Toronto Gators long glorious run comes to an end with ISC Legends Championship

Written by Bob on August 29th, 2016
BIG BAD GATOR - First baseman Dave Hoffman hit a three-run home run to lead the Toronto Gators Masters to an 8-1 victory over the Midland Explorers Legends to claim the ISC Legends Tournament, at Green Valley Sports Complex, Sat. Aug. 20. Photo By BOB OTTO

BIG BAD GATOR – First baseman Dave Hoffman hit a three-run home run to lead the Toronto Gators Masters to an 8-1 victory over the Midland Explorers Legends to claim the ISC Legends Tournament, at Green Valley Sports Complex, Sat. Aug. 20. Photo By BOB OTTO

MOLINE, IL – Though older, grayer and a step slower, the Toronto Gators Masters still flashed some of the skills that led to ISC World Tournament championships in their much younger years of 1993 and 1995.

Battling a field of 12 of the best 50-older masters teams from the U.S. and Canada, the Gators defeated the Midland, Mich. Legends, 8-1, to claim the ISC Legends Tournament Championship at Green Valley Sports Complex, Saturday.

Several of the Gators Masters starred on the 1993 and 1995 championship squads, including Darren Zack, Ray Tilley, Terry Challis, Rod Wetherell, Dave Hoffman and Adam Smith.

    BIG GUY HOMERS

The Gators jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning on Dave Hoffman’s three-run home run off Midland’s Peter Finn. Frank Perez and John Kemp opened the inning with walks to set up Hoffman’s home run, his second of the tournament.

Hoffman led the Gators seven-hit attack by going 2-for-2, and was selected an infielder on the All-World team.

The powerful first baseman’s homer seemed enough run support for Shawn Sampson (2-0), who struck out four and allowed one earned run on three hits.

    FIVE IN FIVE

But the Gators gave Sampson plenty of insurance runs in the fifth by sending nine batters to the plate and scoring five times with Rob Watson and Terry Wiebe each driving in a run. A fielder’s choice and an error plated three more.

Midland Explorers Steve Lashuay scored the lone run in the Explorers, 8-1, loss to the Toronto Gators Masters in the championship game of the ISC Legends tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

Midland Explorers Steve Lashuay scored the lone run in the Explorers, 8-1, loss to the Toronto Gators Masters in the championship game of the ISC Legends tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

Midland scored its lone run in the third when Todd Schultz singled, driving in Steve Lashuay who reached safely on base hit. But that would be it for Midland as Sampson was perfect over the final two innings to pick up his second win of the tournament. The Gators were perfect at 6-0 and outscored the opposition, 54-17.

    DYNAMIC PITCHING DUO

In Saturday’s playoffs, they knocked off Eagle Pack, 10-3, to reach the final. Paul Agar allowed three hits and a run in five innings to get the win, and Darren Zack came on in relief giving up two runs on four hits over the final 1 2/3 innings.

Toronto Gators Masters pitcher, Paul Algar, pitched the title game and finished 3-0 in the ISC Legends Tournament and was selected the Most Outstanding Pitcher. Photo By BOB OTTO

Toronto Gators Masters pitcher, Paul Algar, pitched the title game and finished 3-0 in the ISC Legends Tournament and was selected the Most Outstanding Pitcher. Photo By BOB OTTO

The Gators collected 13 hits, with 10 Gators reaching safely, led by Kelly Wenstrum and Randy Peck each driving in a pair of runs.

Midland started slow, going 0-3 in pool play, but the Explorers got untracked in the playoffs, beating Wisconsin Insurance Center, 9-0, and the defending champion Durham Bulls, 8-1, to reach the championship game.

Toronto Gators Terry Challis leads off first base, as Midland Explorers first baseman Mike Hoon gets ready for a possible play. Challis, who was selected to the All-Tournament team, helped the Gators defeat the Explorers, 8-1, to win the ISC Legends championship, Sat. Aug. 20 at Green Valley Sports Complex. Photo by BOB OTTO

Toronto Gators Terry Challis leads off first base, as Midland Explorers first baseman Mike Hoon gets ready for a possible play. Photo by BOB OTTO

Winning the ISC Legends was especially satisfying for sponsor Jack Fireman, who’s younger Gators won the ISC World Tournament later Saturday night. So Fireman had two ISC championships to celebrate on the same day.

    GLORIOUS GATORS GONE

But sadly the Gators’ purple and green colors with the logo of a green alligator chomping down on a softball bat will be no more. A few days after the world tournament, Fireman announced he was retiring the team.

“What better way to go out than as ISC World Champions and ISC Legends Champions,” said Fireman in a press release, and who has been involved as the Gators sponsor for most of the last 25 years. “I want to thank all of the players, the coaches and the support staff as well as the families, friends and fans who cheered on the Gators.”

    TROPHY CASE FULL OF CHAMPIONSHIP AWARDS

Fireman’s Gators have won three ISC World Championships, three Canadian championships, a Pan Am Qualifier and numerous provincial and tournament titles along with a World Masters Games gold medal and the ISC Legends title.

“I’ll be watching the careers of all of my players very closely,” Fireman said. “I know that they’ll have continued success wherever they go because they’ll always be Toronto Gators at heart.”

TOP-THREE FINAL STANDINGS
1. Toronto Gators, 6-0
2. Midland Explorers Legends, 2-4
T3. Eagle Pack, 4-1
T3. Durham Bulls, 3-2

    ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM

Toronto Gators Legends
John Kemp, .375 avg. (6-for-16), 6 runs, 2 RBI, 2 doubles
Terry Challis, .333 avg. (8-for-24), 5 runs, 6 RBI, home run, triple
Dave Hoffman, .538 avg. (7-for-13), 6 runs, 7 RBI, 2 home runs, 2 doubles, triple
Kelly Wenstrom, .450 avg. (9-for-20), 4 runs, 7 RBI

Eagle Pack
Kevin Kammueller, 4-1, 33 inn., 34 hits, 15 ER, 5 walks, 37 strikeouts, 3.18 ERA
Wayne Brown, .500 avg. (10-for-20), 6 runs, 6 RBI, 4 doubles
Bruce Bielema, .400 avg. (6-for-15), 2 runs, 7 RBI, home run, double

Kevin Kammueller of Eagle Pack was a workhorse in the ISC Legends tourament pitching five games and finishing 4-1 to earn All-Tournament honors. Photo By BOB OTTO

Kevin Kammueller of Eagle Pack was a workhorse in the ISC Legends tourament pitching five games and finishing 4-1 to earn All-Tournament honors. Photo By BOB OTTO

Durham Bulls
Paul Walford, .500 avg. (7-for-14), 3 runs, 2 RBI, double, triple
Reg Barrau, .588 avg. (10-for-17), 7 runs, 3 RBI, 2 home runs, 2 doubles, triple
Ken Sherman, ..375 (6-for-16), 6 runs, 3 RBI, home run

Midland Explorers
Todd Schultz, .385 avg. (5-for-13), 2 runs, 2 RBI, double, triple

Ohio Battery
Dennis Brownfield, .556 avg. (10-for-18), 3 runs, 6 RBI, 4 doubles, triple

Most Outstanding Pitcher
Paul Algar, Toronto Gators: 3-0, 12.2 innings, 12 hits, 4 ER, 6 walks, 12 strikeouts, 2.21 ERA

Most Valuable Player
Terry Wiebe, Toronto Gators: .500 avg. (10-for-20), 10 runs, 4 RBI, home run, 5 doubles, triple

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