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Toledo Day 3

By Bob Totterer
Saturday, August 1st, 2015

Quarterfinal Game: Dodgers - 9, Astros - 8

Saturday, August 1st, 12:00 PM - What was that I said yesterday? Oh, yeah - "Even when they're down, they're rarely down and out." That was certainly the case in this quarterfinal matchup. The Dodgers drew first blood with a run in the first inning. The game stayed 1-0 until the Astros batted in the top of the fifth. 7 runs would cross the plate before the third out was registered. With one out, starter Tyler Greene was lifted in favor of Josh Rye, who also exited after struggling with a handful of 'Stros batters. Enter Wesley Pyles. The lefthander came in with one out, two runners on base and a peck 'o trouble happening on the field. He promptly retired the first two batters he faced to put out the fire, and would go on to pitch scoreless baseball through the eighth. His performance on the mound was the key to what the Dodgers would pull off in this do-or-die matchup.

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Toledo Day 2

By Bob Totterer
Friday, July 31st, 2015

Pool Play, Game Three:  Dodgers - 10, Hawks - 0

I went to bed last night thinking about that stinker of a game the Dodgers played against the Crocodiles on Thursday.  The scoreboard read like the national debt - one crooked number after another.  But in spite of all the bitter memories, the team was in a cheery mood when they boarded the bus bound for Bowman Park and a 9:00 AM game with the Toledo Hawks.  After only one inning was completed it became apparent that the Dodgers players had left their evil twins back at the hotel.  Thank the baseball gods.  This was the Dodgers team that had earned a trip to Toledo.

Jake Patzner started for the men in blue and pitched a complete game shutout, striking out eight.  He worked out of trouble in about half of those innings, stranding three in the sixth.  Meanwhile, his teammates muscled up on offense.  Leftfielder Dashawn Lindsay had a four-hit day and started the game-ending rally.  Both second baseman Keith Grieshaber and D.H. Matt Brown went 3 for 4.  Together, this trio stymied the Hawks' pitching staff.  Grieshaber also made two, very fine plays on defense.  One was a full extension dive into short centerfield to snag a looping fly ball and the other was a diving catch on a sinking infield liner, which he turned into an unassisted double play at second base.

The Dodgers were running on all cylinders in a must-win game to decide who stays in Toledo and who goes home.  As it turns out, we will be staying .. at least for one more day.  Next up is the quarterfinal round, wherein the Dodgers are paired against the Long Island Astros.  The first pitch will be thrown at noon on Saturday.

Read more: Toledo Day 2

Toledo Day 1

By Bob Totterer
Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Pool Play, Game One: Dodgers 3, Gamecocks 1

 

Game one of pool play was the type of game one would expect in World Series Competition. The Dodgers' leadoff hitter, Keith Grieshaber, led off the game with a single to left, stole second, went to third on an errant throw and subsequently score the game's first run. The Dodgers added two more in the third and would make those runs hold up against a stingy Gamecocks defense.

Meanwhile, Michael Lyndon-Lorson manhandled the Gamecocks hitters, allowing only one run on a broken-back liner to center in his six and one third innings of work. He would give way to Jake Haberer, who pitched very effectively until he ran into a trouble in the bottom of the ninth. Manager Gus Lombardo then summoned Louis Garza to the mound with one out and the tying runs on base. He didn't disappoint, dispatching the two men he faced to give the Dodgers their first win of the World Series.

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TOLEDO-BOUND!

By Bob Totterer
Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Wednesday, July 29th - at 6:00 AM sharp, a Cavallo Bus Lines charter swung out of the parking lot at Vianney High School and onto Lindbergh Boulevard. On board were the players and coaches of the St. Louis Metro Collegiate Dodgers, enroute to Toledo, Ohio and the 2015 NABF College World Series. You may recall that these Dodgers brought a World Series winner home in 2013 and, though well-positioned to repeat in 2014, an untimely water emergency in the city of Toledo resulted in the tournament being cancelled the morning of the quarter finals.

Well, the water looks just fine and so does the weather forecast. So is this a year of destiny? Just how good is the 2015 version of the Dodgers? We'll find out soon enough against the likes of the Long Island Gamecocks, the Michigan Rams, the Oil City Stags and a host of other college summer teams, each of which won a qualifying tournament or a competitive league such as ours to earn a berth in the NABF World Series.

Pool play begins on Thursday, as the Dodgers square off against the Long Island Gamecocks in a contest at high noon, followed at 3:00 PM with a game versus the Creekside Crocodiles. Play within that bracket will conclude on Friday with a 9:00 AM game against the Toledo Hawks. Both the quarterfinal and semi-final brackets are scheduled to play on Saturday, with the Championship game slated for 11:00 AM, Sunday. If they make it to the Championship, the boys in blue will have played six games in four days. In the height of the summer, that's a grueling course to follow.

Read more: TOLEDO-BOUND!

League MVP, Justin Busekrus, Leads American Team to All-Star Game Victory

By: Sophie Ozier

During the first two innings of the Metro Collegiate All-Star Game, Justin Busekrus showed everyone why he was named Most Valuable Player for the 2015 season.

Busekrus (Trojans) got things started for the Metro Collegiate American team, hitting a hard liner up the middle for a base hit. He was later moved into scoring position on a single from Matt Brown (Bandits) and both came around to score on a double from second baseman Dan Mannion (Bandits).

The score remained 2-0 in the American Team’s favor until Busekrus came up again in the second inning. With two runners on and two outs, Busekrus sent a pitch high over the centerfield wall, extending the teams lead to 5-0.

Read more: League MVP, Justin Busekrus, Leads American Team to All-Star Game Victory

Justin Busekrus: Metro Player of the Week

By: Sophie Ozier

After leading the Metro Collegiate Trojans to a 10-game winning streak, centerfielder, Justin Busekrus has been named Metro Player of the Week.

“Basically he got hot and we won 10 in a row,” said Trojans head coach, Garrett Bauer. “We lost yesterday (Wednesday) and he went 0-4, so that kind of shows you how big of a role he’s played on our team.”

In the second week of play for the Trojans, Busekrus went 10-13, with two home-runs and 10 RBIs. He continued his success the next week, hitting .481 (13-27) with one homer and 11 RBIs. Busekrus has the second highest batting average in the league (.463) and leads the league with 25 RBIs.

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Metro Collegiate Baseball attends PGA Reach Fund Raiser Dinner

On Sunday, June 28th a contingent from St. Louis Metro Collegiate Baseball attended the Gateway Section of PGA Reach Dinner Auction.   The event was hosted by Gateway Section President and Honorary Metro Collegiate Chairman and great friend, Ozzie Smith.

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Four More Metro League Alumni drafted last week in MLB Amateur Draft

By Sophie Ozier

As the 2015 MLB Player Draft concluded, four additional Metro League Alums were taken in the MLB amateur draft.   Geoff Hartlieb, Orlando Oliveria, Matt Meier and Josh Lester all played for St. Louis Metro Collegiate teams during the 2013 season. Tate Matheny was selected on day one of the draft, so this brings the total to 5 in 2015.   “We fully expect a few more of our guys to sign as free agents, so all in all, we’re very pleased with the 2015 Draft class from Metro Collegiate Baseball,” said Marty Stein, League President.

Read more: Four More Metro League Alumni drafted last week in MLB Amateur Draft

Branneky Earns SLIAC Player of the Year

By Sophie Ozier

Tyler Branneky, a junior from Westminster College and four-year Metro Collegiate Player, was named the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) Baseball Player of the Year for 2015.

“I was really excited about it. I hadn’t really thought I was going to get it, so I was pretty surprised,” said Branneky upon hearing about the award. “I think this was just a confirmation that what I’ve been doing is working.”

Branneky led the Westminster Blue Jays with a .413 batting average and broke the school’s RBI single-season record with 45. He also tied the school’s career triple record with eight, six of which came during the 2015 season. Westminster finished the year with a 24-12 record, going 16-6 in SLIAC conference play.

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Bilbrey, Estes Join Metro League to Coach Green Sox

By Sophie Ozier

For the past two summers, C.J. Bilbrey served as the head coach for the Explorers, which played in another college-age league.  There he led his team to an overall 47-22 record, winning the league championship in 2013.

This season Bilbrey has joined forces with Harris-Stowe State University colleague (and Metro Alumnus) Dave Estes, to serve as co-coaches for the Metro Collegiate Green Sox.  Although the two didn’t start coaching together until 2014, they played together on Harris-Stowe’s team for two seasons. Estes has just concluded his seventh season as the head coach and Bilbrey his second season as assistant coach for the Hornets, prior to making their coaching debut with the Metro League on June 1.

“The wooden bats are a huge difference in this league.  There’s absolutely no question that a wood bat is the real tool of the hitting game.  College players who use wooden bats during the summer months really step up their game."    Is it harder to hit with a wooden bat?   "Oh, you bet!    That's why so many “rec” players and leagues stay with metal.  They think it gives them an edge when it's actually holding them back."

Read more: Bilbrey, Estes Join Metro League to Coach Green Sox