Get Adobe Flash player


Detoit Stars @ Blarney Drive Bandits

The jets have flown over, U2 has finished playing the Anthem, and 42,000+ baseball junkies have packed Irish Village for what should be a tight series.Detroit StarsBlarney Drive Bandits

GAME #1 – Ismael Valdes 12-8 (2.61) vs. Randy Johnson 22-1 (1.59)

Ismael Valdes (14 YZ) takes the hill for Detroit against Randy Johnson (20 XYZ).

Eddie Murray gets Blarney started early with a 2 out single to right in the 1st.  Shawn Green follows up with an extra base gapper to right which Marty Cordova cuts off deep.  Cordova comes up firing as Murray rounds third, Bandit third base coach is wind-milling, they are going to test Cordova’s 35 arm, and Eddie scores easily as the throw is offline.  Bandit’s lead 1-0 after 1 full.

Johnson was cruising through 4 innings but Stars strike in the 5th.  With 2 out, Terry Pendleton draws a walk.  The ole’ 2 out walk groan rumbles through the crowd as dangerous Jeff Kent makes himself comfortable.  Down 0-2, Johnson goes inside with some hot stinky cheese, and it’s strike 3!  Kent doesn’t like the call, he is pissed, no, wait, he’s not angry, he’s hurt, the pitch hit him.  Jeff tries to wave off the trainer, and after a quick look, he’ll stay in the game. Alex Gonzalez, now with a golden opportunity, grounds the first pitch he sees to deep short past a diving Jody Reed, it’s through for a base hit.  Ryan Klesko gathers it, puts all he mustard he can on the throw, but Pendleton will score as his throw is cut to third in an attempt to nail Kent tryng to add 90 feet – and he’s out by inches! Tied 1-1.

Still tied 1-1, with the pitcher leading off, Luis Andujar relieves Valdes in the bottom half of the 7th.  Bandit Manager calls on Rickey Henderson to bat for Johnson.  Johnson pitched well but he will now leave it up to his mates.  Rickey lines one just over an outstretched Gonzalez at short, McLemore races over, he’s gotta hurry with Henderson’s wheels.

McLemore stretches for it as he plants, but kicks it away, oh no!  Henderson sees the play develop in front of him, finds another gear, and turns a single into 3 bases.  Sweet Lou Whitaker takes an Andujar offering deep, but playable, and Henderson races home on the SAC, 1-2 Bandits.

Bottalico takes the ball for Blarney to start the 8th.  He quickly gets two strikeouts and then saws off the dangerous Mo Vaughn in a pop to right.

Down 1-2, Al Leiter jogs in for Detroit to face Green, Seitzer and Greenwell.  Shawn Green coaxes a walk.  Seitzer grounds out but moves Green to 2nd.  Mike Greenwell then lines it hard to left, McLemore is off to the races for the 2nd time today, and he holds Green at 3rd.  Brent Mayne, AKA Double-Dipper, digs in with an eye on the 3rd base coach.

Leiter sizzles one at the letters as Mayne squares while Green takes off from 3rd, THE SUICIDE SQUEEZE IS ON! Mayne pops it up into foul territory.  Hundley tosses his mask away, he’s near the stands, reaching into the crowd, oh man, just out of reach – strike one.  And, that folks, sucked all the air out of the ballpark.  With the crowd buzzing, Mayne stares at his bat, he wants to produce in this spot as Blarney needs a run for some breathing room.  Leiter, again with a fastball, tries to paint the corner as Mayne squares and Green takes off again, suicide squeeze PART DEUX unfolds in slow motion.  Mayne gets the barrel on it, places it down the 3rd base line, Pendleton bare hands it and throws a strike, but somehow Green pulls off a limbo move and squeaks under the tag, safe at home!  Blarney ends the 8th up by 2.

All Bandit hopes rest with Bottalico.  Ricky gets Hundley to ground out, 1 out.  Detroit’s Manager summons speedy Deion Sanders to hit for Marty Cordova.  Sanders promptly rewards his skipper with a double to right center.  The count then goes full on Raul Mondesi, and he checks his swing on the payoff pitch, ball four!  Buckle up sports fans, Bottalico has walked the tying run, with just 1 out.  Blarney Manager is quickly out of the dugout tapping the right arm, he wants Matt Karchner, and if it’s not asking too much, a double play.  Mark McLemore, with an opportunity to atone for his blunder in the 7th, grounds it hard to short – Reed flips to Whitaker…and Shazam….a game ending double play!  Blarney takes it 3-1.

Stars 1   Bandits 3

W – Randy Johnson (1-0)

L – Luis Andujar (0-1)

S – Matt Karchner (1)


GAME #2 – Pete Schourek 17-6 (1.58)  vs. Mike Birkbeck 2-1 (3.14)

Stars’ Pete Schourek (16 YZ) goes into the Octagon vs. Bandits’ Mike Birkbeck (19 YZ).

Top of the 1st, Birkbeck gets two quick outs, then Marty Cordova crushes one to straightaway center, 1-0 Detroit.  Mondesi follows up with a left center gap double.  Bordick slides behind Mondesi and Birkbeck nearly picks him off!  Oh was that close.  Bordick is hotly demonstrating the importance of good eyesight to Mr. Blue, and WHOA!, he’s been thrown outta the game!!  Bordick is getting his money’s worth now as he stalks off the field.  Jody Reed will now man shortstop for Blarney.  After the delay, McLemore loops a hanging Birkbeck curve in front of Greenwell.  Mike has to play it on the long bounce, Mondesi gets the thumbs up to tap the afterburner, and easily beats the throw home.  Detroit leads 2-0.

Mo Vaughn, leading of the 3rd for Detroit, touches them all with a big fly, 3-0 Stars.  Birkbeck just doesn’t seem to have his usual stuff today.

The Bandit pen would send 4 more into the pool on open swim day.  They would collectively toss doughnuts allowing just 2 base runners the last 5 innings.  It would be up to Blarney’s bats to make this a contest but Schourek would have zero of that.  Pete was dominant, twirling a 5 hit 1 walk shutout, just what the Stars needed to knot the series 1-1.

Stars 3   Bandits 0

W – Pete Schourek (1-0)

L – Mike Birkbeck (0-1)


GAME #3 – David Wells 16-6 (3.12) vs. Chad Ogea 11-3 (2.23)

Teams head down I-75 about an hour to Motown, home of the Stars.  Blarney Drive calls upon David Wells (13 Z) to duel Chad Ogea (15 Z).

Rickey Henderson gets Blarney to draw first blood, a joy-spot bomb with 2 outs in the top of the 2nd.  Wells generates weak contact through 6 full innings, allowing just 2 hits, and leaves with a 1-0 lead.  Ogea, going toe-to-toe with Wells, allows just Henderson’s blemish through 6 full.  The tooth and nail series is living up to its billing.

Wells starts the bottom of the 7th, and sees just 1 batter, Raul Mondesi.  Raul drills a high fly to left, Green drifts back, quicker now, he’s at the fence, Green jumps for it, does he have it? No!  Home run Mondesi and that’ll tie it up 1-1.  Lee Smith relieves Wells and promptly walks McLemore.  Bandit skipper could stomach just the 4 pitches, yank!  Matt Karchner gets the call to face Kent.  Trying to keep McLemore close at first, Karchner quick pitches Jeff, but he is unfazed, lifting another high fly to left.  Shawn Green backpedals, drifting back, look out, it’s gone!  Green thought he had a play but it carries 1 row deep.  Kent delivers 2 huge runs, to thunderous applause, how quickly Detroit turns it to their favor by 2.

Top of the 8th sees Blarney bats stone cold since Rickey’s solo shot in the 2nd.  Trying to stir up some magic, Quilvio Veras is called upon to hit for Darrin Fletcher, and the switch-hitter goes down easily.  Jody Reed smokes one at Kent, but a diving stab keeps it on the dirt, 2 down.  Lou Whitaker takes a 1-1 backdoor slider and hits a seed down to Pendleton at 3rd – right in his glove and then right out of this glove – he just drops it!  Whitaker hit it on the nose, causing what all APBA Managers dread, the 2-out error.  Eddie Murray steps in, swings at the 1st pitch and hits it left of Mo Vaughn, he scoops it, under hands it to Ogea, safe!  His foot was off the base!!  Scored a single, Murray represents the tying run, with out number 2 still in big red letters on the scoreboard.  Detroit Skipper taps the right arm and Tom Henke trots in to face Ryan Klesko.  Klesko gives the 1-2 pitch a ride to right center, Cordova goes back on it, wait, this might go out……and it does!  It’s long gone, a 3-run shot to deep right.  Henke serves up some cannon fodder and Klesko takes his time touching them all, Bandits 4 Stars 3.  Seitzer follows up the festivities with seeing-eye-single to right and Henke is sent packing.  Al Reyes mans the mound, still trying for that last elusive out, and Green takes his 2nd pitch hard to left.  Cordova finally chases it down, Seitzer with the green light is chugging away, Marty’s throw is on target, Hundley takes it on one hop, Kevin goes head first, and the pinky finds black just before the tag, oh man was that close.  Blarney hangs a crooked 4-spot to lead 5-3 after 8 full.

Bottom of the 8th brings Bottalico out for Blarney.  With 1 out, Mondesi powders one to left, and reaches 2nd easily.  Deion Sanders then delivers a deep drive to center, over Henderson’s head, to the base of the wall.  Mondesi scores and Sanders sneaks into 3rd with a triple.  And Detroit is rocking!  All memories of that 4-spot are quickly erased.  Blarney’s Skipper doesn’t like the match-up with Pendleton and he is given a free pass.  The armchairs in Irish Village are getting a serious workout, and it’s nearly a unanimous vote, “Walk Pendleton to face Kent, what idiot made that call?”.  Kent points his bat to centerfield then promptly squares, the Stars turn the tables on Blarney with their own suicide squeeze, but Kent whiffs!  Sanders tries to slam on the brakes but Mayne tags him out.  Pendleton found 2nd on the play so Kent has a chance at redemption.  Jeff swings hard but hits a slow roller to Reed, 3 down.

Both teams go quietly in the 9th and Blarney pulls a big come from behind W to take a 2-1 lead.

Bandits 5   Stars 4

W – Mike Williams (1-0)

L – Tom Henke (0-1)

S – Ricky Bottalico (1)


GAME #4 – Randy Johnson 22-1 (1.59) vs. Ismael Valdes 12-8 (2.61)

Randy Johnson vs. Ismael Valdes, chapter two, and both pitchers bring good stuff.  We find the game tied 1-1 after 6 1/2.  Mike Greenwell SAC fly for Blarney and Mark McLemore FC are the early RBIs.

Johnson is chased in the bottom of the 7th after Derek Bell drills a leadoff, pinch-hit double, that is followed by a Todd Hundley double.  2-1 Stars.

Bandits score one in the 2nd and after batting in the 8th still have but 1 run.  Valdes simply would not let them get anything going.  Scott Service enters the bottom of the 8th for Blarney and lays an egg, allowing 2 runs on 2 walks and a hit.  Benji Gil delivered the big hit for Detroit.  Mike Hampton would mop things up but the damage was done.

Valdes put everyone on his back and the series is square at 2.

Bandits 1   Stars 5

W – Ismael Valdes (1-0)

L – Randy Johnson (1-1)


GAME #5 – Mike Birkbeck 2-1 (3.14) vs. Luis Andujar 4-1 (2.25)

Knotted at two games each, the home town Stars send Luis Andujar to take on Mike Birkbeck.  Birkbeck was less than stellar in game 2 so Blarney stones are getting a rubdown in Davison.

Rickey Henderson set the pace early with a game leadoff single.  Rickey steals 2nd and Blarney threatens early.  Two-holer Seitzer creams a double to left scoring Henderson, and just like that the Bandits take a quick lead.  Birkbeck holds serve and it’s 1-0 Blarney.

Top of the 2nd, Greenwell walks, Veras bounces into a FC then steals on 1st pitch to Fletcher. Andujar works to keep Veras close at 2nd but a looping single to Cordova gets too much air time and the speedster scores.  Birkbeck nails down the 2nd and it’s 2-0 visitors.

Top of the 3rd, Klesko on 1st after walking, and Eddie Murray pulls Andujar’s fastball hard to right – and into the cheap seats!  Murray delivers a big hit for Blarney at the Bandits open up a 4-0 lead.

Blarney would add single runs in the 6th and 8th while Birkbeck muscled up for 9 innings of shutout ball.  Mike allowed just 6 runners all day.

Bandits 6  Stars 0

W – Mike Birkbeck (1-1)

L – Luis Andujar (0-2)


GAME #6 – Pete Schourek 17-6 (1.58)  vs. David Wells 16-6 (3.12)

Back to Davison and there is a whole lotta Guinness flowing at Irish Village as the Bandits are on the doorstep of their first MWWL World Series.

Detroit trots out game two star Schourek to face Wells.

Stars score first.  In the 2nd, Pendleton doubles in Mondesi, after he singled and stole second.  Detroit 1-0.

Top of the 4th, and deja vu strikes, Pendleton doubles down the third base line, scoring Mondesi (he doubled).  Detroit 2-0.

Bottom of the 4th, Schourek now 12 innings into shutout ball against Blarney, sees Jerome Walton double to lead things off.  Murray, batting left, goes with Pete’s lazy curve and hits it deep the other way – “Back…back…HEY-HEY!! a two run shot over the left field wall” – Stars 2 Bandits 2.

Bandits score single runs in the 6th and 7th (Haney pinch hit single and Walton single) while the Blarney pen was stellar.  Lee Smith, Scott Service and Ricky Bottalico allow just 3 base runners over the last 5.2.

Bandits 4  Stars 2

W – Scott Service (1-0)

L – Schourek (1-1)

S – Ricky Bottalico (2)


Blarney Drive BanditsIt was indeed a tight series and it came down to just getting hits/breaks at the right time.  Bandit bats seemed to conjure up the magic when they needed it.

Shawn Green (5-17 4 doubles), Todd Haney 2-4 (2 RBI), Eddie Murray (5-23 2 HR 4 RBI) led the Bandits.

Blarney hit .206/.293/.307 with ERA of 2.55.

Stars offense was led by Raul Mondesi (6-23  3 doubles and 2 HRs) and Hundley (6-21).  Mo Vaughn disappointed with a 1-21 (solo shot) performance.

Detroit hit .195/.278/.358 with ERA of 2.42.


Shawn Green 




1996 MWWL
11:00 PM ET