Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Larchmont’s M Special Men’s Softball Team Crowned Spring 2023 Champs

Spring 2023 Champs – M Special Softball Team (Back row L-r) Tom Burkhard, Pedro Aldape, Ben Silva,
Peter McNally, A.J. Johnson, Peter Mora, Peter Leininger, George Kelly; Front row (l-r) David Sobel, Mike Suh, Scott Hong, David Ferrugio

Congratulations to Larchmont’s M Special men’s softball team, recently crowned Champion of Spring 2023 on winning their division in the adult softball league program played at Pan Pacific Park earlier this month.  

M Special is made up of players from the Larchmont area, including several who were born and raised in the neighborhood. The team has been sponsored by the artisan beer brewery M Special collective, owned and operated by several local families (including brothers Brendan and Emmett Malloy) for the past five years.

A.J. Johnson, team captain, told the Buzz the team formed in 2004.

“We were a group of Larchmont-area dads who were coaching their kids in little league and were jealous that our kids got to play, so we decided to start a league of our own,” said Johnson.

Lots of players have rotated in and out over the years. Tom Burkhard, co-manager of the team, is one of original dads who started the team.  Kudos to Burkhard and Johnson who have won eight championship over the years.

“We have been fortunate enough to retool the team each year with players from the league’s free agent list,” said Johnson. You can see the team’s trophies on display in the rafters at Little Bar on La Brea. Apparently no team spouse was willing to give the giant trophies a home.

Thanks to player George Kelly for sharing these highlights from the winning season.

“The team had the best record during the season, but finished second as a result of a forfeit in a play-off with the third place team. In that game, M Special was down 12-1 in the fifth inning of the playoff game, but we powered back into the game with a 9-run inning and held them scoreless in the sixth. We held them off in the seventh and won on a 3 run home run walk off by Pete Mora to advance to the Championship Game. It was by far the craziest come from behind victory in the history of M Special softball,” wrote Kelly.

“In the championship game, we were down 10-2 in the second and then erupted for a 12-run fourth inning and were off to the races after that,” wrote Kelly.

Special recognition to M Special player Peter Mora, who was awarded series MVP going 10 for 12 with a ton of RBI and home runs.  Scotty Hong won the season Home Run derby with an average of over .900,  with the most home runs for the season. David Ferrugio had the highest batting average and highest RBI. Pete Leininger was singled out for must runs scored in the season, Kelly reported to the Buzz.

“It was the most fun we have ever had playing softball,” wrote Kelly.

Johnson is currently recuperating from an injury, not from softball, and planning the next season which starts in September. Interested players can contact Jonson by email to learn more about playing on the team or in the league.

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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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