Dragons Finish Second in 2012 World Series
Juan Eichelberger pitched a complete game to propel Berry’s Athletic Supply to a 7-2 victory over the Greenwood Ridge Dragons at Tempe Diablo Stadium, scattering 9 hits, walking none and striking out 4. He also delivered two singles at the plate, as did Tom Bendickt, and Mike Tricker contributed an rbi double. Mark Fess and Craig Rickeman each had two hits for the Dragons.
Dragons starting pitcher Gary Spitzack was betrayed by 3 unearned runs and forced to leave the game with a knee injury in the second inning. Larry Hendrickson pitched 5 heroic innings in relief, giving up just one earned run before also suffering a leg injury. Randy Olson pitched the last 2 innings, allowing the last Berry’s run.
The Dragons had finished pool play 5-1, including 3 victories over Berry’s, who advanced to the championship game with a 3-3 record. (There were only 3 teams in the division.) “It’s tough beating a team 3 out of 4 only to see them walk off with the trophy,” said Dragons manager/centerfielder Allan Green. “Berry’s is perennially a strong, very deep team. It’s hard to match up with them for 4 games, and it took an underage former major league pitcher to beat us, so we feel good about our showing in our first year in the 60+ National division.”
Bob Loflin bolstered the Dragon pitching staff, picking up 2 wins in relief in pool play. Tony Shimetz led the Dragons with 8 rbis. Craig Rickeman (.571), Jim Hurt (.545, 8 runs), John Metras (.533), Mark Adams (.500), Allan Green (.500), and Mark Fess (.455) hit well all week for the Dragons.
The Dragons’ second place finish (out of 24 teams) wrapped up another remarkable season. They won their 3rd consecutive league title and also won the Best in the West tournament in Woodland. They finished with an overall record of 31-7.
Dragons Win 3rd Straight R.E.B.L. Championship
Dominating pitching carried the Greenwood Ridge Dragons to their third straight R.E.B.L. 55+ title, climaxed by a 10-3 win over the Silver Sox. Dragon starter Jesse Bower limited the Silver Sox to 4 hits and pitched around 6 Dragon errors in a complete game win. Errors on the first three batters of the game staked the Silver Sox to a 3 run lead before the Dragons recorded the first out, but Bower shut the Sox out in the rest of the way. Mark Fess had 3 hits for the Dragons, and Bower helped his own cause with 3 rbis.
The first game of the series featured a pitching duel between Larry Hendrickson of the Silver Sox and Gary Spitzack of the Dragons. Spitzack went all 9 innings, limiting the Silver Sox to one run on 6 hits. Meanwhile the Dragons chipped away at Hendrickson, scoring one in the first, 2 in the third and 2 more in the fifth to win 5-1. Mark Fess and Jesus Renteria had 3 hits a piece for the Dragons, and Steve Brye had 2 hits and 3 rbis.
The most remarkable story of the series was the heroic pitching performance of Larry Hendrickson, who started both games and went 6 innings in each after pitching (and winning) 2 games the previous weekend. The Silver Sox, who were the #2 seed after finishing 14-4, needed 3 games to get past the #3 seeded Ports in the first round of the playoffs. It was Hendrickson's pitching that carried them through to the finals.
To reach the Championship Series the Dragons, who finished the regular season 16-2, rode their strong starting pitching to two victories over the Knights, the #4 seed. Gary Spitzack gave up only 1 earned run (with relief help from Cuco Renteria) in a 15-3 win in the first game. In the second game the Dragons could only score 4 times off the Knights starter John Ball, but Jesse Bower pitched a complete game 4-hit shutout. Over the two playoff series, Spitzack gave up 2 earned runs in 17 innings, Bower no earned runs in 18 innings.
Leading the Dragons offense during the playoffs were Jesus Renteria (.643 batting average,6 runs scored), Steve Brye (.583, 5 rbis), Mark Fess (.538), Allan Green (.429), Maurilio Jara (.385, 5 rbis), Bob Harchut (.375) and Tom Rodrigues (.313, 7 rbis).
The Dragons had won R.E.B.L. 45+ titles each year from 2004 through 2008 and finished second in 2009. They have now won the 55+ division the last 3 years, but are encountering much stiffer competition as new teams and younger players come into the league.
Greenwood Ridge Dragons 2012 World Series team.
Larry Hendrickson pitched 5 innings in the championship game, allowing just one earned run.
Randy Olson pitched the final 2 innings of the championship game for the Dragons.
First baseman Jesse Bower awaits a pickoff attempt by Dragon starter Gary Spitzack.
2012 R.E.B.L. 55+ Champion Greenwood Ridge Dragons
Dragons starting pitcher Jesse Bower allowed no earned runs in 18 innings in the 2012 R.E.B.L. playoffs.
Dragons Win Fourth World Championship
The Greenwood Ridge Dragons returned from Arizona with their fourth Men's Senior Baseball League World Championship trophy in the last five years.
Moving up to the 60+ age division, the Dragons struggled early in the tournament, suffering their first loss of the season to the Sacramento Solons, 18-9. But the Dragons regrouped, defeated the defending champion San Diego Storm 6-1, and went on to beat Baltimore, San Antonio, Lehigh Valley and Austin to earn the #1 seed and a bye in the first round of the playoffs.
The Red Deer Snowbirds, from Alberta, Canada, emerged from the first playoff round only to be overpowered by the Dragons 10-3. Dragons starting pitcher Rich Petrillo threw 6 strong innings. Red Deer loaded the bases with no one out in the seventh, but reliever Randy Olson got the Dragons out of that jam without allowing a run and shut out the Snowbirds the rest of the way. Terry Fail drove in 5 of the Dragons' 10 runs with two doubles.
That set the stage for a rematch with the Sacramento Solons at Hohokam Stadium, the spring training home of the Chicago Cubs. Two uncharacteristic errors put the Dragons in a 4-1 hole, but Dragon hitters took advantage of a string of tired Sacramento pitchers to score 10 runs in the 3rd and 4th, which was plenty of cushion for Dragon starter Larry Hendrickson, who allowed only one earned run in 7 innings. The Dragons kept the pedal to the metal to win 14-5, emphatically avenging their earlier defeat.
Throughout the tournament the Dragons were led by M.V.P. Terry Fail, who had 14 hits and 11 rbi's. He doubled as the Dragons closer, finishing 4 games, allowing no runs in 8 innings. Dragons starters Jesse Bower and Larry Grant both pitched excellent games, with help from reliever Ernie Barten.
Catcher Tony Shimetz had 13 hits and scored 11 runs for the Dragons; shortstop Mark Fess also had 13 hits. Other leading hitters for the Dragons were Craig Rickeman (.500), Randy Olson (.467), Mark Adams (.444), Allan Green (.429), and Rick Torkelson (.412).
The World Series victory capped a remarkable season for the Dragons. They lost only one game all season, ending up with a 38-1 record, including an undefeated season in the Redwood Empire Baseball League 55+ division. They also won the Wine Country Classic Tournament in Santa Rosa and the Carl Flowers Memorial Tournament in Woodland in addition to their World Series title.
The Dragons were started in 2001 by Allan Green, centerfielder and owner of Greenwood Ridge Vineyards in Philo. Seven Dragon players live in Mendocino County; most of the rest come from Sonoma County. The Dragons have now won 4 world titles in tournaments in Arizona and Florida since 2007. They have a record of 246-50 since 2004.
World Series M.V.P. Terry Fail launches a double with the bases
loaded, driving in 3 runs to put the Dragons ahead for good in the
semi-final game against Alberta (Canada).
Dragons win 2011 League Championship
The Greenwood Ridge Dragons swept the Ports in their best of 3 championship series to complete their second consecutive undefeated Redwood Empire Baseball League season, finishing 24-0 in the 55+ age division.
In the first game, the Dragons took the lead with a 6-run second inning, but the Ports closed to 8-4 in the fifth. The Dragons responded with 10 runs in the next 3 innings and cruised home 18-5 behind starter Dennis McCroskey and reliever Jesse Bower. Ted Brooks pitched the entire game for the Ports.
The second game followed a similar pattern. Ports pitcher Dick Giberti kept it close for 6 innings, but the Dragons erupted for 10 unanswered runs to put the game away, 19-6. Jesus Renteria went the whole way for the win for the Dragons. Gary McKinnon and Dan Lepez each had 5 hits for the Ports in the series.
To reach the Championship series, the Dragons finished off the #4-seeded Dirt Dogs 13-2 and 12-1. The Ports lost their first game to the Knights 11-4, but came back to win the next two, 20-4 and 9-3. Dick Giberti pitched both ends of the doubleheader to pick up two wins.
Playoff M.V.P. Allan Green led the way for the Dragons throughout the playoffs, going 10 for 15 with 3 doubles, 3 walks, 13 runs scored, 4 rbi's, 5 stolen bases, and a highlight-reel catch in center field. Cuco Renteria had 10 hits and scored 9 runs, Tom Rodrigues 9 hits and 6 rbi's, and Doug Thomson 8 hits and 9 rbi's.
Dragons shortstop Mark Fess earned league M.V.P. honors; Jesse Bower of the Dragons won the league batting title. The Cy Young award went to David Charp of the Dirt Dogs.
Dragons Take Second in 2010 World Series
The Greenwood Ridge Dragons returned with a trophy (but no rings) from the 2010 Men's Senior Baseball League World Series in Phoenix. They finished second in a field of 32 teams from all over the US and Canada in the 55+ age group.
The Dragons won their division and advanced through the playoffs to the championship game. They took a 1-0 lead into the 7th inning thanks to extraordinary pitching by starter Larry Hendrickson, but could not hold on and this time were not able to stage one of their patented late innings rallies, falling 9-2 to the defending champion Sacramento Tribe.
Second baseman Jim Hurt tags out Tribe runner on steal attempt after taking throw from catcher Tony Shimetz.
Ray Allen steals second base in the championship game.
2009 Fall Classic
Dragons Win National Championship in Florida
After winning the World Championship in the 50+ age group at the M.S.B.L. World Series in Arizona in both 2007 and 2008, the Greenwood Ridge Dragons hardball team was invited to play in the 2009 52+ M.S.B.L. Fall Classic in West Palm Beach, Florida. So in November the Dragons flew to Florida, where they won four of five games to advance to the playoffs for the national championship.
After spotting the defending champion Delco Bandits a 4-1 lead, pitchers Dennis Brandlin and Pat Carroll shut them out for the last 7 innings. The Dragons tied the game in the seventh on a double by Rob Omo. Doug Thomson then drove in Omo with a single, and the Dragons held on to win 5-4.
In the semifinal game, the Dragons were able to avenge their one earlier loss by sending the Rhode Island Salty Dogs home by the score of 11-5. The Dragons erupted for 8 runs in the second inning, enabling starting pitcher Carlos Bryson to cruise to a complete game win.
Dragons starting pitcher Gary Spitzack dominated the Western Pennsylvania Bucs from the onset in the championship game. The Dragons supported him with 5 runs and errorless defense, and he went the distance for a 5-1 win, turning the long flight back to California into a joyous celebration.
Great pitching was the key for the Dragons; five Dragons pitchers combined for a 1.29 ERA in the 8 games. Shortstop Mark Fess, who hit .483 for the week and scored 9 runs, was named tournament M.V.P. Four other Dragons hit .400 or better for the week: Allan Green (Greenwood Ridge Vineyards winemaker/centerfielder), Rob Goldstein, Cuco Renteria, and Rick Torkelson.
The Greenwood Ridge Dragons play in the Redwood Empire Baseball League based in Santa Rosa. Founded in 2001, the team is comprised primarily of players from Mendocino and Sonoma counties, including three former major league players.
Dragons catcher Tony Shimetz tags out Long Island Yankee Pete Faulisi before he can get to home plate. The Dragons beat the Yankees 5-3 on their way to the national championship in West Palm Beach, Florida.
2008 World Series
Dragons Repeat as World Champions!
The Greenwood Ridge Dragons hardball team capped a dream season by sweeping 8 games at the Mens Senior Baseball League World Series in Phoenix, Arizona, to defend their world championship.
Playing in the 50+ age division, the Dragons had to conjure up late-inning magic in two playoff games to earn their rings. In spite of heroic pitching by starter Larry Hendrickson, the Dragons were down 5-2 to the Arkansas Diamonds in the 8th. The Dragons tied it with 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th, the last two on a clutch 2-out, 2-rbi double by Jesus Renteria. Dragon closer Pat Carroll pitched a 1-2-3 9th. In the bottom of the 9th Mark Fess walked and scored the winning run on a wild pitch for the Dragons.
In the championship game, played at the Oakland A’s spring training stadium in Phoenix, the Dragons trailed the Buffalo Indians 3-2 with 1 out and nobody on base in the bottom of the 9th. A walk, single and stolen base put the winning run in scoring position. The Indians then intentionally walked Tom Rodrigues (winemaker of Maple Creek Vineyards in Yorkville, who hit .440 for the series) to load the bases and create a double play possibility. But Steve Brye (who played 10 years for the Minnesota Twins) came through to win it for the Dragons with a walk-off double to left-center.
The Dragons finished the season with a combined 38-4 record, including their fifth straight championship in the Redwood Empire Baseball League (Sonoma County) 45+ division.
The Dragon team, which was formed in 2001 by centerfielder Allan Green, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards owner/winemaker, is made up primarily of players from Mendocino and Sonoma counties.
Gary Spitzack pitched a complete game, giving up 3 runs and striking out 8, to earn the win in the championship game against the Buffalo Indians.
Mark Fess of the Dragons was called out trying to score on a wild pitch in the championship game.
Steve Brye lined this pitch into left field, scoring the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the 9th inning of the championship game.
The Dragons congratulate Mark Fess after he scores the winning run, triggering an exuberant celebration.