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Originally Posted by Dark Horse View Post
Cool story.
You know, you are right... it is a nice story.

Thanks for bringing it to my attention.
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Old 12-25-2016, 11:24 AM   #5353
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YESTERDAY IN THE IPA

The Islandian Times
Saturday, October 10, 2015


2015 IPA Pro Cup Finals - Game 5 At Bay St. Clair

Tars Slam Bucs 13-5, Win First Pro Cup
Taranto proved they can hit the ball out of the park any place and anywhere... the Tars boomed 4 out of Shoreline Park and slammed the Bay St. Clair Buccaneers 13-5 to win the 2015 IPA Pro Cup in just five games... it was Tommaso Lazzorda and the Tars first ever IPA championship.

Taranto showed they meant business by blasting the Bucs for 8 runs in the first frame... RF Augie Marshall (.375) and LF Arnie Kennedy (.304) sparked the rampage with 4 RBIs each... Marshall hit 2 homers and Kennedy and 1B Pietro Skrmetta (.279) belted one apiece... Marshall and Kennedy rapped 5 each in the postseason, while Skrmetta had 4... Bay St. Clair's CF Todd Bryant (.328) and LF Bruno DiPirro (.344) went deep, but the Bucs couldn't get any closer than 9-4 in the third... Taranto sent them reeling with 3 more runs in the top of the fourth for an 8-run lead.

Jimmy Mosley (3-2 4.13) came up with another important win... Mosley surrendered 5 runs and 8 hits, but was good enough to win... Surprise starter Don Yaden (0-1) sustained the loss and had to endure the terrible first inning... Guy Rondre gave Yaden the start in hopes that he could slow down the Tars the plate and get the Buccaneers back into the series... Yader was an effective reliever during the season with a 6-1 record in 51 games.

Lazzorda lauded his entire team, saying, "Everybody on the club contributed... the hitters get the press and the glory, but my pitchers did a fine job, too... actually we won because of our pitching... it's not easy to pitch in a place like the Palazzo di Sport and stay sane." He added, "When you have as many good bats as I do, it makes my job a breeze... If there has ever been a better hitting team in the IPA, I have never seen them."

Bay St. Clair's Guy Rondre was greatly disappointed in losing the Pro Cup. He told the press, "I really thought we could beat anybody after we knocked off Ozarka."
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Old 12-25-2016, 11:26 AM   #5354
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YESTERDAY IN THE IPA

The Islandian Times
Sunday, October 11, 2015


Marshall and Kennedy Pro Cup MVPs
The 2015 IPA Pro Cup Series was a hitter's delight. Consequently the Most Valuable Player Award went to a pair of prolific hitters: Augie Marshall and Arnie Kennedy of the champion Taranto Tars shared the award. The two sluggers demolished Bay St. Clair pitching and sparked the Tars to the IPA crown in five games.

Marshall, the 21-year-old right fielder, hit .375 in the playoffs with 5 home runs, 18 RBIs and 18 runs scored, while 27-year-old left fielder Arnie Kennedy rapped 5 out of the park, drove in 20 runs, scored 16 times and posted a .304 batting average. Each one of them delivered crucial hits at various times in the postseason. Chazzie DiBartolo played a big part in the Tars title run with a fine 4-0 record and was the only other votegetter in the poll.
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Old 12-26-2016, 01:42 PM   #5355
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THE ISLANDIAN TIMES
Tuesday, September 17, 2052


FAVORED WMACS CAPTURE RU EAST
Preseason predictions in the Ruthlandian East Division forecast a tight race between four contenders with Wynnamac getting the final call... and it transpired that way until the All-Star Game... with a great April (22-5) the Elnora All-Stars forged into the lead with Wynnamac, last year's division champ Sugar Valley and Marston snapping at their heels... all within 3 games of the top spot... but Elnora was only a .500 club the rest of the way and soon dropped out of the race... the Rattlers and Nine also faded in the second half... it was the favored Sundowners (95-59) who took over and easy won it by 9 games over the Marston Nine (86-68), 12 games better than Elnora (83-71) and 18 games over Sugar Valley (77-77).

1st Place: Wynnamac Sundowners (95-59)
Last Year: 3rd Place (85-59) (18 GB)
Season Forecast: 1st Place
Pro Cups: 1 (2007)
Playoffs: 7
Last Appearance: 2044

Team Stats: .268 BA (12th)/758 runs (10th/105 HR (23rd)/3.02 ERA/.968 FA
Pitchers: strong set of vets: All-Star Sammy Hayes (21-11/2.61), Simon Northcott (20-4/2.85) and Garan Parula (14-13/3.23)... rookie George Medworth (21-8/2.90) was a huge find.
Batters: three rookies stood out at the plate: RF Wally Bonds (.334/17 HR/87 RBI/83 R), C Jethro Bibbs (.316/14 HR/70 RBI/62 R) and 1B Enos Benham (.324/17 HR/46 RBI/78 R)... solid vet Dickie Key (.277/15 HR/82 RBI/83 R/14 SB) was a solid bat, too.

Outlook: manager Jerry Meeks has the Sundowners cranking on all cylinders...strong pitching, good offense and fine defense paved the way to the pennant for Wynnamac... moved up from distant third last year... should be tough in the Pro Cup playoffs... third-best record in the Ruthlandian Union this year... topped only by Middlefield (106-48) and Taranto (98-56).

2nd Place: Marston Nine (86-68) (9 GB)
Last Year: 2nd Place (94-60) (9 GB)
Season Forecast: 4th Place
Pro Cups: None
Playoffs: 7
Last Appearance: 2047

Team Stats: .291 BA (2nd)/832 runs (3rd)/122 HR (13th)/3.74 ERA (16th)/.970 FA
Pitchers: aging starters John Newton (16-9/2.76) and Thomas Stuart (15-10/3.81)... two good bullpenners in Robert Tringle (15-9/2.29/16 saves/82 G) and Kiki Vukk (6-6/2.44/6 saves/52 G)
Batters: All-Star 2B Damien D'Amboise (.332/7 HR/61 RBI/110 R/42 SB), rookie C Johnny Tibbetts (.321/18 HR/89 RBI/81 R), vet 3B Gary Armitage (.255/19 HR/84 RBI/107 R/24 SB), SS Andy Kirk (.309/4 HR/65 RBI/86 R/19 SB), vet CF D'Wayne Dotson (.306/13 HR/79 RBI/65 R/9 SB)... rookies LF Lou Greenleaf (.342/14 HR/68 RBI/54 R) and RF Curly Yeats (.317/10 HR/68 RBI/54 R/18 SB) did well in platoon roles... as did vet 1B Charley Gilmore (.338/5 HR/37 RBI/47 R)

Outlook: For Marston to stay a contender manager Russ Woodward need to infuse some youth into his rotation... the Nine has an aging staff... but they can hit, score and play defense.

3rd Place: Elnora All-Stars (83-71) (12 GB)
Last Year: 7th Place (68-86) (35 GB)
Season Forecast: 2nd Place
Pro Cups: 1 (2033)
Playoffs: 9
Last Appearance: 2035

Team Stats: .298 BA (1st)/881 runs (2nd)/154 HR (5th)/4.49 ERA (28th)/.965 FA
Pitchers: 7 rookies really contributed: Billy Ehrenreich (22-13/4.09) and Wade Mendenhall (16-18/4.37), along with long-time vet Slim Harding (16-17/4.45)... vet Stan Everett (9-4/3.39/11 saves/65 G) is reliable in the bullpen.
Batters: LF Robb Norwood (.367/12 HR/71 RBI/97 R/5 /SB), 2B Mickey Wilbur (.347/18 HR/89 RBI/74 R), 3B Dickie DeBusshere (.333/14 HR/82 RBI/90 R/6 SB), CF Pedro Abreu (.324/20 HR/64 RBI/102 R/13 SB), RF Dino Rosetti (.294/22 HR/86 RBI/68 R), SS Bobby Lee Carnahan (.288/9 HR/59 RBI/73 R) and 1B Glenn Ullman (.300/8 HR/77 RBI/82 R).

Outlook: vastly better this season... the future is bright for skipper Stan Kivas and his All-Stars and all his talented and youthful offense... but improved pitching is a must... can't get to the top level without a solid rotation.

4th Place: Sugar Valley Rattlers (77-77) (18 GB)
Last Year: 1st Place (103-51)
Season Forecast: 3rd Place
Pro Cups: 1 (2045)
Playoffs: 18
Last Appearance: 2051 and 3 years prior

Team Stats: .258 BA (23rd)/727 runs (17th)/182 HR (3rd-tied)/3.73 ERA (15th)/.971 FA
Pitchers: veteran staff, aging... 34-year-old Christopher Dunsberry (10-7/2.72), 37-year-old Davey Brennan (11-8/3.57), 32-year-old Joe Snow (15-16/3.95) and 34-year-old Antonio Cedeno (13-17/3.87)... Dunsberry and Brennan missed half the season with injuries.
Batters: prime players are 37-year-old CF Carl Ramsey (.267/37 HR/93 RBI/91 R/6 SB), rookie 1B Deke Lundy (.305/39 HR/104 RBI/79 R), rookie 3B Tuck Alstott (.298/25 HR/78 RBI/97 R/23 SB) and vet LF Marv Shaw (.294/23 HR/71 RBI/79 R/8 SB).

Outlook: manager Bobby Gamble has an aging mound corps... went from excellent to just pretty good this year... team ERA fell from splendid 2.81 to 3.73 ERA... injuries hurt in second-half slump... Rattlers hit with power, but are only average offensively... excellent defense.

5th Place: Beechwood Blues (73-81) (22 GB)
Last Year: 8th Place (62-92) (41 GB)
Season Forecast: 7th Place
Pro Cups: None
Playoffs: 3
Last Appearance: 2027

Team Stats: .256 BA (24th)/676 runs (25th)/103 HR (24th/4.16 ERA (24th)/.969 FA
Pitchers: 36-year-old Lanny Medford (19-10/2.91) only reliable starter... very good relievers with rookie Owen Greenacre (11-5/2.73/14 saves/72 G) and vet D. W. Downs (9-10/3.04/16 saves/64 G).
Batters: CF Rod McClellan (.294/21 HR/74 RBI/87 R/14 SB) and rookie SS Eldon Gilbert (.322/3 HR/51 RBI/55 R) are just about the only run producers... Gilbert made the RU All-Star team... not much talent in the batting order.

Outlook: improved a little this season... skipper Maury Patterson needs much more talent... in most respects just a lackluster, second-division club at this point.

6th Place: Belle Plaine Musketeers (69-85) (26 GB)
Last Year: 4th Place (77-77) (26 GB)
Season Forecast: 6th Place
Pro Cups: None
Playoffs: 1
Last Appearance: 2009

Team Stats: .269 BA (11th)/766 runs (8th)/153 HR (6th)/4.60 ERA (29th)/.964 FA
Pitchers: not a lot of quality... best of the lot is Joe-Joe Bouvier (10-14/4.39) and Al McKeown (14-20/4.91)... bullpen is decent with Takeo Kawamura (15-8/3.70/11 saves/86 G) and Clint Quick (8-4/3.46/8 saves/50 G)
Batters: the Muskies have two standout batters in stars RF Lenny Buisson (.333/36 HR/119 RBI/98 R/12 SB) and 1B Chuck Gregory (.316/27 HR/92 RBI/62 R)... 3B Kale Woodard (.307/4 HR/52 RBI/69 R) is a so-so bat, too... little else in the batting order.

Outlook: historically, one of the worst IPA franchises... just one playoff appearance, way back in 2009... pretty fair offense, but lousy pitching with poor defense... manager Slick Hammill has a tough job in Belle Plaine.

7th Place: Cold Creek Catamounts (62-92) (33 GB)
Last Year: 6th Place (69-85) (34 GB)
Season Forecast: 6th Place
Pro Cups: None
Playoffs: 8
Last Appearance: 2041

Team Stats: .266 BA (15th)/715 runs (19th)/108 HR (21st)/4.70 ERA (30th)/.966 FA
Pitchers: Spooky Robison (11-21/4.29) is just a fair starter... vet star Sammy Wright (14-20/5.15) may be ready to retire at 34.
Batters: 6-time All-Star 3B Joe Cochrane (.338/17 HR/89 RBI/101 R) is gifted player on the roster... he's a standout... 2B Milt Swallow (.242/26 HR/98 RBI/67) can hit with power, but not for average... but he can drive in runs... CF Albie Forbush (.278/12 HR/69 RBI/56 R) and RF Mel Parnell (.263/11 HR/75 RBI/74 R/10 SB) are just fair players.

Outlook: manager J. J. Gillespie has terrible pitching, average offense and defense... not a whole lot to look forward to... wholesale changes are needed.

8th Place: Eastshore Cotton Kings (59-95) (36 GB)
Last Year: 5th Place (70-84) (33 GB)
Season Forecast: 8th Place
Pro Cups: 2 (2016 and 2017)
Playoffs: 7
Last Appearance: 2034

Team Stats: .254 BA (27th)/662 runs (27th)/98 HR (27th)/4.34 ERA (26th)/.960 FA
Pitchers: closer Trent Niven (12-7/2.86/14 saves/81 G) does his job very well, but the club lacks starters... Malcolm Tansbury (9-23/3.84) is the best of the lot in the rotation
Batters: except for fine rookie 3B Herman Fair (.345/14 HR/71 RBI/75 R/20 SB) there are no quality ballplayers on the roster.

Outlook: manager Scotty Lagrange really needs some help... the Cotton Kings are really, really bad.
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Old 12-26-2016, 01:45 PM   #5356
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Old 12-27-2016, 01:59 PM   #5357
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THE ISLANDIAN TIMES
Tuesday, September 17, 2052


NO CONTEST IN RU WEST, ROOSTERS RULE ROOST
The baseball experts picked the Middlefield Roosters (106-48) to run away with the Ruthlandian West Division and without question they did... the Roosters had it won at mid-season with a 10-game lead... but Middlefield continue to roll and wound up winning the pennant by a whopping 19 games over runner-up Rocky Rapids (87-67), topping third place Forest City (85-69) by 21 and fourth place Volusia (82-72) by 24 games... with the best record in the IPA this season, the Roosters are ready to crow some more and bring home their second IPA Pro Cup crown... Middlefield won its only IPA title in 2005.

1st Place: MIDDLEFIELD ROOSTERS (106-48)
Last Year: 1st Place (82-72)... the Roosters have won the pennant years 4 years in a row... and 7 times in the last 12 seasons.
Season Forecast: 1st Place
Pro Cups: 1 (2005)... beat Denton City Redbirds in 5 games
Playoffs: 15
Last Appearance: 2051

Team Stats: .270 BA (9th)/925 runs (1st)/206 HR (1st)/3.26 ERA (6th)/.969 FA
Pitchers: All-Star James Long (26-9/2.57), Hollis Dale (23-10/3.66), Larry Wheelhouse (20-14/4.14) and Chris Collier (16-8/3.57)... super bullpen with a 2.10 ERA, led by Norm Coventry (8-5/2.84/15 saves/47 G) and Ricky Farris (8-2/1.48/7 saves/42 G)
Batters: power galore with LF Trip Agarn (.292/37 HR/117 RBI/96 R/6 SB), CF Johnny Wyatt (.299/35 HR/101 RBI/96 R/4 SB), RF Rufus Blackburn (.260/34 HR/99 RBI/96 R/11 SB), SS Stan Radzikowski (.267/23 HR/82 RBI/84 R/9 SB) and 2B Natty Colclough (.254/21 HR/90 RBI/97 R)

Outlook: manager Rinky Tinker's Roosters do everything well... should be the favorite to win the Pro Cup trophy this year... one future problem is an aging rotation with most of the staff 32 to 37 years old.

2nd Place: Rocky Rapids Snappers (87-67) (19 GB)
Last Year: 8th Place (60-94) (22 GB)
Season Forecast: 2nd Place
Pro Cups: 1 (2019)... upset favored Ozarka in 4-game sweep
Playoffs: 6
Last Appearance: 2046

Team Stats: .258 BA (22nd)/667 runs (26th)/115 HR (17th-tied)/2.66 ERA (1st)/.968 FA
Pitchers: super rotation with ace Jamie Taylor (21-15/2.28), Clay Callaghan (19-9/2.28), Elvis Bonham (18-15/2.48) and Sammy Sterling (14-10/2.79)
Batters: not a lot at the plate... except for All-Star 2B Marty Featherstone (.312/26 HR/89 RBI/97 R/5 SB)... some decent hitters like CF Franciszka Antek (.290/11 HR/47 RBI/67 R/18 SB) and 1B Masaharu Kawasaki (.245/17 HR/73 RBI/65 R)... not much else.

Outlook: manager Junior Noland has a top-notch group of starters... not much in the bullpen... very little in the way of offense... it's tough to win pennants with pitching alone in the IPA... plays solid defense.

3rd Place: Forest City Firebirds (85-69) (21 GB)
Last Year: 7th Place (68-86) (14 GB)
Season Forecast: 3rd Place
Pro Cups: None
Playoffs: 5
Last Appearance: 2048

Team Stats: .260 BA (18th)/792 runs (5th)/182 HR (3rd-tied)/3.91 ERA (19th)/.964 FA
Pitchers: vet ace Rusty Howard (19-12/2.97) is excellent... aging vet Kelly Gilliam (17-16/4.04) may be slowing down at 36... Tim Varnado (13-6/3.20/22 saves/79 G) was a quality reliever this season.
Batters: manager Rich Barstow depends on the longball... LF Buddy Bessent (.281/25 HR/64 RBI/69 R), RF Dedrick Crone (.242/25 HR/74 RBI/60 R/6 SB), SS Clancy Beaufort (.230/22 HR/80 RBI/52 R/4 SB) provide the power... 1B Zippy Regan (.295/12 HR/56 RBI/102 R/21 SB) is a fine contact hitter.

Outlook: the Firebirds play better than they look on paper... they don't look like a third-place team.

4th Place: Volusia Vigilantes (82-72) (24 GB)
Last Year: 3rd Place (73-81) (9 GB)
Season Forecast: 4th Place
Pro Cups: 1 (2001)... V's won the inaugural IPA Pro Cup... swept 4 games from the Ginza Ninjas
Playoffs: 9
Last Appearance: 2043

Team Stats: .253 BA/610 runs (32nd)/42 HR (32nd)/3.10 ERA (4th)/.970 FA
Pitchers: quality staff... 5-starter deep... Drew Selby (21-13/3.01), Rique Batista (15-14/3.16), Casimiro Ramires (14-13/2.31), Mateus Branco (11-15/4.11) and Glen Horton (7-5/2.59)... closer Dan Hunt (13-10/3.93/14 saves/68 G) was very good at times, but inconsistent.
Batters: may be the worst offense in the IPA... zilch power... no strong hitters at all... 1B Santino Garcia (.285/9 HR/72 RBI/71 R/14 SB), SS Enos Cravens (.286/6 HR/46 RBI/58 R/9 SB), 2B Xando Passos (.278/2 HR/61 RBI/45 R/16 SB) and LF Leonardo Sanches (.273/3 HR/49 RBI/54 R/10 SB) are just fair hitters at best.

Outlook: pitching and defense carried Volusia quite a ways this season... manager Tubby Tarkanian need mucho help in scoring runs to really contend in the RU West.

5th Place: Stoner Stars (75-79) (31 GB)
Last Year: 2nd Place (75-79) (7 GB)
Season Forecast: 6th Place
Pro Cups: None
Playoffs: 3
Last Appearance: 2029

Team Stats: .252 BA (31st)/696 runs (23rd)/76 HR (31st)/3.84 ERA (18th)/.965 FA
Pitchers: Ira Monaghan (20-14/3.25), Stan Ulmer (14-12/3.86), Jayson Mannon (16-13/4.02) and Billy Horton (8-12/3.37) are a fair-to-middling rotation with a bad bullpen (4.36 ERA - 31st)
Batters: not much in the batting order... 2B Mac Lord (.275/8 HR/66 RBI/92 R/13 SB), SS Ernie Bowen (.302/3 HR/53 RBI/51 R/8 SB) and LF Al Cummings (.295/2 HR/64 RBI/70 R/38 SB) are just modest hitters with no power.

Outlook: skipper Fletch Fowler has some good, young arms... but has no offense at all... the Stars are just a second-division team.

6th Place: Sligo Rovers (74-80) (32 GB)
Last Year: 5th Place (tie) (69-85) (13 GB)
Season Forecast: 5th Place
Pro Cups: 1 (2021)... topped the White River Rascals in 5 games
Playoffs: 9
Last Appearance: 2040

Team Stats: .269 BA (10th)/737 runs (15th)/89 HR (29th)/3.30 ERA (7th)/.960 FA
Pitchers: good set of starters with Mitch Taylor (18-10/2.34), Mickey Walsh (18-12/2.50), Ayden Evans (17-14/3.17) and Craig Hurley (13-17/4.07)... not much help in the bullpen
Batters: an average attack and little power with SS Tommy Alberts (.276/18 HR/80 RBI/94 R/22 SB), C Jim Sadler (.310/7 HR/73 RBI/60 R), 1B Curly Burgess (.283/14 HR/62 RBI/57 R), CF Merle Bliss (.281/10 HR/61 RBI/70 R/21 SB) and 3B Paddy Durham (.257/11 HR/77 RBI/56 R/15 SB).

Outlook: manager Les Patterson has a young squad with good potential... better bullpen and more power would do wonders for the Sligo Rovers.

7th Place: Colfax Blasters (64-90) (42 GB)
Last Year: 4th Place (70-84) (12 GB)
Season Forecast: 7th Place
Pro Cups: 1 (2010)... edged the Turon Typhoons in a thrilling 7-game series
Playoffs: 13
Last Appearance: 2042

Team Stats: .273 BA (7th)/722 runs (18th)/140 HR (7th)/4.41 ERA (27th)/.963 FA
Pitchers: only good starter is Keith Himmel (12-14/2.88)... only one good reliever... that is Robbie Parker (1-2/2.24/12 saves/54 G)
Batters: three All-Stars carry the offense: C Darrell Dillon (.312/32 HR/110 RBI/87 R), LF Robb Maddux (.319/17 HR/79 RBI/94 R/16 SB) and SS Dan Zalewski (.312/11 HR/75 RBI/91 R)... not much after them in the lineup

Outlook: manager Mitch Fullerton has to build up his pitching corps and add some bats, too... didn't make any progress this year... likely to stay on the bottom of the division for awhile

8th Place: Fort Benton Defenders (54-100) (52 GB)
Last Year: 5th Place (tie) (69-85) (13 GB)
Season Forecast: 8th Place
Pro Cups: None
Playoffs: 1
Last Appearance: 2037

Team Stats: .272 BA (8th)/746 runs (13th)/82 HR (30th)/4.96 ERA (32nd)/.961 FA
Pitchers: rookie Perry Blystone (6-4/2.63) was the only good starter... 37-year-old Jordy Raeburn (11-22/5.62) had the best stats, but looks he will retire after this year... 32-year-old vet Darius Kimberly (8-7/2.85/9 saves/84 G) did fairly well in the bullpen
Batters: the most productive bats were CF Freddie Woodruff (.291/7 HR/65 RBI/98 R/24 SB) and RF Tom Turner (.287/12 HR/75 RBI/76 R/14 SB)... rookie 3B Eamon Hooper (.282/11 HR/68 RBI/63 R/11 SB) had a productive season... rookie LF Charlie Bondy (.302/4 HR/64 RBI/64 R), C Varnell Larrimore (.263/9 HR/85 RBI/56 R) and SS Lucien Lindsey (.262/11 HR/59 RBI/94 R/30 SB) helped the offense as well.

Outlook: manager Augie Marquis has some good up-and-coming players in his arsenal, but Fort Benton will stay at the bottom of the RU West until it comes up with some quality pitchers... they are sorely lacking now.
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Old 12-27-2016, 10:08 PM   #5359
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THE ISLANDIAN TIMES
Tuesday, September 17, 2052


RED CAPS END RASCALS' RUN IN TU NORTH
The White River Rascals have been running roughshod over the Tycobbian North Division for the past four seasons... but the Rascals' run came to an end in 2052 at the hands of the Oxford Red Caps... it could have easily been the Mahaska Haymakers that did it, but they lost a sudden-death playoff game to Oxford... the Red Caps ravaged them 11-3 for the TU North pennant... third place did go to White River... the Rascals lost out by 3 and a half games... in the fourth spot were the Hartsdale Hellcats, just 4 and a half game out.

This will be the first time Oxford has been to the playoffs since 2007, when they won their only Pro Cup over four decades ago... it's been a long, long, long time coming.

It really was a fierce, year-long battle in the Tycobbian North between Oxford (86-69), Mahaska (85-70) and Hartsdale (81-73)... White River (82-72) didn't play well in the first half of the season and trailed by 12 games at mid-year... they got hot late, but couldn't catch Oxford or Mahaska, but they came close to winning again.

1st Place: OXFORD RED CAPS (86-69)
Last Year: 5th Place (75-79) (22 GB)
Season Forecast: 2nd Place
Pro Cups: 1 (2007)... Oxford captured its only IPA crown by beating Stoner in 5 games... hasn't made the postseason since.
Playoffs: 5
Last Appearance: 2007

Team Stats: .270 BA (11th)/900 runs (3rd)/167 HR (7th)/4.19 ERA (23rd)/.960 FA
Pitchers: good trio of starters in Lou Ellison (21-16/4.02), Rudy Mellancamp (21-14/3.66) and Tekkan Nishikawa (18-12/4.75)... they have to pitch in a small ballyard with close fences down the lines... not much of a bullpen.
Batters: the Red Caps can really swing a bat... sparked by All-Star CF Dwayne Wagner (.287/28 HR/125 RBI/101 R), All-Star SS Mito Fujikawa (.265/25 HR/108 RBI/100 R/24 SB), LF Ozzy Ackerman (.294/29 HR/98 RBI/96 R/37 SB), 3B Allen Spears (.290/10 HR/80 RBI/90 R/8 SB) and RF Wade McGrew (.277/27 HR/81 RBI/74 R/5 SB)

Outlook: Oxford manager Dennis Hartwig has plenty of hitters, but lacks the pitching to go deep into the Pro Cup playoffs... East Point, Kenwood and Turon can all hit well, but has superior pitching staffs... the Red Caps can look forward to the future... they are a relatively young club.

2nd Place: Mahaska Haymakers (85-70) (1 GB)
Last Year: 2nd Place (87-67) (10 GB)
Season Forecast: 3rd Place
Pro Cups: None
Playoffs: 4
Last Appearance: 2028

Team Stats: .275 BA (5th)/769 runs (15th)/98 HR (28th-tied)/3.73 ERA (11th)/.965 FA
Pitchers: Pip Cordice (20-15/3.04), Bobby Kelman (22-7/3.57) are the only quality starters... bullpen is just average
Batters: Haymakers don't have a knockout punch... not much punch and power... but can make contact and score runs... RF Roy Wilson (.328/3 HR/67 RBI/82 R/18 SB), rookie SS Paul Waldrep (.311/2 HR/66 RBI/77 R/10 SB), CF Tom Norborne (.301/19 HR/61 RBI/71 R/7 SB), 3B Goose Fulton (.266/12 HR/79 RBI/58 R) and C Johnny Samarin (.262/7 HR/69 RBI/60 R)

Outlook: Haymaker skipper Travis Tuttle has the club on the rise with a fairly young team... looking good for the future.

3rd Place: White River Rascals (82-72) (3.5 GB)
Last Year: 1st Place
Season Forecast: 1st Place
Pro Cups: None
Playoffs: 8
Last Appearance: 2048 to 2051... won TU North four years in a row... lost to IPA champ three straight years in the playoffs... Pro Cup finalist in '49 and '50... lost to Valmara... fell to Arlon in Tycobbian LCS in '51

Team Stats: .255 BA (26th)/725 runs (24th)/144 HR (17th)/3.50 ERA (7th)/.969 FA
Pitchers: only Nicky Palmer (21-12/2.41) had a good year... the other starters slipped a notch or two this season... Keil Trickett (15-13/3.63) and Artie Wynyard (15-13/4.13) had fair years, but not standout years as they did a year ago.
Batters: club leaders were All-Star CF Pudge Tate (.298/30 HR/84 RBI/91 R/13 SB), LF Ryne Hyland (.295/27 HR/82 RBI/106 R/33 SB) and 1B Billy Joe Hickman (.293/24 HR/79 RBI/59 R)

Outlook: White River manager Marty Blake still has a young ballclub... the Rascals should be around and in contention for the next few years... they just need to get their pitching staff back to where it was last year... too many of them had down years this year... the core of the team is still there.

4th Place: Hartsdale Hellcats (81-73) (4.5 GB)
Last Year: 4th Place (80-74) (17 GB)
Season Forecast: 5th Place
Pro Cups: 1 (2046)... the Hellcats took an exciting 7-game series from Valmara
Playoffs: 9
Last Appearance: 2047

Team Stats: .266 BA (19th)/738 runs (21st)/148 HR/13th-tied)/3.84 ERA (12th)/.964 FA
Pitchers: two fine starters in Perry Givens (19-9/3.25) and Gil Younger (15-17/3.77)... reliable bullpen with Roy Krieger (12-6/1.48/20 saves/78 G) and Steve Owens (8-5/2.22/10 saves/59 G)
Batters: just a bunch of average hitters... the top run producers are All-Star C Kenton Carmichael (.292/26 HR/82 RBI/89 R), 3B Smokey Nix (.274/17 HR/62 RBI/78 R.7 SB) and CF Justin Cutler (.264/14 HR/64 RBI/57 R/8 SB)

Outlook: Hellcat manager Wayne Dawson had them in contention the entire year... all he needs is a solid starter or two... and one or two longball threats to step it up another notch to hoist the TU North pennant over their ballpark.

5th Place: Blue Lake Blue Sox (72-82) (13.5 GB)
Last Year: 6th Place (61-93) (36 GB)
Season Forecast: 7th Place
Pro Cups: 1 (2030)... the Blue Sox were surprise victors over the Valmara Vipers in 7 games
Playoffs: 3
Last Appearance: 2030... the Pro Cup year

Team Stats: .235 BA (32nd)/629 runs (31st)/98 HR (28th-tied)/3.86 ERA (14th)/.962 FA
Pitchers: a pair of pretty good starters in Al Easley (14-12/3.08) and Dookie Denham (13-12/3.00)... Marty Manush (13-11/2.40/10 saves/71 G) is the best in the bullpen... overall a better-than-averge mound staff
Batters: poor offense... best of the worst is C Juan Luis Barcelona (.284/12 HR/70 RBI/66 R)... LF Burl Baugh (.242/25 HR/83 RBI/64 R) can produce runs on occasion with longballs... best of the bad are 2B Tyler Blake (.268/2 HR/50 RBI/61 R) and 1B Jude Rupp (.248/13 HR/64 RBI/69 R)

Outlook: Blue Sox skipper Frankie Quinn has a tough row to hoe... not a lot of talent in Blue Lake... just a second-division team.

6th Place: North Hills Hawks (71-83) (14.5 GB)
Last Year: 8th Place (46-108) (51 GB)
Season Forecast: 4th Place
Pro Cups: 4... won them all '34 to '41... whipping Crystal Lake (2034), St. John (2036), Far Mountain (2038), Cold Creek (2041)
Playoffs: 13
Last Appearance: 2045... won 11 pennants in 12 years from 2034

Team Stats: .268 BA (17th)/718 runs (26th-tied)/65 HR (32nd)/4.01 ERA (17th)/.972 FA
Pitchers: Thad Vachon (15-18/3.36), Stan Kallis (14-17/4.06) and Doyle Blalock (13-15/4.18) are decent starters... and DeWitt Dobkins (10-6/2.96/12 saves/75 G) is a solid closer
Batters: no power at the plate... but they have several pretty fair hitters in 2B Sam Dunstone (.327/0 HR/47 RBI/102 R/21 SB), RF Cliff Mahaffey (.289/6 HR/81 RBI/99 R/18 SB) and 3B Justin Roscoe (.291/11 HR/98 RBI/59 R)

Outlook: North Hills manager David Michael did well in his first season, improving from a disasterous 46-108 in '51 to a decent 71-81 this season... the team still has a ways to go get into contention for the division flag.

7th Place: Luxora Zorros (68-86) (17.5 GB)
Last Year: 3rd Place (82-72) (15 GB)
Season Forecast: 8th Place
Pro Cups: None
Playoffs: 11
Last Appearance: 2031

Team Stats: .257 BA (25th)/713 runs (29th)/127 HR (20th-tied)/4.08 ERA (21st)/.967 FA
Pitchers: Mack Wellman (16-16/3.62) and Paolo De Freitas (15-13/4.25) are the most reliable starters... the overall staff is fairly good, but is aging a little.
Batters: just a bunch of decent hitters... no one special... led by 1B Tuff McLendon (.291/17 HR/97 RBI/74 R)... and SS Emmett Cusack (.280/10 HR/57 RBI/96 R/42 SB)

Outlook: Manager Kent Halloran took over the Zorros this year, but the season wasn't as bad as expected... it will take quite a few talented players to get Luxora up into contention... not likely to happen soon.

8th Place: Fairfax Frogs (64-90) (21.5 GB)
Last Year: 7th Place (57-97) (40 GB)
Season Forecast: 6th Place
Pro Cups: None
Playoffs: 8
Last Appearance: 2033

Team Stats: .273 BA (9th)/714 runs (28th)/85 HR (31st)/4.48 ERA (25th)/.969 FA
Pitchers: staff is bad at best... Shaun O'Riley (11-16/3.92), Jay Jay Dillaway (13-14/4.20) and Luca Cusimano (15-18/4.35) are just mediocre starters... bullpen isn't much better... closer is Lyle Linden (8-10/3.45/15 saves/86 G) is fairly reliable.
Batters: no power... but some fairly decent contact hitters in RF rookie Paddy Fenroy (.291/3 HR/60 RBI/102 R/26 SB), CF Kaz Ozaki (.291/10 HR/57 RBI/93 R/22 SB), C Scott Courtney (.296/21 HR/84 RBI/68 R), rookie RF Downtown Wyatt (.301/7 HR/81 RBI/65 R/8 SB) and SS Cade Durning (.290/5 HR/49 RBI/80 R)

Outlook: new Fairfax manager John Velasco saw modest improvements this season, mainly from the influx of several talented rookies... still has a long, long way to go... improvement needed in all aspect of the team... could be a few years from contention.
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Last edited by Eugene Church; 12-28-2016 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 12-27-2016, 10:13 PM   #5360
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