Buffalo's Royal Printing in 2014

Second Edition

Royal Printing returns to represent Buffalo

For the first time in thirteen years, Buffalo has a returning representative in the national tournament. Bob Carnevale will lead the long-standing Royal Printing team of Tovie Asarese back to town after winning their second consecutive league championship. This will be Royal Printing's third trip to Johnstown (2000 and 2014).

"We're very excited to come back," said Carnevale. "I have a lot of new young men and they've heard a lot about Johnstown and the tournament--not from only me, but from some of their teammates--saying what a great time they had at the banquet, the parade, the games. The whole atmosphere in Johnstown is such as wonderful thing, it's a great opportunity for these young men to experience a big-time tournament."

Had a tough draw in 2014

Last year, the Royals left Johnstown winless after a spirited showing against powerhouses New Orleans and New Brunswick.

"It was a great experience to play two excellent teams," said Carnevale. "I thought we acquitted ourselves well, but maybe some of our inexperience hurt us a little bit." Royal Printing lost a close one-run game to perennial power New Orleans in their first game. After briefly leading New Orleans 4-0, they fell behind when the Boosters scored 4 times after the stretch, and lost the game 6-5. On Tuesday, they fell behind New Brunswick 7-1 but fought hard to pull within 7-4 before the Matrix added insurance runs in the ninth.

"I pretty much insisted that we were not going to get blown out, and if we were going to lose, it was going to be 7-to-something," recalled Carnevale. "We came back after a terrible start in that game; the kids battled and I was pleased with that."

New faces in league and on team

The AAABA of Buffalo league lost 3 teams in the off season due to a lack of coaches. One loss came from the unexpected death of Raymond Caso, 67. He had coached for many years in the AAABA league and brought his Pignataro's Financial Group to the 2008 AAABA national tournament. He was also a long-time coach in American Legion and varsity coach at Cardinal O'Hara High School in Buffalo. Mr. Caso had been coaching youth and amateur baseball since 1975 and was an honorary member of the Western New York Officials Hall of Fame.

Two new teams (Barrows and Jamestown Tigers) joined to complete the five-team table, along with Royal Printing, Key-Hy Auto, and Full Circuit Power. Rains early in the season forced the cancellation of several contests, but Royal Printing was the clear winner in the regular season, posting a 12-1 record and winning the league by 5-1/2 games.

"We had a very good, consistent season," said Carnevale. He felt that his team learned more about what it takes to win games this year. Last year's club dropped several one-run decisions (including against New Orleans) whereas the team this year has won a handful of those close games. The team itself is quite different from last year, with only three returning players: JD Andreessen (Campbell U), Jason Malkowski (Eric CC), and Lucas Schaefer (Niagara CC). One of their top players--Mark DiLeo (Mercyhurst)--is out recovering from a hamstring injury suffered last week.

"I thought I had a lot of guys coming back to play, and then it turned out that I lost more to the collegiate wooden bat leagues," explained Carnevale. The AAABA league faced competition from other statewide wood bat leagues, as well as losing players to weekend showcase tournaments, but Carnevale was able to keep a solid group together for this year.

"I have a lot of good, young prospects," said Carnevale. His roster will include many college freshmen who will soon begin playing at Division 1 schools such as Canisius College, University of Binghamton, Niagara University, and Monmouth College.

Lessons learned from last year

With last year being his first trip to Johnstown, Carnevale and his team had to learn what it takes to be successful in the national tournament. One lesson learned from his two games was the importance of having a deep pitching staff. The Royals used 7 pitchers in their two games, and while Carnevale is not yet sure if he has quite enough pitching this year, he does hope to bring more than he had available last year.

While their run last year was short, it was still a memorable time for the Buffalo team.

"It was a wonderful experience, both as a coach and as a baseball lifer," Carnevale beamed. "I've been coaching and playing for almost 50 years and it was enlightening to see the quality of baseball as high as it was. I was hoping to get back and I was very honored to win our league again."

The Buffalo franchise will be competing in their 53 tournament since joining in 1951. They are 82-104 overall with 5 runner-up efforts, most-recently in 1980. The last entry to finished above 0.500 was the Royal Printing entry in 2000, led by Tovie Asarese, which finished 3-2 with both loses coming against Baltimore.

 

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