2007 World Series
Dragons are World Champs!
The Greenwood Ridge Dragons capped a storybook season by winning the ultimate prize, the championship of the 50+ division of the Men's Senior Baseball League World Series. They earned their World Series rings by beating teams from Canada, Australia, New York, San Diego, and two from Texas. More than 350 teams entered the tournament, which is played in the major league spring training facilities all around Phoenix, Arizona.
Managed by winemaker/centerfielder Allan Green, the team is composed primarily of players from Mendocino and Sonoma counties.
Rick Torkelson scored the first run for the Dragons in their opening game win over Oceanside.
Jim Hurt throws to first to complete a double play; shortstop Craig Sheffer backs up the play.
World Series M.V.P. Larry Hendrickson pitched 16 scoreless innings, including a 2-0 complete game victory over Long Island in the semi-finals.
Gary Spitzack threw a complete game to beat the Austin Express in the championship game.
Centerfielder Allan Green extinguished an Austin rally by running down this deep fly ball in the championship game.
2006 World Series
The Greenwood Ridge Dragons again sent two teams to the World Series in Arizona. This year both the 48+ and 58+ teams reached the playoff rounds, and both won their first round playoff games before losing in the semi-finals.
Left fielder John Angelesco of the 48+ Dragons slides home with the winning run against the Metro Rebels at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, Arizona.
Second baseman Craig Sheffer completes a late-inning double play against the Metro Rebels of Washington, D.C.
Dragons North Squad Finishes Undefeated
The Dragons North Squad claimed their third straight R.E.B.L. 45+ championship by sweeping two playoff series to finish the season with a perfect 24-0 record. Dominating pitching by starters Dennis McCroskey (15-0) and Jesus Renteria (8-0) was complemented all season by tight defense and strong hitting throughout the lineup (.430 batting average).
2005 World Series
The Greenwood Ridge Dragons sent two teams to Arizona for the 2005 M.S.B.L. World Series, and both the 48+ and 58+ teams advanced to the playoff rounds. The 58+ team made it all the way to the semifinals before being beaten 6-4.
The 48+ Dragons won their 9-team division, beating teams from Canada, Chicago, Tuscon, and two from Los Angeles before falling 6-5 in 10 innings in the quarterfinals. Catcher Dan Lepez drove in two runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie that game but the Taos Bats scored the winning run in the tenth.
To reach the playoffs the Dragons came back from two runs down with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Hollywood Stars (see photos).
Second baseman Craig Sheffer drove a triple to right field with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to erase the Hollywood Stars' two-run lead.
Third baseman Jim Hurt then lined a single to left to score Sheffer with the winning run.
Jim Hurt exalts as his game-winning hit lands safely
Dragons North Squad Repeats in 2005
The Greenwood Ridge Dragons North squad successfully defended their 48+ title with convincing 17-3 and 21-3 victories over the second-seeded Crushers in the REBL Federal League championship series. Leading the offensive barrage were Allan Green (4 for 4, 5 RBI), Series M.V.P. Rick Torkelson (7 for 9, 4 RBI), Tom Rodrigues (7 for 9, 3 RBI), John Thomas (5 for 8, 3 RBI), and Craig Sheffer (4 for 8, 5 RBI). Winning pitchers Dennis McCroskey and Jesus Renteria, with relief help from Tom Rodrigues and great defensive plays by Jim Hurt, Mark Fess, Jerry DeLorenzo, Tim Walker and Gary Lungwitz, limited the Crushers to just 5 earned runs in the series.
2005 California Cup Tournament
The Greenwood Ridge Dragons made the most of the Fourth of July weekend, creating their own fireworks and winning their first tournament, the "Cal Cup" in the East Bay Area.
Despite their undefeated record in pool play, the Dragons were heavy underdogs in the championship game against the Tri-Valley Yankees, led by slugger Steve Brye, formerly of the Minnesota Twins. But superb pitching by Dragon's starter Larry Hendrickson and reliever Dennis McCroskey, aided by flawless defense, limited the Yankees to only one run in the Dragon's 3 - 1 championship game victory.
A perfect throw from catcher Dan Lepez thwarts a Seattle steal attempt, as shortstop Mark Fess applies the tag in game 2 of the 2004 World Series in Phoenix.
Centerfielder Allan Green lines a 2-run single to left in the seventh inning to put the Dragons ahead to stay.
Second baseman Larry Grant scores an insurance run for the Dragons; the Seattle catcher cannot handle the throw.
2004 World Series
2004 League Season
The Greenwood Ridge Dragons North squad closed out the first season of the REBL Federal (48+) Division with a seven game winning streak, beating the Crushers 12-5 and 10-1 for the inaugural league title. In game one, starter Tim Walker scattered 5 hits, giving up only one earned run over 6 innings to get the win. In game two, winning pitcher Tom Rodrigues limited the Crushers to 2 hits over 6 shutout innings, and Dennis McCroskey closed out the game, allowing just 2 hits and a run. The pitchers benefited from great defensive plays by both Tim Hannan at first base and Craig Sheffer at second.
Leadoff hitter Jerry DeLorenzo drove in 6 runs and centerfielder Allan Green drove in 4 to lead the Dragons. DeLorenzo was 6/9, third baseman Jim Hurt 4/8, Rodrigues also 4/8, rightfielder Gary Lungwitz 3/6, and league batting champ Mark Fess was 2/3 with a fence-bending triple.
League home run king Steve McLaughlin went 3/4 and Julian Romero 3/5 to pace the Crushers.
2003 World Series
The Greenwood Ridge Dragons hardball team ends their season each November with an international tournament in Phoenix, Arizona. In the 2003 tourney the Dragons needed all the passion they could muster. After splitting their first four games, the Dragons faced elimination - and an undefeated opponent from the Virgin Islands, the St. Thomas Hurricanes.
The Dragons fell behind 5-0 early, rallied to a 5-5 tie in the eighth inning, then gave up a run in the ninth. But in the bottom of the ninth, a leadoff single by Dan Lepez and an infield hit by Tim Walker, followed by a perfect sacrifice bunt by Arnie Arnold, moved the winning run into scoring position with only one out. Mark Fess flied out to right field for the second out; pinch runner Dick Giberti tagged up from third, sliding around the catcher’s tag to score the tying run. An intentional walk to cleanup hitter Eddie Harmon heightened the tension. Down to his last strike, centerfielder Allan Green bounced a base hit down the third base line, scoring Tim Walker with the winning run, keeping the Dragons’ championship hopes alive.
The celebration was short lived, however, as the Dragons were eliminated in their next game by a team from San Antonio, Texas. The St. Thomas Hurricanes went on to sweep their remaining games to win the entire 28 team tournament, their only loss in nine games coming at the hands (tallons?) of the Dragons.
Don’t miss the passion. The Dragons open their 2004 season on April 18, and will be playing two games at Pac Bell (SBC) Park in San Francisco on Monday, June 28. For free tickets or a Dragons schedule, please contact us.
Pac Bell Park Hosts Dragons
By Tim Walker
What an experience, playing baseball at a major league ballpark. Our club team, the Greenwood Ridge Dragons, played a group of hall of fame all-stars at Pacific Bell Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, on July 2, 2003. We lost 11-1 but what a great field to play baseball on; I’ll never forget it.
I started in leftfield, right where you-know-who plays. Although nothing came to me in that position, it was quite a feeling to look up into those empty seats in those enormous stands on that sunny day and drift into dreamland. I jogged out to the “BONDS 500/500 ” (the only player to hit that many homers and steal that many bases) sign on the leftfield wall and planted a kiss in the “O” of “BONDS.” I needed all the mojo I could get for this place so I might have a positive outcome from the game. The first play of the game was a shot to straight centerfield and, as usual from leftfield I immediately broke for the ball and pulled about 27 muscles in my legs. Ouch! Fortunately Allan was able to track it down in centerfield.
They scored early and often. Terry Whitfield (a former big league player with the Padres and Giants) ripped a double that hit the base of the brick wall, knocking in two runs. From leftfield it was a shot; no chance for our rightfielder. It went like that all day. They hit our pitching and we didn't hit theirs. Our pitchers threw 60-65 mph, maybe 70; theirs threw at least 85 mph, with great control.
Well, I went 0 for 3, and never got the ball out of the infield. The first pitch I saw was right down the middle at probably 88 mph. WOW! That's fast...I did not swing...the next pitch was...oh, I don't remember... everything was happening so fast...but I know this...I expected an inside pitch and very fast and that's what I got, a little up in the zone and I went for it, swung as fast as possible and probably a little too hard and chopped it down the third base line, a perfect swinging bunt...the play at first was very close but sorry, Charlie. My only consolation was hearing my teammates say, “The pitcher made a great play getting off the mound and fielding the ball and then made a perfect throw.” But I only hit the ball 15 feet. The pitching was extremely good, and as they correctly say, “Good pitching beats good hitting every time.”
We did get some great memories that day. Dr. David Smith got two hits and scored our only run. Our hearts soared for him.
I pitched the 7th inning. We were down 7 or 9 to 1. Everything was going way too fast; here we are in the 7th inning and I am walking to the top of the mound with my rosin bag and picking up the game ball…the mound is as hard as Sierra Nevada granite...you could have broken a steel cleat trying to dig in. I actually liked it, really nice and solid...threw a first pitch curve ball for a strike, that is way cool...then the next pitch I throw, a fastball (don’t snicker at that) is ripped over my leftfielder’s head and scores a run. Moments later, a guy crushes a ball to dead center...another run. Then Terry Whitfield comes up...big lefthander...remember he had knocked a double off the wall in the first inning...and the previous two at bats I had been heckling him from the dugout, you know, “HEY 25...LET ME HELP YOU...I'LL TELL YOU WHEN TO SWING...IT LOOKS LIKE YOU NEED HELP, BUDDY...NO, NO, NO, DON'T SWING AT THAT...YEA! LET THAT ONE GO, IT'S IN THE DIRT”...and he struck out twice with all that support; I don’t understand…
Now he’s in the batters box and I am on the mound 60 feet 6 inches away. He looks big and loose, like he’s done this before. I am somewhat new at this whole pitcher/batter thing. At this point I am hoping for two things: 1) that he never got a good look at me in the dugout when he struck out twice and 2) that none of my teammates yell anything like, “HEY WALKER T., ARE YOU GONNA HELP OUT OL’ 25 NOW?” Please let them be true friends of mine...Fouling off a couple of high fastballs and laying off the ones in the dirt, he worked the count to 3 balls and 2 strikes. The next pitch he singled crisply to rightfield...oh well...at least he didn’t hit it into the water. It was a low breaking ball; good thing I kept it down. The next batter hit a hard two-hopper back to me, which I gloved and underhanded to my first baseman to end the inning. I should have grabbed that ball and kept it as a memento.
The game ended with me swinging at a first pitch, which I hadn’t done in two years. I popped it up weakly to the right of the catcher, who slowly drifted over while I almost said out loud, “Aw, come on, drop it so I can have another chance.” But before my thought could be audible he caught it and thus ended the game. What a moment. Baseball: a game with a lot of failure, treasures of success and hopes of improvement; a somewhat sad and less than desirable end, but it didn’t matter because...what a memory, and it was a baseball memory.
2002 League Season
The Greenwood Ridge Vineyards Dragons pulled out three dramatic ninth inning come-from-behind playoff victories to capture their first league title in the Tri-Valley 48+ Baseball League.
After finishing first in the eight-team hardball league at the end of the regular season, the Dragons eked out a 6-5 win over the Tri-Valley Giants in the semifinals, scoring the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to advance to the finals. Leftfielder Tim Walker singled and scored the winning run on a wild pitch. Strong pitching from starter Rich Hinkle (known off the diamond as wine writer Richard Paul Hinkle) and reliever Tom Rodrigues (winemaker at Maple Creek Winery) kept the Dragons within striking distance throughout the game.
In the first game of the best-of-three final series against the Tri-Valley Diamondbacks, the Dragons trailed by two runs in the bottom of the ninth but again found a way to win. Third baseman Jim Frank unloaded a bases loaded walk-off double to the left field wall, giving the Dragons another clutch one run victory.
The following Sunday the Dragons and Diamondbacks squared off again, this time at the new home of the Solano Steelheads minor league team, Steelhead Stadium, in Vacaville, California. Again the Dragons found themselves trailing by two in the ninth, and again they came back to score three to take the lead. Batting in the bottom of the ninth, the Diamondbacks loaded the bases but Dragon first baseman Tim Hannan scooped a low throw out of the dirt for the last out, extinguishing the Diamondback’s rally and giving the Dragons the championship by the final score of 9 to 8.
During the post game celebration, centerfielder Allan Green was quoted as saying, “After coming back from the brink of extinction three straight times, these Dragons can no longer be considered an endangered species!”