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Spicolli and the Hitman Win Co-MVP Award


Matt "Spicolli" Germar

Scott "Hitman" Gatzke

Matt Germar and Scott Gatzke shared the MVP award for the tournament in close voting by the team.  Matt pitched terrifically and accounted for two wins as he struck out an astounding 39 batters in only 23.1 innings along with collecting six hits on offense.  Scott went 17 for 32 and played a solid shortstop including two diving stops to begin rally-killing, inning-ending, bases loaded DPs early in the quarterfinal game.  Eddy Urena and John Tatley also received votes as they each had a very good tournament.  Orlando voted for himself.

Overall Record For 2003 RHWS Tournament:  5 wins and 4 losses.

We've drawn a pretty tough schedule to start the tournament as two of our first three games are against very good teams.  The Suds we're a high AAAA team last year and the A's were in the Elite division, which has been eliminated this year.  We have a pretty good team, however, so stay tuned.

Game 1

Sunday 11-2 10:00am vs. the Cincinnati Suds  (Lee County 1)  8-4 Loss

Game Recap:

We struggled through this game.  Burnsy was the starting pitcher and did OK, but the defense let him down a bit.  We played sloppy ball and didn't hit their starter, who was very hittable.  We lost 8-4 but our bats really started coming around at the end of the game and that was an omen for things to come in the nightcap.

Game 2

Sunday 11-2 1:45pm vs. the Akron Indians  (Lee County Stadium)  18-13 Win

Game Recap:

This was an interesting game.  Matt (Spicolli) Germar started on the hill and was untouchable through three innings.  The Indians looked completely overmatched as Matt struck out 14 in 5 2/3 innings.  We took an 11-4 lead but eventually blew it by playing poor defense and our hitting stopped after the sixth inning but we still had an 11-7 lead after seven innings.  The wheels came off in the eighth however as Akron tallied six times to take a 13-11 lead and they thought they had the game in their pocket.  We came up big in the ninth though as Spicolli hit a one-out double to start things and was followed by Staller reaching on an error, a walk by Lueder, Tatley reached on an error and hits by Gatzke, Eddy, Jay Wright, Kiddo and Orlando rounded out the seven-run ninth.  Akron never recovered and managed only a single walk in the bottom of the ninth.

Game 3

Tuesday 11-4 6:00pm vs. RS Walsh Landscaping White Sox  (Terry Park 2)  14-3 Win

Game Recap:

This was a good game for the Millers.  We gave up three runs in the first inning but then scored 14 unanswered runs to win the game in seven innings.  Corny hit the first pitch that he saw for a homerun over the leftfield fence.  Gatzke went 3 for 4 and Orlando and Larry each had two doubles to lead the offensive onslaught.  Burnsy pitched a strong six innings and Matt Germar pitched the last to close out the the game invoking the mercy rule after seven innings.  

Game 4

Wednesday 11-5 10:00am vs. the Akron A's  (Lee County 3)  16-1 Loss

Game Recap:

Rain swept through the Fort Myers area on Sunday night into Monday morning and all morning games were postponed until Wednesday morning.  The weather cleared up by late morning and the team took full advantage of the break by relaxing, heading into town for lunch and hanging out on the beach playing a little football.

Well, we played this game on Wednesday and we got pummeled 16-1.  Knuckleballer Tim Lueder had trouble spotting his pitches and the A's took advantage.  They only hit a handful of balls hard but they did drop a bunch of dink hits just over the infield.  We managed only about six hits and played poor defense.  Afterward we had a few beers, spent the afternoon on the beach - and once again the world revolved in greased grooves.

Game 5

Thursday 11-6 2:50pm vs. Cincinnati Cobalts (5-Plex 4)  14-10 Loss

Game Recap:

Thursday was a weird day with rain on Wednesday causing more scheduling havoc.  Many of Wednesday's games had to be played Thursday morning and the pairings in the bracket could not be completed until the scores were all tallied.  This caused a delay to the start of afternoon games with all teams waiting at Lee County Stadium for word of who they would play and where.  Several of the millers players were rested at the start of the game to save them for the playoffs.  The thinking was that if we won the game we would wind up in the AAA bracket and in the AA if we lost.  Larry Gessler was the starting pitcher and kept Cincinnati off balance for the first five innings while the Millers built up a 10-5 lead.  Many players wanted Corny to insert Germar or Burnsy on the hill to shut the Cobalts down but Corny and Gatzke wanted to hold them back and save them for the playoffs.  In the sixth, the Cobalts mounted a comeback, scoring nine runs before the he inning was over.  The game was eventually called on account of darkness after seven innings with the Cobalts winning 14-10.  The move to save pitching proved insightful and paid dividends later in the tournament.

Game 6 (First round of playoffs)

Friday 11-7 10:00am vs. Sechler & Associates (Terry Park 4)  13-3 Win

Game Recap:

Friday morning brought the first round of the playoffs as the Millers were seeded 8th in the AA bracket and did not get a first round bye.  Sechler scored in the first inning and retained a 1-0 lead until the fourth inning when the Millers scored four times to take the lead for good.  The second pitcher for Sechler was Hipolito Pena who, at one time, pitched for both the Pittsburgh Pirates and the NY Yankees.  Orlando and Mike Eicher each hit homeruns and Gatzke went 3 for 4 to lead the offense.  Spicolli pitched the first seven innings and added eight more strikeouts to his impressive total for the tournament.  Burnsy pitched the last two to nail down the 13-3 win.  

Game 7 (Second round of playoffs)

Friday 11-7 1:45pm vs. RS Walsh Landscaping White Sox  (Terry Park 2)  10-2 Win

Game Recap:

For the second time in two days we had to play RS Walsh (a local team) at their home field.  The script for this game was similar to the one from Wednesday with Walsh taking an early lead and the Millers coming from behind for the win.  The Millers started putting runs on the board with a three-spot in the fourth.  Eddy was 2 for 4 with a triple, Scott Wilgenbusch went 2 for 3 with a double, John Tatley was 3 for 3 and Gatzke was 2 for 4 with a double and snuffed two Walsh rallies with diving stops to begin inning ending double plays with the bases loaded in the second and third innings.  After that the Millers rolled to a 10-2 victory.  Burnsy pitched the first eight innings striking out eight and Germar struck out three more in a perfect ninth.

Game 8 (Third round of playoffs)

Saturday 11-8 10:00am vs. Minnesota Bandits  (5-Plex 5)  6-4 Win

Game Recap:

We thought the we couldn't meet the Bandits in the playoffs until the championship game but somehow they paired us against each other in the semifinals.  The Millers struck first with two runs in the first but the Bandits came back with three in the second and made a game of it.  Jay Wright injured his ankle on a slide at the plate in the fifth inning and was taken to a hospital where he remained until after the last game of the day.  It appears that Jay tore either tendons or ligaments on the play but x-rays were negative as no bones were broken.  (On further review back in Minnesota, it appears as if Donkey has a hairline fracture in his leg.)  The Millers tied it in the fourth and it remained that way until the eighth when the Millers scored three times.  Wilgenbusch went 2 for 3 with a double and a stolen base and Gatzke went 3 for 4.  Spicoloi pitched the first eight innings and added 12 more strikeouts.  Burnsy pitched the ninth getting two quick outs but he then gave up three consecutive hits and one run before striking out Bruce Doney to end the game.  The final was 6-4.

Game 9 (Championship Game)

Saturday 11-8 1:45pm vs. Dayton Wolves  (Lee County Stadium)  12-7 Loss

Game Recap:

This was another disappointing game as the Millers stayed close to a very good Dayton team and actually had a 6-4 lead heading into the eighth inning.  Larry Gessler, in relief of Burnsy, got the first out in the eighth but then gave up a single and a double before Corny brought Spicoloi in to pitch.  Matt then gave up a couple of hits and a walk and soon five runs had scored to give the Wolves a 9-6 lead.  They added three more runs off of Tim Lueder in the ninth and the Millers could muster only a single run in the ninth to make the final 12-7 for the Wolves.  Eddy was 3 for 3 and Orlando had two hits and 3 RBI.