2015 AAABA Franchise Updates

Boston joins AAABA

Plus updates on other franchises

Franchise Updates

BOSTON - One of the big stories this year will be the new Boston franchise. The AAABA unanimously approved admission to the Boston franchise earlier this month. Boston has been given a direct bid to the national tournament this year, but will compete in regionals in 2016 and 2017. Previously, new members would compete in a regional during their inaugural season. The winner of the BASE HITZ league will compete in Johnstown as the BASE Astros, similar to the single-brand identities used by New Orleans and Chicago-South Shore. The league has increased their age limit to 21 now that they are competing in the AAABA and are expecting to play around 25 games this summer prior to the national tournament.

BROOKLYN - All three teams are back in action this year for the Parade Ground League in Brooklyn. Defending champions Youth Service will competed against the Bonnie Rams and Brooklyn Cougars in either a 12 or 15 game schedule. Last year, Brooklyn left Johnstown winless.

CHICAGO-METROPOLITAN - The Des Plaines Patriots from Chicago are expected back in town to defend their first ever national championship. The Metropolitan Collegiate Summer Baseball League of Illinois will compete with 10 teams this year, including newcomers Illinois Indians and Akadema Athletics. Teams will play a 26 game schedule. The Patriots are 11-6 in Johnstown in 4 tournaments.

CLEVELAND - Cleveland will return to play this year after having served a suspension last season. The Great Lakes Baseball League will have four teams competing to represent their franchise: Lake Erie Lakers, Shannon Fence, Blaze Baseball, and Warriors Baseball. Cleveland will have to qualify for the national tournament by winning the Zanesville regional. Since their return to play in 2006, the franchise has a 15-14 record. The Allegheny Athletics won the Zanesville Regional in 2006, and the Chardon Blizzard won the Altoona Regional in 2011.

COLUMBUS - The Jets are expected back to represent Columbus, Ohio. They compete in the 10-team, 2-league Ohio Independent Collegiate Baseball Association. They have also added two new teams: the Miami Valley Wolverines and the Columbus Saberkats. The teams will play 12 interleague and 12 intraleague games during the regular season.

JOHNSTOWN - Perennial power Delweld has withdrawn from the Johnstown AAABA league. Manager Chris Delsignore explained to the Tribune Democrat late last year that he wishes to spend more time with his family. The local league will compete with 5 teams this year, including defending champions Martella's Pharmacy and runners-up Laurel Auto Group. First Commonwealth Bank and Ophthalmic Associates remains as sponsors for their respective teams, but the Renegades are now being sponsored by Paul Carpenter. Also new this year, Johnstown and Altoona will no longer play inter-league contests during the regular season.

NEW BRUNSWICK - The New Brunswick Matrix are expected to be competing again this year, but must qualify for the national tournament through the Altoona regional. The Matrix are 16-11 in Johnstown since 2009, including a championship in 2012. The New Brunswick franchise last won the Altoona Regional in 2004.

NEW YORK CITY - For many years now, the New York City franchise has had two rival leagues competing for the national tournament berth. Last year, the Westchester Putnam Baseball Association's (WPBA) Diamond Buddies upset the Federation of Amateur Baseball League's (FABL) Long Island Astros with a 2-game sweep. This year, however, the WPBA will not be running their college-aged division, so it appears that the FABL representative will automatically receive the bid. We have not been able to contact the FABL yet to learn their plans for the year. New York will be competing in the Altoona regional for the third time in four years.

PHILADELPHIA- After 25 years in operation, the Penn-Jersey Collegiate League has ceased operations. Three of seven teams dropped out last year and franchise representative Mike Gossner explained that the league has now officially dissolved. The Philly Bandits will continue to play, however, and have joined the 10-team Pendel League for this summer. For this year, the Bandits will be the only team qualifying for the AAABA and so will return to Johnstown in hopes of advancing to the finals for a second consecutive year. Beginning in 2016, however, other teams in the Pendel League may beginning competing against the Bandits for the Philadelphia franchise. Philadelphia was runner-up in both 1998 and 2014 and their teams have a 28-28 record since 1998.

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