Tacoma Tugs Win World Series for Second Time in Three Years

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Forget the Yankees and Phillies; the Tugs have already clinched the World Series.
While the Yankees and Phillies brave crappy Northeastern weather in a duel to determine the best team in the Major Leagues, the Tacoma Tugs quietly steamrolled through a massive field in steamy Phoenix en route to their second Men's Senior Baseball League national title in three years, avenging last year's quarterfinal loss with a 10-2 victory over the Venice A's in the deciding game. The title clincher capped an undefeated (seven wins and one tie, as there is a three-hour time limit in MSBL pool games) run in the annual tourney, which attracted 322 teams across a spectacularly broad array of age and skill classifications (the Tugs won the 25-and-over men's crown).

As noted in our 2008 Best Of Seattle (TM) issue, the Tugs, who won the national title in 2007 as well, aren't actually based in Tacoma. They play their games at diamonds throughout the region, and this year won the local Puget Sound Senior Baseball League divisional title with a 22-2 regular season record. But because the Tugs' normal roster features several players who are under the age of 25, Manager Ray Bala's Arizona lineup looked a good deal different, as he summoned nine players from other parts of the country--including California and Washington, D.C.--to round out his 19-man roster.

"We've been doing that for years," says Bala. "It's people who've played for me over the years who've moved somewhere else. Everybody does it. I wish I could take my full roster from Seattle, but it's impossible to do. I could bring my entire team down if we played 18 and over, but [the college-aged players] have to go back to school for fall ball."

Despite the influx of ringers, it was Tug veterans Billy Boyer at the plate and Fernando DaSilva on the mound who led the team's glorious World Series run. Whereas more than a few Tug players were good enough to have had a cup of coffee in the minors, the 38-year-old DaSilva spent a full six years in the Montreal Expos' (now the Washington Nationals') farm system in the '90s.

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