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Florida Team's Chase Of Diamond Title Began After 1956 Series Disappointment

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ALL IS FRUSTRATION: The biggest plate scramble of the entire Ruth Series came in the fourth inning of yesterday's championship game between Pensacola, Fla., and Stamford, Conn. It started calmly as (left picture) Pensacola's Jim Bachus slid toward plate after a homerun poke to right field. Umpire Sam Gorman watches as Stamford Catcher Len Patricelli reaches for ball (arrow). Everything wound up in a jumble (right picture as Bachus and ball, having arrived at plate together, went separate ways. Catcher Patricelli appears disgusted and Bachus, who received more lumps than a football guard in a scrimmage pileup, has disappeared under teammate Lloyd Blackmon who scored ahead of him. Apparently ready to jump is Pensacola's Chuck Daniel (head gear) while Floyd Blackmon, Lloyd's twin, stands at left. Ump Corman is in the pile, too.

Florida Team's Chase Of Diamond Title Began After 1956 Series Disappointment

By Dave Tefft

The Babe Ruth League World Series, title, emblematic of national baseball supremacy on the 13-14-15-year level, was being carried to Pensacola, Fla., today by a determined group of teen-aged diamond stars who yesterday reaped the fruits of a yearlong comeback campaign.

When the Floridians swept past Stamford, Conn., 9-0, on tall Lou Vickery's two-hitter before more than 3,000 fans in yesterday's title game on Ferry Field they made stand up a vow most of them had taken out in Portland, Ore., just a year ago.

In 1956, Managers G. M. Lybrand and Leroy Joyner shepherded a Pensacola team to the fifth annual Ruth Series in Portland. In the Floridians' opening game they led Trenton, N. J., 2-1, with two out in the seventh and final inning. Then it happened, Trenton erupted for six runs and a 7-2 victory- going on to win the national title.

Lybrand, Joyner and the 14-year-olds, which included Vickery, on that team made the usual "we'll-be-back" promise, But is crew lived up to the vow. They won state and regional crowns to become the only repeater in the 1957 series. They opened their title quest here with a come-from-behind 6-1 victory over New Orleans, La., and then downed Lyndhurst, N.J., 9-1, in Friday's semi-final.

Yesterday - the title game having been postponed because of rain on Saturday- they took the field against Stamford, a team seeking to take a fourth Ruth Series crown back to the New England Lock City which produced previous title winners in 1951, 52' and 53'/

In Pensacola's lineup were six returnees from the disappointed team - Vickery, Glen Danley, Win Etheridge, Floyd Blackmon, Bob Oliver, and Harold Grimes. On the bench, his big job done in Friday's semi-final, was Pitcher Don Griffey who had shared the heartbreak in Portland.

The Floridians took no chances this time. Vickery, celebrating his 16th birth anniversary a day late, struck out nine and was never in trouble as he used a fine fast ball, good changeup, and a snappy curve to shackle a Stamford outfit which had produced 26 hits in its previous two outings here. His mates backed him with a ringing 14-hit attack which included Jim Bachus' homer and triples by Danley, Etheridge, and Floyd Blackmon who also had two singles and set a series record with his eight hits in three games.

Vickery became 16 years old on Saturday, the day the title game had been scheduled until the weatherman intervened. He, of course, retained the eligibility since he had been 15 years old on the determining date of Aug. 1.

Pensacola used three big innings-the second, fourth and sixth- to wrap up its title. Singles by Oliver, twins Floyd and Lloyd Blackmon (whose attempted sacrifice turned in a safety when first was left uncovered), and Charles Daniels produced two counters in the second. Four more runs were turned up in the fourth. Floyd Blackmon opened with a triple and scored on twin Lloyd's single. Bachus then banged his home-run shot down the right-field fouled line. Seconds later, with two out, Danley tripled and moved on home when Stamford Second-Sacker Bill DeLeo errored on the relay throw to third. The final three tallies came in the sixth on a walk and two-out singles by Danley, Etheridge and Vickery.

John Baker took over the mound chores for Stamford after Floyd Blackmon's blooper had dropped back of second for Pensacola's 14th hit off Southpaw Bill Babia. Baker stopped the four men he faced without trouble but it was far too late.

B e t t e r fielding support could have given Vickery the first Ruth Series no-hitter. Stamford's first safety, in the opening inning, was credited to DeLeo whose pop fly dropped untouched back of second as Second-Baseman Olver and Right - Fielder Bachus backed off when Center-Fielder Etheridge, who couldn't get there, insisted "I've got it." Pitcher Bill Sabia's fifth-inning double was a well-tagged fooler which sailed over Left-Fielder Grimes' head as the latter misjudged its velocity. Sabia moved on to third a moment later on Steve Karp's unintentional sacrifice - he had bunted in hopes of picking up a hit - for the furthest advance of any of Stamford's five base runners/

Meanwhile, third place in the final series standings was claimed by Lyndhurst which defeated West Des Moines, 4-0, in yesterday's consolation game. Fastballing Right-Hander Joe Tita fanned 11 as he gained the first shutout of the 1957 series while his light hitting teammates made each of their three safeties count in run production. The decisive blow was Shortstop Bill Moniser's as two-run double in the fifth.

Each of yesterday's games was a "sparkler" and the two provided a fitting climax to the week of baseball which drew more than 12,000 fans to make a success of the Ruther's first visit to a college campus. In fact, six of the eight contests could be described fairly as outstanding ball games and that's quite a record for teen-agers.

Ruther League officials, who'll take their 1958 series to Vancouver, British Columbia, left no doubt their Ann Arbor stay was a peasant one and indicated they'll seek future bids to stage their national tournaments in collegiate surroundings which, as National Secretary Joe Cookson noted, "are better in every way for the young players."

Both the tournament and the accompanying program of tours, sidelights and so on- arranged by the local Junior Chamber of Commerce - ran smoothly from the start through yesterday afternoon's final presentation of the Coca-Cola Bottler awards to all teams. living-room fans who watched the title game via television were as enthusiastic in post-game sessions as were those who visited Ferry Field.

Umpires Malcolm Dale, Sam Corman, Tom Neff and Glenn Schleicher - all Ann Arborites - earned and deserved the special praise received from Umpire-in-Chief George Barr, former National League arbiter, whose TV statement that "all did an excellent job" was re-echoed by press-box observers and others.

Perhaps the most heartfelt sighs of relief over the windup of the successful program were those emanating from energetic Al Bates, the Birmingham insuranceman who served as tourney chairman with able help from Detroiter Jim O'Conner; Bob 'Scope' Davis, project chairman for the local JCC which turned in another of its bang-up jobs prior to and throughout the baseball week, and such National Ruth League officials as President Pete Moser, Battle Creek, and Secretary Cookson, Trenton, N. J. Moser, incidentally, warmed up for 10 minutes prior to throwing out the first ball before yesterday's championship contest.