Texaco Pirates Rally to Win Bahamas Tournament Opener

May 25, 2007

Man-O-War Cay, the Bahamas

Texaco Pirates' First-Ever Bahamas Invitational Tournament
Man-O-War Cay, the Bahamas
May 24, 2007


Manager Haziel McDonald's Texaco Pirates have been competing in the
AAU International Tournament for a number of years, improving from a
consolation bracket championship in 2003 to third place in the
championship bracket this year, following their first ever ISC World
Tournament last summer at Kitchener, Canada.

This year, Haziel and the Pirates decided to host a tournament of
their own, on the Man-O-Way Cay (pronounced "key"] in the Bahamas,
about an hour plane ride off the coast of Florida. Boasting a
dream-vacation destination -- an island in the sun, and a spectacular
beach-front field, Haziel went all out to make the tournament a
successful one, but also to spare no effort in making sure that the
players and fans would have the best experience possible. Somehow,
amidst all of the other tournament preparations, Haziel found time to
shuttle players and visitors on his boat (from the Marsh Harbor
Airport to Man-O-War Cay, meeting and greeting them dockside, with
assists from a number of his Texaco Pirates team and hosting a dinner
for a number of his guests. Thursday, he was up in a cherry picker
putting new light bulbs in at the field and making the final
preparations. By 8pm Friday night, he was in uniform, making out the
lineup for his beloved Pirates in the tournament opener.

Man-O-War Cay is a tournament destination like no other, set on an
idyllic island in the Bahamas, where the mode of transportation around
town is a golf cart and the field is but minutes from the downtown
Marina area. The streets resemble wide, smooth sidewalks, where
players drive past the homes of Man-O-War residents in golf carts, on
their way to the games, and provide an enticement for fans to head
down to the ballpark to see what's going on. It is a quiet New
England style village of sorts, with a reputation in the Bahamas for
building some of the finest boats in the world, something they
continue to do to this day.

Those arriving at the field on opening night of the tournament saw
rows of golf carts lining either side of the street leading into the
ballpark, a scene that might have one thinking they were at a PGA
event, with a shotgun start. Locals set up concession tents behind
home plate, next to a sea wall from which you can hear the waves
breaking. In the daylight hours leading up to game time, a sparking
turquoise ocean provided a picture postcard backdrop to the field.

On opening night of the tournament, Pirates manager Haziel McDonald
was the man-of-the-hour-on-Man-O-war, serving as the master of
ceremonies, welcoming players and fans alike, and introducing a group
of local school children on hand to sing the Bahamian National anthem
before the first pitch. On hand to umpire were ISC umpires, Mssrs
Gretz and Scott, who arrived at the game by walking out the door of
the guest house they are staying in, behind first base. Following
pre-game festivities, Miami won the coin toss, and took the field.
Three batters into the game, Rhys Casley of the Pirates brought the
crowd to its feet with a towering home run over the right field fence,
and the first ever Bahamas Invitational saw its first run scored.


Thursday, May 24, 2007, 8:00 p.m.

TEXACO PIRATES/the Bahamas 4
Miami Presidente/Florida USA, 3

Game one was a night of dominant pitching with Rob Scheller and Doug
Sleep combining for 18 strikeouts for the host Texaco Pirates, while
their counterpart, Rob Schweyer struck out 15 for visiting Presidente
team of Miami, Florida. But in spite of sometimes overpowering
pitching, it will likely be the home run slugging that Bahamas fans
will remember from this opening act, which saw the host Texaco Pirates
rally from down 3-1 in the 6th, to win 4-3, scoring two in the 6th and
one in the 7th. Six of the seven runs scored in the game came across
the plate on home runs.

Rhys Casley, Barry Kahler and Grant Albury had big nights for the host
Texaco Pirates. Casley had a towering home run and a double, scoring
two and driving in one, Kahler a game-tying 2-run homer in the sixth,
while local Man-O-War Pirate Grant Albury provided two hits, including
the biggest one of them all, a tie-breaking seventh inning home run
that provided the margin of victory.

Miami, for their part, made the most of just two hits, scoring three
runs in the first two innings. After Casley put the Pirates on top
1-0 in the top of the first with his home run, Michael Baillou, Jr.
coaxed a leadoff walk to start the bottom of the first, and came home
to score on a Carlton-Fisk-esque home run, which had fans craning
their necks to see where it would land. It stayed fair, and gave
Miami a 2-1 lead. The visitors extended their lead to 3-1, when
designated hitter Frank Gonzalez walked to lead off the second inning,
was sacrificed over to second by Serrano Baillou, and scored on a
flair single down the right field line by Miami's Tony Currey, a ball
which fell just beyond the reach of the Pirates right fielder and
second baseman.

It was the last base runner that Miami would have on the night
however, as Rob Scheller settled in, to retire the next 7 in a row, 6
on strikeouts, giving way to Doug Sleep, who retired all nine batters
that he faced, eight of them on strikeouts. But in spite of that fact,
Miami clung to the 3-1 lead into the 6th inning, riding the right arm
of Rob Schweyer who had all of his pitches working, most notably the
big rise ball that no one seemed to be able to catch up with. But in
the 6th, it was Casley again that provided the spark for the host
Pirates, lining a vicious double down the left field line, followed by
a game-tying-two-run-homer to straightaway center by Barry Kahler to
straightaway center field.

In the top of the 7th, it was local son, Grant Albury, hitting in the
designated hitter's spot, who provided the margin of victory, battling
past a two strike count, for the game winning home run to straight
away centerfield. The pitch he hit was a good inside rise that Albury
appeared to just muscle out of the park. Three "Sleepy" strikeouts
later, and the game belonged to the host Pirates.


WP-Doug Sleep (5) for Scheller
LP-Rob Schweyer

HR-Rhys Casley (TP), Alexis Hernandez (MP) Barry Kahler (TP, Grant Albury (TP)
2B-Rhys Casley (TP)
E-Miami (2)
K's: Rob Scheller (TP) 10 in 4 inn; Doug Sleep (TP, 8 in 3 inn; Rob
Schweyer (MP) 15 in 7 inn.


Texaco Pirates 1st: Rhys Casley solo homer, 1 hit, 1 run; Texaco
Bahamas 1, Miami FL 0
Miami, FL 1st: Michael Baillou Jr. walked, Alexis Hernandez homered, 1
hit, 2 runs, Miami, FL 2, Texaco Bahamas 1;
Texaco Pirates 6th: Rhys Casley double; Barry Kahler home run, 2
hits, 2 runs, 3-3 tie;
Texaco Pirates 7th: Grant Albury home run, 1 hit, 1 run, Texaco
Bahamas 4, Miami, FL 3


Players and fans got a scare in the 4th inning when home plate umpire
John Gretz took a hard drop directly on his knee, which knocked him
down and nearly out of the game. Gretz recovered and managed to
finish the game, but was icing down when last seen after the game.
One does not surrender work in the Bahamas easily.

Play continues Friday night:

Friday, May 25

7:30pm EST - Abaco Islands vs. Miami President, FL
9:30pm, EST - Texaco Pirates vs. Abaco Islands

Saturday, May 26
Elimination play begins
3pm EST
5pm EST
7pm EST "If game"

Internet connection permitting, the championship game(s) on Saturday,
May 26 will be broadcast on Be sure to check for "click to listen" link and updates on
Saturday regarding broadcast schedule. We did complete some testing
yesterday and it appears that we are good to go.

Keep an eye on the Morning Brief blog at, where we
are posting updates and some of Maddy's photos in a daily slide show.

All results will be posted to Al's Fastball, so check Al's for scores
and more.

Best regards,
Jim Flanagan
Email: jim (at)


Slideshow from Bahamas Tournament Opening Night

Friday, May 25, 2007

A few pics from opening night at the Bahamas Tournament. It's
difficult to shoot at night, especially with digital, but Maddy wanted
to share a few shots with you. The first pic is the game winning home
run from the opening game hit by Man-O-War resident Grant Albury.

Jim Flanagan

Bahamas Invitational Tournament - Day Two (Another Big Night for Rhys Casley and the Texaco Pirates)

Saturday, May 26, 2007
Texaco Pirates Bahamas Invitational
Man-O-War Cay, the Bahamas
May 25, 2007 - Day Two
Game 2 - 7:30pm
Miami Presidente Florida...........4......3.....1
Abaco Sluggers,Abaco Island.......2......2.....5
WP-Rob Schweyer;save Edney Bethel (5)
LP- Rob Fawcett
K's:Rob Schweyer(Miami) (10) in 4 inn; Edney Bethel(Miami) (8) in 3 inn,
Rob Fawcett, Abaco(18) in 7 innings
The Presidenteteam from Miami, Florida scored one run in the first and three in the second,making it stand up for a 4-2 victory over the Abaco Sluggers, a neighboringisland team, in the Bahamas.
Miami's AlexisFernandez, who homered in last night's game scored two of the four runs,reaching on a single in the first and scoring on a sacrifice fly by GrantAlbury, and aboard on a walk in the second inning, and coming around to scoreon an error, wild pitch, and passed ball. The other two Miami runs came in the third, when centerfielder RoyMueller reached on an error, and leftfielder Lazzaro Fernandez reached on aninfield hit, and came home to score. TheAbaco Sluggers plated their two runs in the third inning, on an error, a walk,and RBI single by Fred Sweeting. Once again,the pitching on both sides was dominant, with Abaco's Rob Fawcett racked up 17strikeouts in seven innings, while Miami's Rob Schweyer and Edney Bethelcombined for 18 of their own.
Game 3 - 9:30pm
Texaco Pirates, theBahamas...............6......7.....1
Abaco Sluggers,Abaco Island..............0......3.....2
WP-Doug Sleep;save Rob Scheller (5)
LP- Rob Fawcett
HR-Rhys Casley (2)(TP); Barry Kahler (TP); Tim Albury (TP)
K's: Doug Sleep(TP) (8) in 4 inn; Rob Scheller (8) in 3 inn;
Rob Fawcett(Abaco) (13) in 7 innings
For the secondnight in a row, the formula for victory for the host Texaco Pirates was homeruns from Casley, Kahler, and Albury Theonly difference on Friday night, is that the Albury homerun was from TimAlbury, instead of Grant Albury. RhysCasley had a monster night, with two home runs, 4 RBI, three hits and two runsscored. Casley has 6 hits in two gamesso far, and three home runs. The localfans now know him by name, anticipating each at bat, the way fans used to avoidthe hot dog stand when Bonds was coming up.

Casley's firsthome run came to lead off the third inning, breaking a scoreless tie. It was a carbon copy of last night's homerun, a high towering drive that was never in doubt, landing in someone's backyard on the street leading into the ballpark. Barry Kahler made it back-to-back home runs, his second in two nights. Tim Albury added a solo home run to leftfield to extend the lead to 3-0, for a good, competitive ballgame going intothe 7th. But after striking out thefirst two batters in the 7th, an infield error and a walk meant that Fawcettwould have to face Rhys Casley once more.  One swing of the bat from Casley and the 3 run lead doubled to 6-0, aninsurmountable lead with Rob Scheller on the mound for Haziel McDonald'shometown Pirates.
Abaco's RobFawcett struck out 13, in his second game of the evening, giving him an even 30on the night in 14 innings pitched. DougSleep and Rob Scheller again split the pitching duties for the Texaco Pirates,each striking out eight, and combining for the three hit shutout.
The third andfinal day of competition at the first Texaco Pirates Bahamas Itournament willstart tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time, and continue with gamesslated to go at 5 p.m., 7 p.m., and an "if" game at 9 p.m. in the elimination portion ofthe tournament.
The championshipgame will be broadcast on Check the Ballparkradio website at for a click tolisten link and further updates on Saturday. The games on Saturday will conclude the first ever Texaco PiratesBahamas Invitational tournament held at the spectacular beachfront field onMan-O-War Cay, in the Bahamas.
The crowd on handfor Friday's games was larger than the opening night, with a still larger crowdexpected for Saturday's games. Manylocals from the Man-O-War community have turned out to help host the toeurnament,and also enjoy the competition.   Fansaccustomed to the usual fare of hot dogs and hamburgers would be delighted bywhat they find here in the Bahamas, including grilled mahi-mahi and chicken,peas and rice, Bahama spiced macaroni and cheese, homemade coleslaw, and a fulltable of desserts, including coconut pound cake. Just prior to the start of the first night'sgame, it seemed that half of the town was dining at the ballpark, with the nowfamiliar golf carts rolling in for a Friday night at the ballpark. Other fans had come by ferry from neighboringislands, along with the Abaco Sluggers team. The crowd included a number of retired ballplayers, families, kids andteens alike, to root for their local team, in a scene reminscent of an earlierera in men's fastpitch.
Watch for Maddy'sphoto slide show from Friday night's games at: 
Best regards,
Jim Flanagan
Email: jim (at)

Maddy's Photo Slideshow from the Bahamas Invitational, Day Two 

Maddy's Photo Slideshow from the Bahamas Invitational, Day Two:

Best regards,
Jim Flanagan, for Maddy Flanagan
Email: maddy (at)

Texaco Pirates Claim Bahamas Invitational Title on Man-O-War Cay

Sunday, May 27, 2007

(Six in the tournament)

The host Texaco Pirates from Man-O-War Cay in the Bahamas claimed the
first ever Bahamas Invitational Tournament title, with 10-1 and 5-2
wins over the Presidente team from Miami Florida. For the third day in
a row, Rhys Casley came up big, hitting three more homers on the day,
to give him six on the tournament. For the second day in a row,
teammate Barry Kahler went back-to-back with Casley, following
Casley's homer with one of his own, turning a 1-1 tie in the sixth
into a four run outburst, and cruised to a 5-2 win. Doug Sleep was the
winning pitcher, going the distance for the win, surrendering only a
pair of solo home runs, one in the second and one in the 7th with two

In the first game of the best of three championship series on
Saturday, Texaco ran away with things, behind the stellar pitching of
Rob Scheller and hitting of Rhys Casley. Casley entered the day with
three home runs in the first two days, and has become the player that
all of the local fans want to see hit. He did not disappoint them
today, with two home runs in the first game, running his total to five
on the tournament. (Casley added one more on the day, in the second
championship, for six in the tournament.

First Championship Game

Texaco Pirates - 10
Miami Presidente - 1

WP- Rob Scheller
LP - Edney Bethel
HR - Rhys Casley (2) (TP); Alexis Hernandex (MP)

Second Championship Game

Texaco Pirates - 5
Miami Presidente - 2

WP - Doug Sleep
LP - Rob Schweyer

HR- Rhys Casley (TP); Barry Kahler (TP), Serrano Baillou (MP), Michael
Baillou, Jr.

Watch for a full recap and photos later in the week

Best regards,
Jim Flanagan


Maddy's Photo Slideshow - Bahamas Tournament - Day 3

Monday, May 28, 2007

Click here to view the slide show from Day 3 at the Bahamas
Invitational Tournament on Man-O-War Key, in the Bahamas:

And a team photo of the champions, the Texaco Pirates of the Bahamas:

best regards,
Jim Flanagan for
Maddy Flanagan


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