Archived News by Year: 2009
For the past decade, it has seemed that the AAABA was in the doldrums. Big Four franchise Detroit last competed in 1994, and Washington's sporadic participation was capped with a late drop-out in 2009 followed by the cancelling of the Clark Griffith League season. Milford has not returned in years, and the promising Beckley Bash franchise was disbanded due to financial problems. No new teams were added and the ones that remained proved to be little competition for the powerhouses of Baltimore and New Orleans.
But now, the tide appears to be turning for the AAABA. First, the Johnstown Oldtimers, promoters of the tournament, have been helped financially by a decade of strong Johnstown teams that have kept attendance high throughout much of the week.
"The tournament was great," said Johnstown Oldtimers president George Arcurio, III. "The Opening Night was the first one in five years that we didn't either get rained out or lose the crowd because of rain, so that makes a big difference." This past year, a second Johnstown franchise was approved for competition, further helping the Oldtimers cover the costs of housing and feeding sixteen teams.
"With two Johnstown teams in here, that was probably one of the biggest attractions we had for the week, and I’m hoping they keep it that way because people get to see more local kids and that’s what it’s all about around here," said Arcurio.
Second, several new teams and franchises have recently joined the AAABA, increasing the competition and adding more talent to the field. After 11 years of stagnation, the Cleveland franchise was resurrected in 2006 by the Allegheny Athletics, and finished 2-2 with wins against Livonia and Brooklyn.
In 2009, the Lake Erie Monarchs from Toledo, Ohio were added as a new franchise and swept the Zanesville Regional. In their first national tournament appearance, the Monarchs were 3-2 and are now 5-4 overall, including a win over then-defending champion New Orleans. The independent Matrix brought New Brunswick back to Johnstown in fine style, finishing 2nd to New Orleans with a 5-2 record in 2008.
This year, Miami's Florida Bombers were added with much fanfare and proved to be a strong club with an impressive (although runner-up) regional performance. Their failure to qualify for the national tournament this season will surely harden their resolve in 2011.
"Miami and Toledo are two of the top teams and they're going to be competitive in the future," said Arcurio.
Chicago's Glen Ellyn Jam were runners-up in 2006 but folded shortly thereafter, leaving the Chicago-Metro franchise without a representative in 2009. However, the Des Plaines Patriots so impressed franchise representative Len DiForte during their inaugural, championship season that he brought them to Johnstown. The Patriots survived until Friday with a 3-2 record.
In addition to the strong performances from these new clubs, several existing franchises have improved in both talent and performance. Johnstown has won 36 games in the past ten years, including several championship appearances. In comparison, Johnstown had only 10 wins in the 70s, 15 wins in the 80's and 22 wins in the 90s. Philadelphia--now represented by the Bandits--have proven a strong club each year. They were runners-up in 1998 and finished third in 2008. This year, after winning the Altoona Regional, the Bandits finished 4th in Johnstown. Livonia and Brooklyn have continued to have strong showings, as well.
Interest in the AAABA is growing around the country, according to Arcurio, who said they have received a lot of inquiries about franchise memberships.
"The tournament is picking back up again," said Arcurio. "We're hoping to hit 30 franchises in the very near future."
One of those franchises that appears likely to return is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A team from Pittsburgh--the Allegheny Athletics--represented the Cleveland franchise in 2006, but the Steel City has not had a franchise in Johnstown since their 0-2 tournament in 1986. The Beechview Merchants entry in 1965 won the national tournament with two wins against both Washington and Detroit.
Arcurio mentioned another southern franchise that is interested in joining, but since they are still in the beginning stages of inquiries, the city is not yet begin announced. The Detroit and Milford franchises have laid dormant but have not yet been abandoned, as they await new teams to carry their banners.
Certainly, many people will point out that--even with improved talent and competition--the same two teams continue to win every year. It should be noted, however, that only 3 of the past 13 champions have gone undefeated. Baltimore suffered 6 losses during their 6 consecutive championships and were in danger of being eliminated in 28 of their 36 games.
Finally, the national tournament has seen a recent surge in web presence thanks to several new websites. Tyler Scheuerman, of the famous New Orleans family, has taken over as webmaster of the official AAABA website, giving the association an official voice online. This includes not only an updated home page, but also a group on Facebook. Rex Morgart has begun to upload his extensive collection of historic AAABA records, as well as continuing to expand to his display of trading cards of AAABA alumni. And of course, we here at AAABATournament.com will continue to provide summer-long coverage of the tournament and its teams. During the tournament week this year, our site received nearly 600,000 views from nearly 12,000 visitors including a high of 94,000 views on Tuesday. Thanks for your support!
Next year promises to be another good year for the AAABA. Johnstown's teams are strong and eager and the emerging contenders from Toledo, New Brunswick, Miami and Chicago now all have tournament experience. While Baltimore and New Orleans will continue to be the favorites, there appears to be much more competition on the horizon. But while more teams are heading to the diamonds, George Arcurio reminds us that fans need to continue heading to the stands in order to keep the AAABA alive.
"So long as the people keep supporting this tournament, we're going to be here," said Arcurio. "We've lost too many good sporting teams and events in Johnstown, so we've got to keep pushing away to keep the AAABA here."
We have just learned that the 2010 National Tournament RBI award is actually awarded to Drew Westover from Johnstown, not George Roberts.
BALTIMORE 4 - JOHNSTOWN 0 : Francis Brooke pitched a complete game shut-out for Youse's Orioles while the Baltimore bats slowly built a 4-0 lead, giving Baltimore their 27th AAABA National Championship.
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Johnstown's Delweld players woke up Saturday morning needing to win a double-header against powerhouse Baltimore in order to claim the 66th Annual AAABA national championship, but despite a solid effort from their defense and pitching, the Johnstown offense was shutout for the second game in a row by the Orioles pitching. Starter Francis Brooke pitched all nine innings, recording 7 strike outs and 0 walks while limiting Johnstown to only 6 hits.
For Baltimore, the hits were almost equally as scattered, but much more productive. Johnstown managed back-to-back hits only once, and Baltimore only twice. The Orioles did not score more than 1 run in any inning.
Baltimore won six consecutive championships from 2003 to 2008, but was eliminated from the Altoona Regional last year. While most of the players on the Orioles line-up are new to the Johnstown tournament, the coaching staff are well-versed in AAABA championship runs.
"The coaches and I were eager to get back and obviously we're happy with the result," said Baltimore manager Tim Norris.
KEEPING IT CLOSE : Brooke struck out lead-off batter Matt Donaldson, but Zach Vignero reached base on a well-hit ball up the middle. George Roberts hit the first pitch he saw into a double play to end the inning. Johnstown starter Bob Carbaugh also struck out his first batter, Glynn Davis. Chris Cook then singled to center and Patrick Blair was walked. But after a quick visit from manager Chris Delsignore, Carbaugh got Benjamin Carhart to fly out to center and Chad Taylor to ground to out with the force at third base.
Brooke lead off the second with another strike out, this time against veteran Drew Westover. Tyler Uphouse grounded out to third, but both Matt Cornetti and Austin Urban singled to put men on base. Aaron Kovach hit to second baseman Chris Cook for the third out.
"We came out hitting, the whole line-up was starting to hit, it's just that their pitcher did a real good job," said Delweld veteran George Roberts. Four of the Delweld hits came from the final four batters in the line-up.
Not to be outdone, Carbaugh struck out the first two batters he faced in the second, Kevin Hockaday and Robert Amaro. But both Dante Rosenberg and Harry Slade singled to reach back, before Davis bounced the ball back to Carbaugh for the final out. Through two complete, the game was as close as a championship game could hope to be.
ORIOLES STRIKE FIRST : In the third, Delweld went down in order with Brooke again striking out the lead off hitter, this time Spencer White. Both Donaldson and Vignero grounded out. Baltimore had a better inning, as second batter Patrick Blair singled to left with one out. Carhart then hit a ball to the left-field corner which was bobbled by Vignero as Blair rounded third, letting the Oriole advance home for the first run of the game. Carhart advanced to third on the play, but Carbaugh got Taylor to strike out and Hockaday to pop up to first baseman Urban to end the inning.
Johnstown went down in order again in the fourth, with Brooke again striking out the lead-off hitter, Roberts. He was followed by a ground out by Westover and fly out to center by Uphouse. Baltimore started the inning with a left-field double by Amaro, who advanced to third on Rosenberg's sacrifice bunt. Slade grounded out to shortstop Roberts, but Davis's fly ball to centerfield scored Amaro from third, giving Baltimore a 2-0 lead.
Brooke sent Delweld down in order again in the fifth, striking out one and getting two fly outs. Carbaugh took the Orioles down in order, as well, with two pop ups and a ground out to third base.
A BIG PLAY : Johnstown had its best chance to score in the sixth inning. White reached first on a well-hit grounder to second base, but was tagged out on Donaldson's grounder to second. Donaldson reached first safely to avoid a double-play. Vignero then singled to center field, sending the speedy Donaldson to third. But with Roberts up to bat, Vignero attempted to steal second base, while Donaldson attempted to steal home on a delay. Second baseman Chris Cook alertly threw catcher Rosenberg's pick-off throw back to home for the tag out. Donaldson gave Rosenberg a solid hit along the base path while attempting to score, which prompted a few words between the players and some conversation between the umpires and managers, but nothing more came of it and Baltimore ended the inning with Roberts flying out to right.
"If we're able to push that run across, then we've got Zach at second and George is still up with a chance to tie it up," said manager Delsignore who said that the double-steal was not planned. For Baltimore, the defense wasn't quite planned, either.
"They did that all their own," said manager Norris. "We don't have a lot of first-and-third plays, we just play the game and keep it nice and simple. I would've been happy just to get the out at second."
A BIG HIT : In the bottom of the inning, Carbaugh only faced four batters, getting a ground out and two fly outs. However, second batter Robert Amaro's fly did not land until it hit the street, as he cleared the Screen Monster with a solo home run, giving Baltimore a 3-0 lead.
"I didn't really know if the ball could get out of this park because of the high fence, so when I hit the ball, I just ran because I didn't know if it was going out or not," said Amaro.
Three ground outs in the seventh kept Delweld off the board. For Baltimore, Cook was walked with one out and Blair doubled off the screen to put two in scoring position. Carhart then flew out to deep center field to score the fourth run of the game.
Austin Urban--who was hurt in the game against Philadelphia--led off the eighth with a double off the wall, but was hurt again while sliding into second. He was replaced by Ryan Sylvia. However, Sylvia was stranded as Kovach grounded out and both White and Vignero struck out. Donaldson was hit by a pitch, the only such occurrence of the game for pitcher Brooke.
LAST CHANCE : Carbaugh kept Baltimore from padding their lead in the eighth with a 4-batter inning. Hockaday flew out, Amaro popped up, and after hitting Rosenberg with a pitch, Carbaugh struck out Slade to send the game into the ninth.
"Keeping them to 8 hits and 4 runs was great for me," said Carbaugh. "I had a lot of defense behind me. I gave up one bad pitch for the home run, but that was about it. We fought hard, we just couldn't get the runs."
In their last chance, Delweld didn't let the bats sit on their shoulders, but failed to find any gaps. Roberts led off with a fly out to Davis in right. Westover then flew out to Taylor into center field. Finally, Uphouse popped up to Slade in left field to finish the complete game shut-out for Brooke. The Baltimore players rushed the field to celebrate their franchise's 27th national championship.
FROM THE FIELD : "Francis pitched a gem today," said Tim Norris, second-year manager of the Orioles. "I can't say enough about the way he pitched today. He's not going to overpower anybody, but he throws strikes, he mixes it up, and he locates. He's a pitcher."
"I was able to get ahead of all the hitters," said Brooke. "The umpire had a low strike zone tonight, and he was very consistent the whole game and allowed me to pitch to the spot I wanted to."
"We battled and that's all I can ask for from my guys," said an emotional Delsignore. "They played with a lot of heart and played with a lot of pride, and I'm very proud of them. It doesn't matter what they do: I'm always proud of those guys because they lay it on the line, they give up their whole summer to play baseball, and they dedicate themselves to each other, and you've got to respect that."
For Johnstown, it was another strong showing but another year without a championship. While disappointed, the local fans still remember the days when Johnstown entries were quickly eliminated from the tournament, and showed their appreciation of the Delweld players with plenty of applause after the game. Delweld has won the Johnstown City League an unprecedented four consecutive years and has given local fans a real hope of winning the AAABA crown.
"I hope the city was proud of our performance and what we were able to put out there," said Delsignore, "but I'm not going to rest until we bring this one home. We're going to continue to work hard to bring good, quality men into this dug out and keep Delweld strong."
POST-GAME : After the game, Chris Delsignore and his Delweld team accepted the runners-up plaque and engraved baseball bats. Tim Norris and his champion Baltimore squad accepted the first place plaque and engraved bats, as well.
The Tribune-Democrat presented their Johnstown MVP award to both George Roberts and Drew Westover. Both players finished their final AAABA season after playing great baseball through the summer and national tournament.
"Those two guys, they leave very big shoes to fill next year," said Delsignore. "We're gonna miss them."
"We're real proud," said Roberts. "We wanted to win it, but it just didn't happen. We've just got to keep our heads up; it was a good season."
Roberts also won the National Tournament RBI award, batting in 10 in six games. Maryland State won the 2010 Sportsmanship Award after an 0-2 performance with losses to Baltimore and Chicago. Having been eliminated on Tuesday, no players were available to receive the award which will be mailed to the franchise.
Neil Schroth from Altoona is the 2010 National Tournament batting champion, finishing with an 0.583 batting average. Finally, championship game winner Francis Brooke won the 2010 MVP award after pitching two shut-out games, leading Baltimore to another national championship.
We'll be posting the rest of the photo albums and some wrap-up articles and statistics in the upcoming week. Coverage of the 2011 AAABA season should begin sometime in May as teams begin qualifying for the national tournament, but we'll add updates to the site periodically throughout the winter.
August 14th Delweld reaches AAABA Tournament championship. Mike Mastovich, Tribune-Democrat
August 14th Orioles remain perfect: Rally eliminates defending champs. Eric Knopsnyder, Tribune-Democrat
August 14th Ryan hoping to wear halo again. Mike Mastovich, Tribune-Democrat
August 14th Bowman mastered the 'K'. Mike Mastovich, Tribune-Democrat
August 14th New Orleans blanks Chicago. Shawn Curtis, Tribune-Democrat
August 14th Skoner’s start, aggressiveness on basepaths help Delweld advance. Mike Mastovich, Tribune-Democrat
JOHNSTOWN 13 - PHILADELPHIA 4 : Johnstown Delweld won an early see-saw battle with the Bandits and overpowered a highly-regarded Philadelphia team to set up a championship showdown with powerhouse Baltimore on Saturday afternoon.
Johnstown Delweld has suffered from some slow starts this tournament and again allowed a first inning run. Starter Carter Lehman walked lead off batter Sean Coyle who then stole second and took third as no one was covering second base. That let him score on Nicholas Ferdinand's fly out to center. Lehman struck out Steve Shelinsky to end the inning.
Delweld got the run back in the bottom of the inning. Matt Donaldson walked to lead off and reached second on a wild pitch. Zach Vignero reached first when third baseman Matt Maher's throw was wide, putting runners at the corners. George Roberts then reached on a fielder's choice to second, which let Donaldson score to tie the game.
In the second, Gregory Olsenski doubled off the scoreboard in left with one out. He advanced to third as Chris Branigan flew out to center field. Matt Maher then doubled to the left field corner, scoring Olsenski. Brendan Norton followed with a single to score Maher from second.
In the bottom of the inning, Matt Cornetti led off with a double to the scoreboard in left. After starter Kyle Mullen struck out Austin Urban, Aaron Kovach singled to right field to score Cornetti. Mullen started a 1-6-3 double play off Spencer White to end the inning with Philadelphia leading 3-2.
Lehman sent down the Bandits in order in the third with a ground out, fly out and pop up. But the Golden Boys from Johnstown would not go down as easily in the bottom of the inning.
Matt Donaldson walked on a full count to lead off. Zach Vignero hit off the left field scoreboard but was thrown out at second. Donaldson advanced to third on the play. Roberts was hit by a pitch to put men on the corners. Drew Westover then grounded to shortstop but reached on an error, scoring Donaldson to tie the game.
Tyler Uphouse hit a chopper back to Mullen on the mound, but his throw to first was high which let Uphouse reach and Roberts score. Uphouse injured his leg on the play and was replaced by Ryan Sylvia.
Matt Cornetti was walked on four pitches to load the bases, which brought manager Mike Gossner to the mound. He brought in Slater McCue to pitch, who walked Austin Urban, scoring another run. Sylvia then scored on a squeeze bunt. The Bandits turned a double play to end the inning, throwing batter Kovach out at first and catching Urban in a rundown between 2nd and 3rd after a base running error. In the end, Johnstown led 6-3.
"The offense was great," said Lehman. "All of my wins this year were because we put up runs."
Lehman struck out three and walked one in the top of the fourth, setting the stage for another big Delweld inning.
Nate Plummer was hit to lead off, Donaldson walked again, and Vignero was also hit to load the bases. (Matt Donaldson was walked four times in five at-bats.) Nathan Jendrzejewski was brought in to pitch and got George Roberts to fly out to centerfield, scoring a run. Westover hit into a potential double-play, but Vignero was stealing on the play and caused second baseman Dillion Moyer to drop the ball at second. Moyer recovered and put out Westover at first, but Donaldson scored to make it 8-3. Sylvia then doubled to right field to make it 9-3.
"We just got in a groove," said George Roberts, who was 3-for-5.
Sean Coyle had the only Bandits hit in the fifth, as Norton, Moyer, and Ferdinand all grounded out. Delweld went down in order in the fifth, with Jendrzejewski striking out White to end the inning.
Philadelphia got one back in the sixth when Branigan tripled to deep right field to score James Yezzo. But Johnstown got it right back and added one in the same inning. Vignero singled to shallow center field and Roberts blasted a single past Moyer's dive and then stole second. Westover brought both home with a hook shot down the left field line.
Nate Plummer came in to pitch for Johnstown in the seventh. After walking the first two batters he faced, Plummer struck out Moyer looking and finished with ground-outs to third and shortstop. Delweld stranded two in the bottom of the inning, as Jendrzejewski walked two and struck-out two before Vignero flew-out to right.
The Bandits managed only a walk (Branigan) in the eighth and Johnstown looked to mercy-rule the game in the bottom of the inning. Roberts led off with a single and took second on a wild pitch. Westover brought him home with a single to right field as outfielder Shelinsky's thrown was cut off. Westover then stole second and advanced to third as the throw from Olsenski was high. Sylvia struck out for Delweld, but Cornetti singled off the first baseman's glove to score Westover. Robinette grounded out and Kovach flew out to right to send the game into the ninth.
Philadelphia could not generate any offense in the ninth, either. Coyle flew out to right and Plummer struck out Sulcoski and Ferdinand, both on called third strikes.
"It's the worst game we've played all year," said a flabbergasted Mike Gossner, manager of the Philadelphia Bandits. "It's not even close. We've been absolutely solid (this year). I think the third inning pretty much took the wind out of our sails and we couldn't regroup."
With the loss, the Philadelphia Bandits finish the tournament with a 3-2 record. Johnstown advances to the championship tomorrow afternoon against Baltimore.
"This is my second time back here (in the championship), so I feel like I have some unfinished business personally," said manager Chris Delsignore. "It's Baltimore, too, and I still have a bad taste in my mouth from 2003." That year, Baltimore mercy-ruled Johnstown 19-0 in the final game.
"It's a great win, it's great for Johnstown, and great for our team," said Carter Lehman. "But this game means nothing now. We're in the championship game against Baltimore and we've got to win two tomorrow."
Post game reports indicate that Uphouse has a strained hamstring and Urban hyper-extended his knee. Their status for play tomorrow will be determined prior to game time.
BALTIMORE 5 - NEW ORLEANS 4 : NORD jumped out to a quick lead in their semi-final match against Baltimore, but the Orioles battled back offensively and shut down the Boosters' offense for the remaining eight innings to pick up a one-run win.
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For the second time today New Orleans took a big lead in the first, scoring four runs off starter Blake Geiger. Baltimore had allowed only 1 run in their previous three tournament games.
"In the first inning, I was just trying to go out and throw strikes," said Geiger. "I had a little troule with the mound. The clay is higher than the rubber, so I felt like I was throwing uphill. I left a few balls up and they got some good hits off me." Geiger quickly settled down after the rough start and let his offense go to work. "I think this team is the best offense in the tournament," he said. "I also want to thank my defense for making some great plays behind me. They had my back."
Baltimore got onto the board in the fourth. With one out, Kevin Hockaday doubled to left and advanced to third on Robert Amaro's fly out to center field. Dante Rosenberg then brought in Hockaday, but was thrown out trying to reach second base.
In the fourth, Baltimore's Chad Taylor made a spectacular diving catch in right field to rob Joe Broussard of a hit. In left, however, Harry Slade missed catching the third out against the left field wall as the ball bounced off his glove when he collided with the wall. Michael Wisecarver reached second on the error but was stranded.
In the fifth, Baltimore had men walked and hit by a pitch with two outs, but stranded both. New Orleans went down in order on three fly balls.
Baltimore rallied in the top of the sixth to take the lead. Taylor and Hockaday started the inning with back-to-back singles. With one out, Rosenberg singled to load the bases. Harry Slade then hit a high chopper in front of the plate that pitcher Pittari threw to first for the out. Taylor scored on the play to make it 4-2. Pittari then walked Glynn Davis and hit Christopher Cook to bring in a run. Veteran Pat Blair then singled up the middle scoring two and giving the Orioles their first lead of the game.
"The first two at-bats, he got me on changeups," said Blair. "I was just trying to stay in the middle of the field, and he left a fastball out over the plate and I hit it right up the middle."
New pitcher Joe Broussard then got Benjamin Carhart to pop out to shallow center. New Orleans had communication problems on the play as all three outfielders and both middle infielders converged on the ball, but the out was recorded.
Geiger faced seven NORD batters in the next two innings, retiring six and hitting one, keeping Baltimore in the lead. Baltimore's only hit was from another New Orleans communication blunder. This time, Chad Taylor's fly to shallow center was converged on by four players and dropped in the confusion. Rosenberg was hit by a pitch, but both runners were stranded as Broussard struck out Slade to strand two.
New Orleans led off with a Boudreaux single in the eighth. Baltimore manager Tim Norris then moved third baseman Benjamin Carhart onto the mound. Carhart got Sean McMullen to pop up right in front of the mound, and then started a double play on Chad Gough-Fortenberry to end the inning.
Baltimore looked to add on in the top of the ninth. Taylor led off with a single off the wall on the first pitch of the inning, and advanced to second on a pass ball. After Bradley Markey's sacrifice bunt moved Taylor to third, Amaro flew out to shallow right field. Taylor attempted to score on the play but was thrown out by right fielder Scott Fabre by two steps.
Onto the bottom of the ninth and the last chance for the defending champs. Fabre swung at the first pitch he saw and grounded out to first base. Joe Broussard grounded to shortstop for the second out. Pinch-hitter Michael Bruno IV belted a single to right field, keeping the inning alive and bringing the winner run up to the plate. Manager Babin pinch-ran Tyler Johns at first, but Carhart struck out pinch-hitter Ryan Pursell to preserve a 1-run victory for the Orioles.
"It was a little rough in the first inning, but nobody panicked over here," said Baltimore manager Tim Norris. "I felt we'd chip away. In the Ripken League, we see good pitching all year long, so we feel we can score on anybody."
"We haven't been in that position all tournament," said Blair in reference to the early deficit, "but we have been in that position all year in our league. This team has great chemistry and great chemistry wins these kinds of games."
With the conclusion of this game, New Orleans is eliminated from the tournament at 4-2 and will finish in 3rd place. Baltimore remains undefeated at 5-0 and will look to win their 27th national championship tomorrow against either Johnstown or Philadelphia. Baltimore last went undefeated in the tournament in 1996. Since then, only Washington has remained undefeated, winning 6-0 championships in 1997, 1999, and 2002.
"We're feeling pretty confident because whoever we play has to beat us twice," said Geiger. "The pressure is on them."
NEW ORLEANS 7 - CHICAGO-METRO 0 : After a long and crazy 19-14 win on Thursday, defending champion New Orleans rebounded on Friday morning with a shut-out victory over Chicago. NORD now plays Baltimore in the semi-finals with a chance to advance to the final on Saturday.
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The morning in Johnstown started out cold and so did pitching for Chicago. Starter Sam Dickstein struggled in his first three innings, allowing 6 runs on only 2 hits. The sixth run was scored after the catcher attempted to pick off a runner at third. The ball skipped into left field, letting the runner score.
"We walked some guys, hit a few guys, and our defense was a little sloppy today," said Chicago manager Mike Shultz.
Jack Kosar was brought in to pitch for Chicago in the 5th inning and despite walking two batters, escaped the inning with no runs. New Orleans attempted a double steal with runners at first and third, but an alert Chicago second baseman Brian Evans threw home to catcher Norwood for a comfortable out. Kosar retired New Orleans in order in the 6th.
In the bottom of the sixth, Chicago lead off batter Ryan Konsler was hit by a pitch, but Kosar grounded into a double play. Pitcher Michael Wisecarver then walked the next two batters, giving Chicago life, but Ryan Keisel hit a soft liner to first to end the inning.
"You can't win a ball game if you can't score runs," said Schultz. "We left seven or more guys on base in scoring position."
New Orleans added a run in the seventh. Scott Fabre led off with a single and stole second, then scoring on Joe Broussard's double to right field.
Wisecarver kept Chicago at bay through his seven innings, retiring the final four batters he faced include three straight in the seventh.
"We just got an outstanding job from our starting pitcher," said New Orleans manager Billy Babin. "This is his third year in Johnstown. He's a veteran. He really wanted the ball and he did a great job."
Stone Speer was brought in to start the eighth. He hit the first batter he faced and also issued a walk, but got Evans to ground into a double play to end the inning.
While Chicago pitcher Kosar was able to limit the New Orleans offense (allowing four hits in five innings), New Orleans pitchers Wisecarver and Speer did the same to Chicago. Speer ended the game by setting Chicago down in order. New Orleans advances to play Baltimore in the semi-finals.
For Chicago, their tournament run ends after an impressive 3-2 performance.
"It's been incredible," said manager Schultz. "None of our guys have been out here except assistant coach Joe Heller and he's been telling them stories about what it was like. They almost didn't believe him, but they came out here and everything exceeded expectations. It's been a blast."
August 13th Skoner’s start, aggressiveness on basepaths help Delweld advance. Mike Mastovich, Tribune-Democrat
August 13th Baltimore wins battle of unbeatens in AAABA. Eric Knopsnyder, Tribune-Democrat
August 13th Philadelphia Bandits shortstop puts Sox on hold for AAABA. Eric Knopsnyder, Tribune-Democrat
August 13th NORD Boosters outlast Astros. Shawn Curtis, Tribune-Democrat
August 13th Chicago Metro's Norman handcuffs Toledo. Eric Knopsnyder, Tribune-Democrat
August 13th Coach's Corner eliminated in AAABA. Brad Emons, Observer & Eccentric
JOHNSTOWN 6 - BUFFALO 1 : A day after suffering their first loss of the tournament in a 4-hit effort against Baltimore, Johnstown Delweld put 12 hits and 6 runs on the board against Buffalo to advance another round.
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Matt Donaldson started Delweld off with a hit for the second night in a row and made a deliberate point of stepping on base to avoid repeating his blunder from Wednesday. But first was as far as he got, as Buffalo starter Jon Klein sent the next three batters down in order. Buffalo followed the same script in their half of the first. Lead off batter Michael Hackett doubled off the screen, but was stranded as Johnstown starter Matt Skoner got the next three batters to fly out.
"That was a typical Matt Skoner performance out there," said Delweld manager Chris Delsignore. "He was outstanding."
The second was also similar for the two teams. With two outs, Austin Urban doubled off the wall for Johnstown, but Klein struck out Aaron Kovach--his second 'K' of the inning. In the bottom of the inning, Dan Scime reached for New Era on an error by third baseman Tyler Uphouse, but Uphouse made up for the play by retiring the next batter.
Johnstown got on the board in the top of the third. Second batter Donaldson drew a walk and fourth batter George Roberts singled to center to put him in scoring position. Drew Westover followed with a single past the shortstop to score Donaldson from second. The Buffalo defense was sleeping after the throw home and Roberts alertly took an unguarded third base while Westover advanced to third, but both runners were stranded.
Buffalo had a chance to start a two-out rally in the bottom of the inning when left fielder Zach Vigerno's sliding catch attempt came up empty. But Roberts, playing shortstop, caught Justin Urschel's line drive to end Buffalo's inning.
The fourth inning was more of the same. Delweld's Kovach singled with two outs and was stranded. Buffalo's Travis Denman singled with one out, and was also stranded. But in the fifth, something different: Matt Donaldson was hit by a pitch and stole second with Vignero at bat. After a fly out and with Roberts at bat, Donaldson stole third. Roberts then hit a shot off the 2nd baseman's glove scoring Donaldson. Roberts himself then stole second and Westover singled to left through the gap to score Roberts and extended the lead to 3-0. Westover was caught stealing and Uphouse struck out to end the inning.
Buffalo stranded a man at second in the fifth after a throwing error and sacrifice bunt. Delweld went down in order in the top of the sixth.
Team New Era got on the board in the sixth. Urschel singled off the screen and advanced to second on a ground out by Joseph Polichetti. He was brought home on a hit to centerfield by Steve Karnyski. Karnyski was stranded on a ground out by Dan Scime.
Delweld got that run back and added one of their own in the seventh. Spencer White led off with a single and took second on a wild pitch. Donaldson reached first when second baseman Brandon Caboot could not make a throw. Donaldson stole second (his third steal of the game) and Vignero singled past second to score White.
"It's important to be aggressive on the bases when you get the chance," said Delsignore. "Their pitcher was kind of slow to the plate, and you get a guy like Matt Donaldson on there, he can really get things moving. The next thing you know, the catcher starts calling more fastballs, which opens things up for the offense."
George Roberts hit into a double play, but it let Donaldson score from third. Drew Westover's double to centerfield prompted a pitching change, as manager Righetti brought in Richard Kowaliski. While Westover was able to advance on a wild pitch, Kowaliski ended the inning with a ground out to second.
After retiring Buffalo in order in the seventh, Delweld added another run in the eighth. Cornetti was hit by a pitch and Urban walked, but Kovach hit a line drive to first for an unassisted double play. White was then walked. Donaldson appeared to have grounded into the third out at first base, but Karnyski's throw was off and Cornetti reached safely after a collision with pitcher Kowaliski. Cornetti scored on the play, but two men were stranded when Vignero flew out.
New Era had a chance to make a game of it in the eighth when their first two batters were walked. But Polichetti hit into a double play and pinch-hitter Jesso Kelso grounded out to strand the runner at third.
"We couldn't hit the ball," said Buffalo manager Chuck Righetti. "It seemed like we didn't want to play today."
"We knew (Matt Skoner) was the guy for this team," said Delsignore. "He throws strikes, he involves the defense, and he's a very easy pitcher to play behind." Skoner induced 13 ground outs from Buffalo and allowed only one run per inning except when he allowed two in the sixth. He then retired the side in order in the seventh on three ground balls. Delweld finished the night with two errors.
Nate Kohuth closed the game for Delweld allowing two hits but no runs.
"We were pretty much able to dictate the pace and the tempo of the game," said Delsignore.
Johnstown plays Philadelphia tomorrow at 7:00pm at the Point Stadium. The morning begins with the rescheduled New Orleans / Chicago-Metro game, with the winner playing undefeated Baltimore at 1:00pm, both at Point Stadium. Baltimore will play the winner of Johnstown / Philadelphia game on Saturday. If Baltimore is undefeated, they will have the chance to win the championship in that game. If they have a loss, the championship game will most likely be played on Saturday night.
NEW ORLEANS 19 - NEW YORK CITY 14 : New Orleans eliminated New York City in a postponed game at Arcurio field by the score of 19-14. New Orleans had a lead of 9-0 and a no-hitter through seven innings but fell apart in the final innings and let New York City make a game of it. The total runs between the two teams (33 runs) was the most since Philadelphia beat New Brunswick 24-17 (41 runs) on Day 2 in 1998. That same day, Columbus beat Baltimore 17-15 (32 runs).
CHICAGO-METRO 3 - TOLEDO 1 : Toledo led the game early but could not manufacture any more runs. Chicago-Metro used timely hitting in the fifth to take the lead and had outstanding pitching to advance.
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After take the lead in the top of the first inning, the Lake Erie Monarchs from Toledo were kept off the board by starter Alex Norman who threw a complete game.
"We got five hits in the first innings but couldn't generate anything after that," said Toledo manager Dale Gray. "He pitched a good game against us."
"We came here with 15 guys and we were worried about our arms, but now we've got guys with plenty of rest," said Chicago manager Mike Schultz.
The Patriots from Chicago were having their own problems with offense until the fifth inning.
Pitcher Michael McKinley started the inning getting Keith Brand to fly out to left, but then walked both Brian Evans and Anthony Concialdi. Ryan Kiesel grounded to third and the lead runner was forced out by third baseman Kurt Farmer. But with two outs, Kevin Serna hit a single to left, scoring Concialdi from second while the ball was bobbled in the out field. Next batter Jimmy Risi--sophomore at Lewis University--then hit deep to the right field bleachers for a stand-up triple that scored two runs. McKinley struck out Jason Cohen to end the inning.
The remainder of the game was highlighted by some outstanding defensive plays. First in the top of the seventh with two outs and a runner on second, Chicago's Ryan Konsler made a diving catch in right to the inning. Then in the eighth, lead-off batter Anthony DeMarco blooped the ball into shallow right field, but second baseman Brian Evans laid out in mid air to make a spectacular catch. "You're got to be kidding me," was the reaction from the Toledo bench.
"These last two games have been the best I've seen this team play all summer," said Alex Norman. "I just kept throwing strikes and letting my defense play. They made a couple game changing plays." Norman finished the game with two fly outs and a strike out.
"It was nice that we didn't have to use any relievers," he said. "I felt stronger as I went."
"As a fan, I like watching this kind of game because no one did anything wrong," said Gray. "We hit hard but they all went right to someone. It wasn't anything anyone did wrong, they just got that one key hit."
With the loss, Toledo is eliminated from the tournament after posting wins against New Orleans and Altoona, with loses to Buffalo and now Chicago.
"I can't say enough about what Alex did," said Schultz. "After that first run, they never squared on any pitchers. He told me after the game that that was the best game he's ever thrown."
Chicago-Metro now awaits the winner of the 1:00pm game between New Orleans and New York City. That game was delayed from 10:00am due to wet field conditions. Chicago's game against the winner--originally scheduled for 2:00pm--is now tentatively scheduled for 4:00pm at Arcurio Field.
Looks like we had some heavy rain last night, but the radar looks clear for now. Weather reports are giving a 60% chance of rain all day and the humidity will still stay high. No word on the field conditions yet, but since we're later in the week, the tournament will have the options of using back-up fields if necessary.
August 12th Delweld blanked as Youse’s stellar staff keeps rolling. Mike Mastovich, Tribune-Democrat
August 12th Boosters oust Martella’s. Shawn Curtis, Tribune-Democrat
August 12th Major leaguer in town. Eric Knopsnyder and Mike Mastovich, Tribune-Democrat
August 12th Philly flattens Buffalo. Eric Knopsnyder, Tribune-Democrat
August 12th New York uses seven-run inning to stop Columbus. Shawn Curtis, Tribune-Democrat
August 12th Libby, Toledo send Altoona packing. Corey Isenberg, Tribune-Democrat
August 12th Chicago Metro lights up Livonia. Hugh Conrad, Tribune-Democrat
August 12th Miscue ousts Johnston. Nate Foreman, Altoona Mirror
August 12th Coyle is still undecided on whether to sign with the Boston Red Sox or head to North Carolina. Tom Kerrane, The Times Herald
BALTIMORE 7 - JOHNSTOWN 0 : Christopher O'Grady pitched eight shut-out innings and limited Johnstown to four hits as Baltimore won their third blow-out victory of the tournament. The loss puts Johnstown Delweld into the loser's bracket, but the local entry is still alive.
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Delweld had another large crowd at Point Stadium cheering quickly as Matt Donaldson led off the game with a double. However, before the cheers had ended, Donaldson was called out after having missed first base. Despite such a big momentum change so early in the game, Johnstown managed two more hits in the inning, from George Roberts and Drew Westover, but both were left on base.
Baltimore had an even better start. Glynn Davis led off with a single and Christopher Cook doubled to put two men in scoring position. Starting pitcher Austin Urban walked Patrick Blair to load the bases and Benjamin Carhart's fly out to center scored Davis from third. Urban then walked Chad Taylor and Andrew Parker for the Orioles' second run. But Delweld stopped any further run production with a 1-2-3 double play, putting out Blair at home and batter Dennis Mitchell at first.
Starting Baltimore pitcher O'Grady walked the first batter in the 2nd, but Delweld then went down in order, stranding him at first.
"[Christopher] started a little slow, but he settled into a groove," said Baltimore manager Tim Norris. "Pitching was superb. We got some runs early and it took the pressure off him."
Despite making contact with the ball, Delweld could not find the gaps. Only George Roberts could get a hit in the 3rd, as his three teammates all grounded out. In the fourth, Delweld again led off with a walk, but stranded two.
"We hit well and we hit hard, but we could not get the big hit with guys on base," said Delweld manager Chris Delsignore. "We had one guy (George Roberts) who accounted for 3 of our 4 hits."
Baltimore increased their lead in the fifth. After two consecutive singles from Christopher Cook and Patrick Blair, Carhart sacrificed them ahead one base and Chad Taylor sacrificed Cook in to make it 3-0. With Mitchell batting, Blair tried to score from third on a pass ball but was tagged out by pitcher Urban from catcher Cornetti to end the inning.
Delweld was retired in order in both the 6th and 7th innings, including 3 strike outs from O'Grady.
"This is the biggest crowd I've ever pitched in front of," said O'Grady, "but I settled down and started throwing strikes." He threw no strike outs through the first four innings, but had 5 in his final four innings.
In the seventh, Baltimore added two more runs. Glynn Davis led off with a double to right, and Cook tripled to right-center for the RBI. Delsignore brought in Cory Kaltenburgh to pitch. Kaltenburgh got Blair to fly out to right, but Cook managed to score as the throw to home was late. After a single by Carhart, Delweld ended the inning with a 4-3 double play. That defensive gem could not spark the Golden Boys, however, as they went down in order again in the 8th.
The Orioles added another two insurance runs in the eighth. Andrew Parker singled to right and advanced to second thanks to Robert Amaro. Dante Rosenberg and Harry Slade both followed with their first hits of the game to score runs. Kaltenburgh struck out the final two batters.
Delweld still could not get their offense going in the ninth, as only Aaron Kovach reached base courtesy a throwing error by shortstop Cook with two outs. Michael Trionfo, who pitched the ninth, struck out Spencer White to end the game.
Baltimore has not allowed a run since Chuck Rymer's solo home run in the third inning Monday. The Orioles will carry a 20-inning shut-out streak into their game tomorrow against fellow undefeated team Philadelphia Bandits. The Bandits will be the first upper bracket opponent that the Orioles face this tournament, but manager Norris is confident in his club.
"We've played good competition all year, so I think we're ready," he said.
For Johnstown, the loss drops the team into the loser's bracket where they will face Buffalo's Team New Era.
"Anytime you go this late in the tournament, you know you're playing a good team," said Delsignore when asked about Buffalo. As of the end of the Baltimore game, he had not chosen a starter for the Thursday night affair, but says that his team is deep in pitching this tournament.
The winner of the Johnstown / Buffalo game will play the loser of the Baltimore / Philadelphia game on Friday. Meanwhile, the winner of the Baltimore / Philadelphia game will play the loser's bracket winner (either New Orleans, New York City, Toledo, or Chicago-Metro) who will play a double-header on Thursday at 10:00am and 2:00pm.
NEW ORLEANS 3 - FLOOD CITY 2 : With two outs in the bottom of the ninth and a full count, Sean McMullen hit a ball that fell just behind the left fielder, scoring Beau Boudreaux from second to win the game.
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At game time, the temperature on the field was measured at 131.7-degrees, and the two teams turned the heat up even more with a nine inning dual that was filled with both great defense and plenty of controversy.
Martella's started the first with bases loaded. Kyle Bowser was walked, Sam Watkins hit to center, and Mike LeViseur was hit by a pitch. But starting pitcher Brent Bonvillain struck out the next two batters to strand three.
In the bottom of the inning with one on and two out, Scott Fabre was hit by a pitch. Joe Broussard hit to left to score Sean McMullen. After a double-steal, Alex Prestenback put a grounder past the short stop to score another run. The Boosters stranded two.
Martella's once again loaded the bases in the second. Scott Dixon led off with a hit to right. Alex Naggy singled up the middle, and they were moved over on a sacrifice bunt by Mike Kastelic. Alex Buccilli flew out to right, scoring the first run. Kyle Bowser was walked again and Sam Watkins was hit by a pitch to load the bases. In his second at bat, Mike LeViseur was hit by a pitch again, bringing in the tying run. But Mike Pelekanos grounded out to leave the bases loaded once again.
Some interesting happenings in the third. Bonvillain struck out Steve Bills, and then doubled up Scott Dixon (who reached on balls) and Alex Naggy. Then with the Dixielanders up to bat, Chad Gough-Fortenberry singled to right. Scott Fabre then singled up the middle, and Gough-Fortenberry was forced out at second. On the play, Gough-Fortenberry stood up at the end of his slide and collided with second baseman Kyle Bowser. After a protest from Flood City manager Chris Pfiel and an umpire conference, Fabre was ruled out on interference. Mike LeViseur made a great play to get the third out. The throw pulled him off the bag, but he fell forward to catch it and--while on his stomach--reached back with his foot to end the inning.
The next controversy came in the 5th. New Orleans veteran Beau Boudreaux was hit by pitcher Luke Novosel and took first base, but was called back by the home plate umpire for leaning into the pitch. Boudreaux reached base regardless, hitting a single to right. This sequence would be repeated later in the game.
New Orleans caught a break in the top of the sixth. With two outs, Mike Kastelic hit a grounder to the pitcher who bobbled the ball and was late on the throw, but Kastelic was still ruled out by the umpire. (See picture to the right) New Orleans stranded two runners in their half of the inning.
Bonvillain struck out two in the seventh to keep the score tied and the Boosters then threatened to take the lead in the bottom of the inning. After Harold Toscano II was walked and Boudreaux was again hit by a pitch, Sean McMullen bunted them over to 2nd and 3rd. Starter Novosel was then pulled after pitching 6 innings and allowing 6 hits with 4 walks and 4 strike outs.
"You're always worried when you use five pitchers the day before," said Martella's manager Chris Pfiel, "but Luke pitched strong. He's only 18 years old and pitching against the defending national champs, and he only lets up two runs. He kept putting zeros on the board."
New pitcher Jon Murphy--before throwing a pitch--picked off McMullen at second for the second out. Chad Gough-Fortenberry then hammered a shot towards the left-field wall, but was robbed of a hit by a brilliant jumping catch against the wall from Scott Dixon.
Flood City looked to use the momentum from the Dixon catch while Cody Deckwa was brought in to pitch for NORD. Deckwa issued a walk to LeViseur, struck out Pelekanos, and walked Steve Bills. Chase Dkystra was brought in to pinch-run for LeViseur and Joe Broussard was brought in to pitch for NORD. Scott Dixon then hit into a fielder's choice with the out at second, and pinch-hitter Patrick Kohl struck-out looking to strand two.
In the bottom of the eighth, Fabre led off with a double to center and advanced to third as Prestenback grounded into the second out of the inning. Martella's kept the runner at third, however, as Benjamin Barrios popped out to catcher Bills.
On to the top of the ninth with the score still tied at two. Martella's Kastelic was walked and Buccilli reached on a fielder's choice. With one out, Kyle Bowser fought through a long at bat and sent a double off the left field wall, putting runners at 2nd and 3rd. But pitcher Broussard got Watkins to ground out and struck out Joe Fearer, stranding two.
The first two batters for New Orleans were put out to start the ninth. Blake Butera grounded to second base and pitcher Jon Murphy struck out Toscano. For the third time in the game, Beau Boudreaux was hit by a pitch, and for the second time in the game, he was called back for leaning into the pitch. But once again, Boudreaux reached bass with a hard hit ball to shortstop. Boudreaux then stole second base with McMullen at the plate. Murphy fell behind 3-0 but worked back to a full count. McMullen hit the 3-2 pitch to the left field wall which barely eluded the glove of the left fielder, scoring Boudreaux from second.
"I think that was Sean (McMullen)'s first hit of the tournament," said a smiling Billy Babin. "We hit the ball hard all day. Beau (Boudreaux) hit the ball hard every time. He's our veteran--this is his third year--and he had a great game."
The Pharmacists only managed four hits and stranded 10 runners, including 6 in the first two innings, and 4 in the final 2 innings.
"We weren't able to get the big hit to get a run in. We had the table set many times, but we couldn't get it to fall," said Pfiel. As a result of this game, Martella's Pharmacy is eliminated from the tournament.
"There's not a whole lot you can say to take the pain away," said Pfiel, "because they really wanted this and we played our hearts out. This loss is gonna stay with them for a long time."
NEW YORK CITY 9 - COLUMBUS 4 : After falling behind by three, the Long Island Astros scores 9 runs over two innings to eliminate the Columbus Braves.
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Columbus jumped out to a 3-0 lead during the early game at the Point Stadium, but the New York Astros battled back in the third to cut the lead to one. In the fourth, Dave Kennett--playing shortstop for Columbus--committed two errors on a ground ball, letting New York's Ryan Rusoff take both second and third bases. Zachary Badanes made the Braves pay, hitting a single off starter Tyler Seibert to tie the game. After a walk loaded the bases, Mike Cunningham hit a single to center, scoring two and giving New York the lead.
"I just tried to get the team going," said Cunningham. "We've been fighting back all tournament."
Seibert was replaced on the mound by Jon Long, who struck out the first batter he saw, but gave up a single to Vinny Carminati, scoring two more runs. The Astros added two more runs in the inning to set the score at 9-3.
"That inning put the game away," said New York manager Jeff Rusoff.
"This season, we've had our soft parts as far as defense goes, but we always bring the bats," said Cunningham. The Astros ended the game with 12 hits.
"This was a tough game," said Columbus manager Bruce Domineck. "We were in control and playing on a field you wouldn't think would cause errors." The Braves committed four errors in the game. "We did not play well defensively."
Starter Jared Mancini got all three Columbus left-handers to fly out to right in the 5th. With two on in the 6th, Ryan Rusoff leapt to catch Ben Washington's hit over his head and doubled up Tyler Gray to end the inning.
"I normally go six innings," said Mancini, "but I had to stretch it out since one of our pitchers got hurt early in the tournament and two others had to leave early."
Macini sent the Braves down in order in both the 7th and 8th innings before an unenthused rally in the ninth. Danny Joy was called in to close the game for New York, and he hit Dave Kennett to lead off. After a strike out to Marck Paliotto, an error by shortstop Max Tecce put runners at first and second. With two outs, Chris Fox was walked to load the bases and Zack McGuire singled to third to score a run. Despite having the bases loaded, the Braves could not muster the energy to bring any more runners home, and ended the game quietly on a ground out.
"We've done this before, where we relied on our lead when we should have been adding on," said Domineck. "We got three runs but I thought we should have scored about five [in those first innings]."
With the loss, the Braves are eliminated from the tournament, but Domineck says that his team enjoyed their stay.
"It was an outstanding experience. I've been coaching for 37 years and I've been to all the other tournaments, but they do it in grand style here in Johnstown. These three days will be memorable for these players and we'll earmark our calendar to comeback next year."
New York stays alive and will play New Orleans tomorrow. The winner of that game will be matched up against the winner of Toledo / Chicago in a double-header on Thursday.
New York's win came on Tom Scala's 18th birthday. The outfielder from Coram, New York attends Mars Hill High School and was given a chorus of 'Happy Birthday' from the ambassadors as his gift.
OTHER SCORES : Philadelphia beats Buffalo 8-3 at Roxbury. Tomorrow, Philadelphia will play the winner of tonight's Johnstown / Baltimore game. Buffalo will play the loser of the game. Toledo eliminated Altoona 10-2, and Chicago upsets a strong Livonia squad 11-5 at Lilly. Chicago will play Toledo tomorrow.
August 11th Delweld’s big rally sets up showdown with Baltimore. Mike Mastovich, Tribune-Democrat
August 11th Bandits double up Martella’s Pharmacy. Shawn Curtis, Tribune-Democrat
August 11th Ex-Cub a legend in Lilly. Chip Minemyer, Tribune-Democrat
August 11th Altoona goes 13 to stay alive. Hugh Conrad, Tribune-Democrat
August 11th Chicago Metro runs past Maryland State. Shawn Curtis, Tribune-Democrat
August 11th Brooke, Baltimore roll over New York. Chip Minemyer, Tribune-Democrat
August 11th Kennel tosses gem to lift New Orleans. Philip Petrunak, Tribune-Democrat
August 11th Buffalo slips by Toledo. Eric Knopsnyder, Tribune-Democrat
August 11th Columbus crushes Cleveland. Corey Isenberg, Tribune-Democrat
August 11th Johnston Realty stays alive in extras. Nate Foreman, Altoona Mirror
August 11th Juniors eliminated at AAABA Tourney. Staff, Zanesville Times Recorder
August 11th Coaches Corner splits AAABA games. Dan O'Meara, Observer & Eccentric
JOHNSTOWN 7 - LIVONIA 4 : After a blow out victory on Monday, Delweld found themselves in a much tighter game against a very strong Livonia squad. Trailing by 2 in the bottom of the eighth, Johnstown rallied for three hits and drew three walks to score five runs and pull out a thrilling victory.
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Playing in front of a large crowd can be intimidating for some teams, but the club from Livonia grabbed the bull by the horns and took over the first innings. Garret Grumm singled on the first pitch of the game, Andrew Adamiec sacrificed him to second off his first pitch, and Brad Lineberry singled him home, also on his first pitch. Three pitches into the game and Livonia already had a 1-0 lead off starter Bobby Carbaugh.
"They were ready," said Livonia manager Mike George. "We woke up early and had breakfast together. We had a good batting practice and shared a team lunched. They were pumped." The energy from Livonia was evident from the outset of the game, both on and off the field. While their batters made noise with plenty of hits, the dugout made noise for their teammates on the field.
In the bottom of the inning, Zach Vignero was walked to lead off the inning, but after Austin Urban flew out, George Roberts hit into a double play. Drew Westover led off the second with a double off the Screen Monster, but was stranded after two fly outs and a strike out by starter Tom Hansen.
"It was my first time playing in front of a crowd like this," said Hansen, who struck out 5 and walked 3. "It was a little nerve-wracking, but you can't let it get in your head." Hansen was strong in his start, allowing only 7 hits in his 8 innings. "I felt good the whole game," he added.
Livonia extended their lead in the third. Garrett Grumm got his second hit of the game with a double into centerfield. Two batters later, Brad Lineberry doubled him home. Lineberry then scored on Steve Pelletier's single. Delweld had only one hit through three innings, compared to Livonia's seven, and the Michigan club was in firm control of the game.
Delweld starter Bobby Carbaugh started to settle down in the third, and recorded a strike out in four consecutive innings. The Johnstown bats then came to life in the bottom of the fourth. After Roberts reached on an error, Drew Westover hit his second single off the Monster advancing Roberts to third. Tyler Uphouse then flew out to right field, scoring Roberts. Matt Cornetti followed with a single to score Westover. Delweld stranded two to end the inning, but had cut the lead to one.
Zach Vignero had a nice sliding catch in the top of the sixth to rob Garrett Rebain of a hit to left field. Pitcher Hansen had three strike outs in the 6th and 7th innings.
In the top of the seventh, Livonia opened with a deep single to left by Grumm. Andrew Adamiec laid a bunt down towards first and reached safely, and Lineberry singled to right field to load the bases with no outs. Delweld manager Chris Delsignore brought in Nate Plummer to pitch, resulting in Pelletier hitting into a 6-4-3 double play while scoring a run. Austin Delmotte then grounded out to end the inning.
"I think the turning point of the game was when we had the based loaded with no outs and their short stop made the double play," said manager George.
Delweld could not respond in the seventh, despite a lead off double from Spencer White. Josh Robinette and Austin Urban both struck out. But after a quick three batter top of the eighth, The Golden Boys staged a memorable comeback to take control of the game.
Veteran George Roberts hit a grounder down the third base line and reached second as the ball rolled to the corner. He advanced on a wild pitch, and Drew Westover brought him home with his third double off the Screen Monster. Livonia manager Mike George brought in Kevin Delapaz to pitch, and Delapaz got Tyler Uphouse to fly out in foul territory. But after a full-count walk to Matt Cornetti, Aaron Kovach singled to left field and Westover was waved home from second. The throw from left fielder Steve Pelletier was on target and on time, but catcher Andrew Adamiec could not handle the ball as Westover ran past.
With the score now tied and only one out, Spencer White was intentionally walked to load the bases. Delsignore brought in pinch hitter Matt Donaldson.
"We wanted to bunt with Spencer, but he was intentionally walked," explained Deslginore. "We thought Matt left us with the options open to hit or bunt."
On the first pitch he saw, Donaldson hooked the ball into right field which scored Corneti and Kovach and moved White to third. Donaldson rode his emotions to second base, jubilantly pumping his fist into the air as soon as the ball left his bat. The large crowd was on its feet with the hometown team now in control of the game.
"I was sitting for a fastball, and he put one up in the zone," said Donaldson, a second-year pick-up player from Principle Development. "It's one of those situations you think about your whole life, and when you see the ball go through, it's crazy. The atmosphere was overwhelming."
Manager George brought Auston Delmotte in to pitch. He struck out the first batter he faced--Zach Vignero--but walked the bases loaded and then walked in a run to set the score at 7-4. Delmotte ended the eighth with another strike out to Westover, leaving three men on base.
"We never gave up," said veteran player George Roberts, who had two hits in the game.
"We've been fortunate to be on this end of things a few times," said Delsignore, "coming through late in the game and riding the crowd."
In the ninth, Plummer walked pinch hitter Donald Holland, but struck out Garrett Grumm. After a bad pitch caused catcher Cornetti to temporarily lose the ball, Holland broke for second base. The play at the bag was close, but he was called out, leaving the based empty and two men out. Plummer finished the game by striking out Andrew Adamiec, his second strike-out of the inning.
Garrett Grumm, Brad Lineberry, and Steve Pelletier all had three hits for Livonia and provided a powerful hitting combination to the top of the Livonia rotation. For Johnstown, Drew Westover hit three doubles off the screen in five at bats.
Tomorrow at noon, Livonia will play Chicago-Metro at Lilly in an elimination game.
"We're going to come out the same way we did today, we've just got to finish it," said Hansen.
In the evening, Johnstown will play Baltimore at the Point Stadium. Austin Urban is scheduled to start for Johnstown. Urban was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles and will now have a chance to play against the Orioles' scout team. The first pitch is at 7:00pm. Johnstown has lost six consecutive games to Baltimore, including a close 4-3 loss in 2008 after Johnstown controlled much of the game. The last time Johnstown beat Baltimore was Galliker's Dairy's 2-1 win in 2001.
CHICAGO-METRO 5 - MARYLAND STATE 0 : Chicago wasted no time this morning at the Point, putting up 3 runs in the first and one more in the 2nd to take an early 4-0 lead. Calvert Legion from Maryland had a chance to score in the fourth after pitcher Kevin Borst walked the bases loaded. But with William Gaines, Jr. up to bat, catcher Keith Brand picked off Jacob Nealis at second. Gaines then struck out, leaving two men on base.
Chicago had based loaded themselves in the bottom of the inning, after hits from Brian Evans, Kevin Serna, and Jimmy Risi, but Maryland pitcher Jeremy Adams got Jason Cohen to hit into an inning ending 6-3 double play, leaving three men on base.
NEW ORLEANS 4 - ZANESVILLE 1 : Zanesville manager described his team's offense as up-and-down, but this week in Johnstown is seemed to stay down. The Pioneers managed only 2 runs in 2 games, losing both by scores of 4-1. The Dixielanders rebounded from a 6-4 loss to Toledo on Monday to remain alive in the loser's bracket. They will play the loser of the Flood City / Philadelphia game.
BUFFALO 6 - TOLEDO 3 : Toledo held a 3-1 lead into the seventh, but Buffalo's New Era put 5 runs across in the bottom of the inning to overtake the Monarchs and lead 6-3. With the win, Buffalo advances to the upper bracket final against Philadelphia.
ALTOONA - NEW BRUNSWICK : With elimination only one loss away, last year's runners-up the New Brunswick Matrix had a disastrous start to their game against Altoona at Arcurio. Starting pitcher Connor Henderson gave up a single to Andy Glass on the first pitch of the game. Jake Weibley bunted and reached safely on an error by third baseman Stephen Nappe. Neil Scroth then followed with a double to center, scoring the first run of the game.
John Shaffer and Tommy Bush then hit back-to-back singles, both scoring runs. Michael Marcinko was walked but was put out at second on a fielder's choice during the next at bat. With now one out, Joe Pillot stole second and Mason Hershey was walked to load the bases. Another walk to Kyle Mann brought in the fourth run for Altoona. Andy Glass made his second appearance at the plate in the inning with the bases still loaded, but hit into an out to end the inning.
In the end, Altoona had 3 hits and sent 10 men to the plate. Henderson issued 3 walks and there was 1 error plus a stolen base.
New Brunswick got a run back in the bottom of the inning. The second batter, Matthew Cesare singled to left and Chris Grimes was hit by a pitch. Michael Muha singled to left to bring in Cesare, but Andres Vasquez struck out looking to end the inning.
Neither team scored again until the seventh, with Altoona adding a run, but New Brunswick adding three to cut the lead to one going into the eighth.
As of the writing of this article, the game is tied 6-6 heading into the 13th inning.
COLUMBUS 8 - CLEVELAND 1 : After a late night at the Point, the Old Brooklyn Hurricanes had to face the Columbus Braves in Saint Michael at noon. Sadly for the Hurricanes, their tournament run ends after two games, as Columbus records an 8-1 victory. Columbus kept Cleveland off the board until the late innings and kept the game out of reach until the end.
BALTIMORE 10 - NEW YORK CITY 0 : The Orioles mercy-ruled another lower bracket team with a 10-0 victory over the Long Island Astros. Pat Blair had a triple that could have been an inside-the-park home-run at the very large Lilly War Memorial Field, but he ran into the umpire at third. Glynn Davis scored the eighth run after the catcher's throw eluded the third baseman as Davis stole third. Baltimore plays the winner of Johnstown/Livonia, while New York City will play Columbus.
PHILADELPHIA 8 - FLOOD CITY 4 : The Philadelphia Bandits scored three times in the third to take the lead and added two more in the fourth to lead Martella's Pharmacy 5-0. But as they did on Monday, the Pharmacists rallied for runs and cut the lead to 5-3. However, they left the bases loaded in the seventh and the Bandits added two more runs in the eighth, holding on for an 8-4 win over Flood City.
MORNING NEWS -
August 10th 'A great atmosphere:" Packed Point welcomes return of AAABA Tournament. Paige Minemyer, Tribune-Democrat
August 10th Delweld takes advantage of 17 walks to win AAABA opener. Mike Mastovich, Tribune-Democrat
August 10th Martella’s figures out Matrix. Shawn Curtis, Tribune-Democrat
August 10th Toledo topples New Orleans. Eric Knopsnyder, Tribune-Democrat
August 10th Baltimore blasts way to victory. Philip Petrunak, Tribune-Democrat
August 10th Mullen, Philly stifle Altoona. Staff, Tribune-Democrat
August 10th Buffalo squeezes by Zanesville. Shawn Curtis, Tribune-Democrat
August 10th Reliever carries N.Y. to win over Chicago. Corey Isenberg, Tribune-Democrat
August 10th Gooding good enough for Livonia. Patrick Buchnowski, Tribune-Democrat
August 10th AAABA sidelights: Point Stadium links Philly player to his grandfather. Mike Mastovich and Eric Knopsnyder, Tribune-Democrat
August 10th Juniors drop AAABA opener in Johnstown. Staff, Zanesville Times Recorder
August 10th Run shortage: Philly pitcher keeps Johnston hitters in check. Nate Foreman, Altoona Mirror
JOHNSTOWN 12 - CLEVELAND 3 : The Point Stadium was filled with the largest crowd since renovations and Delweld filled the scoreboard with 12 runs as they blew away the Old Brooklyn Hurricanes of Cleveland 12-3 in the Opening Night game for the 66th Annual AAABA National Tournament.
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"You gotta give them credit, they beat us up good," said Cleveland manager Bill Kirchner. The Hurricanes started out strong as pitcher Ron Stout struck out 3 of the first 4 batters he faced. Delweld batters were caught off balance through the first, chasing after outside pitches.
But in the second, the Delweld bats came to life and the Hurricanes defense started to stumble.
"We watched them during practice, and we thought their infield could be a problem," said Delweld manager Chris Delsignore. "I told the guys to just put the ball in play." His players listened to that coaching, batting through the order in the second. Tyler Uphouse led off with a double. Matt Cornetti, Aaron Kovach, and Spencer White all followed with hits, and Josh Robinette reached on an error. The Hurricanes committed two errors in the inning and had a pass ball and a walk to help the Delweld hitters move around the bases, eventually scoring four runs.
"Walks and errors killed us," said Kirchner. The large crowd of over 7000
fans certainly played a role in the game on the field, since most players coming
into the tournament have never played in front of crowds that large. "I think
for one or two guys, it got in their heads." While the infield had some
struggles, outfielder Matt Crossland in left-field had a couple sensational
catches against the Screen Monster's wall that earned applause from the local
"It's hard to come here and play in front of all this when you don't know what to expect," said Delsignore. Possibly due to nerves, the Hurricanes pitchers walked 16 batters during the course of the game. "That was the story right there."
Delweld added three more in the top of the fourth George Roberts singled on the first pitch he saw with one out. Drew Westover tripled to center field to score Roberts, and then scored himself on a wild pitch. Tyler Uphouse was walked, stole second, and advanced to third on an error before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Cornetti. Pitcher Stout ended the inning with a strikeout, his sixth of the game.
The Hurricanes came to life in the bottom of the inning. Matt Crossland singled in Tom Kazimer, and Dan Green doubled in Ron Stout to put two runs on the board. By the end of the night, Cleveland had outhit Johnstown 12-8, but according to manager Kirchner, it wasn't timely hitting.
Johnstown had a chance to end the game early in the 7th. Leading 10-3, Drew Westover, Tyler Uphouse, and Ryan Sylvia were all walked to load the bases. Andy Kirchner was brought in to pitch and immediately struck out Matt Donaldson and Spencer White. But, he then walked Josh Robinette to bring in a run. Zach Vignero hit towards third, but everyone was safe as Uphouse beat out the third baseman in a sprint to the bag. Delweld needed one more run to initiate the mercy-rule, but Kirchner struck out Austin Urban, stranding three.
Johnstown had the bases loaded again in the ninth but again stranded all three. Delweld stranded 18 in total.
Paul Tunink pitched the final two innings for Delweld, allowing 2 hits to 8 batters, but allowing no runs.
Tomorrow, Cleveland will play at noon against Columbus in an elimination game at Saint Michael. Johnstown will play Livonia at the Point Stadium at 7:00 pm.
DAY 1 RECAP : For another year, Johnstown opened the tournament with a win. The host entry is 15-5 in opening nights in the past 20 years, their last loss coming to Altoona in 2007. It was also the 6th time in 7 years that they managed to score more than ten runs. Tomorrow will probably prove to be a tougher match as Delweld welcomes Coach's Corner from Livonia to the Point. The Livonia entry has fielded competitive teams over the past decade and manager Mike George has plenty of tournament experience.
Flood City (Johnstown Martella's) also won today after a thrilling comeback victory over last year's runner-up entry, the New Brunswick Matrix. The Pharmacists will have to play a favored Philadelphia team tomorrow afternoon.
Baltimore got back into form with a mercy rule victory against fellow Marylanders Calvert Legion. The Orioles will play an unfamiliar Long Island Astros team tomorrow.
The big news is Toledo's victory over defending champion New Orleans. NORD will have to fight through the loser's bracket now, beginning with a game against Zanesville. However, the Boosters lost their opening game last year, too. Furthermore, Baltimore lost their Tuesday game in both 2007 and 2008 on way to their championship.
TELEVISION : Atlantic Broadband will rebroadcast the opening night game on Tuesday and Wednesday at 8:00pm on Channel 14 in Johnstown and Altoona, and again on Thursday at noon on Channel 9.
PHOTOS : Our galleries from Opening Night most likely won't be online until Wednesday or Thursday
BUFFALO 4 - ZANESVILLE 1 : Team New Era from Buffalo won a close contest against the Junior Pioneers from Zanesville in the morning game at Point Stadium. Starting pitcher Robert Nalepa went 8 innings for the win.
"I came in not having pitched in a while. I'm usually the Tuesday pitcher in our rotation," said Nalepa who started the game with a walk. But afterwards, he settled down allowing only 1 run on 8 hits. Josh Dotson started on the mound for Zanesville.
Buffalo opened the scoring in the bottom of the 2nd when Joseph Polichetti hit a 340-ft triple off the brick wall in center field. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Travis Denman.
Zanesville did not get their first hit of Nalepa until the fourth inning when designated hitter Nick Yakubik sent a one-out shot into centerfield. With the no-hitter broken, the next two Junior Pioneers hit singles (Zack Pollock, Corey Hull) to load the bases. Joe Golden's sacrifice fly to right field tied the game, but Nate Stewart was retied on a grounder to Brandon Caboot, stranding two.
The Junior Pioneers got a break in the 6th as the first batter Yakubik reached second on a throwing error from third baseman Bryant Watt, his second error of the game. Yakubik was advanced on a sacrifice bunt, but was stranded at third. The Pioneers also stranded two in the eighth.
Buffalo regained the lead in the bottom of the 7th. Polichetti started the inning with a double and Steve Karnyski reached on a single after Denman had flown out. Cody Stonish, who had just entered the game in left field, laid down a bunt. The ball was thrown home but Polichetti was ruled safe. After another fly out, the inning ended unusually. With Caboot batting, catcher Nate Stewart attempted to pick off Karnyski at third. The ball went past the third baseman and Karnyski broke for home, but was thrown out (pictured right) by left fielder Joe Golden who was covering on the play.
In the eighth, New Era added some insurance. With Dotson still pitching and one out, Michael Hackett blooped the ball into the infield. It was followed by a bunt single and a walk to load the bases. Manager Doug Pollock of Zanesville brought in right-handed pitcher Joe Jenkins from Muskingum University. Jenkins grazed the elbow of the first batter, Polichetti, who was given first base which brought in a run. He then walked Denman to make it 4-1. Jenkins made up for it with a strike out of Karnyski and an out against Stonish to strand three, but the damage was done.
"The pop fly in the infield should have been caught, and that's what started our problems," said Pollock. "We went to sleep for a couple plays and it cost us."
Reliever Jon Klein struck out two in the ninth inning to finish off the win for Buffalo. Tomorrow, Buffalo will play Toledo, and Zanesville will play New Orleans in an elimination game.
SUMMER IN THE CITY : A large group of kids from the Summer in the City program were on hard for the morning game between Buffalo and Zanesville. After the game, the kids were given a chance to run the bases down on the field.
"It's like a summer camp for the kids, to keep them busy and out of trouble," said worker Megan McMillen. (pictured right, right side)
"We do crafts and activites everyday and go on field trips," added Steph Szczur (pictured right, left side), mentioned Lakemont Park and the Bottleworks as other destinations for the group.
Both Megan and Steph are in their second year with the organization. In addition to the fun activities, the program also offers tutoring programs for the kids.
NEW YORK 7 - CHICAGO-METRO 2 : The Long Island Astros defeated the Des Plaines Patriots 7-2 at Saint Michael. The New Yorkers had a 7-1 lead by the 5th and the Patriots were unable to get the offense going.
BALTIMORE 11 - MARYLAND STATE 1 : Baltimore is back and in dramatic fashion, posting an 11-1 mercy rule victory against Maryland State at Roxbury Park. Baltimore will play New York tomorrow, while Chicago-Metro and Maryland State will meet in an elimination game.
LIVONIA 4 - COLUMBUS 1 : Coach's Corner from Livonia put 3 runs across the plate in the first inning and never looked back in their win against the Columbus Braves.
"We had two errors by our second baseman, who is usually a sure-handed player," said Columbus manager Bruce Domineck. "But that gave them three unearned runs." Marck Palitto started the game for Columbus.
"Their kid shut us down after the first," said Livonia manager Mike George. "Their kid pitched great, but our kid pitched a little better."
Jeremy Gooding recorded the complete game victory for Livonia. The sophomore at Madonna University struck out 14 in 9 innings.
"There was a lot of good team intensity," said Gooding. "I kept getting a lot of first pitch strikes. Catcher Andrew Adamiec called a great game."
Livonia will play the winner of tonight's nightcap between Johnstown and Cleveland, while Columbus will play the loser of that game.
TOLEDO 6 - NEW ORLEANS 4 : Defending champion NORD suffered a loss to rising power Toledo from the Great Lakes League.
PHILADELPHIA 6 - ALTOONA 1 : Philadelphia defeated Altoona in the regionals two weekends ago with a mercy-rule victory. The teams met again in the opening day of the national tournament and Philadelphia once again came out on top, winning 6-1.
FLOOD CITY 10 - NEW BRUNSWICK 6 : Martella's Pharmacy got revenge against the Matrix from New Brunswick after their loss to the New Jersey team in last year's tournament. The Johnstown runners-up won 10-6 at the Point Stadium this afternoon. After a scoreless three innings, the Matrix jumped out to a 4-0 lead. But Steve Bills hit a home run to right to pull Martella's within 1. Sam Watkins doubled off the Screen Monster to give Martella's the lead. The Pharmacists sent 12 batters to the plate in the 6th inning. Alex Bucceli singled in two runs in the seventh. In the 9th with Johnstown leading 10-4, Chris Grimes doubled off the Screen Monster to cut the lead to 10-6, but that was as close as the Matrix could come.
Tomorrow, Flood City will play Philadelphia, while New Brunswick plays Altoona in an elimination game.
MORNING NEWS -
August 9th AAABA tournament pairings: Delweld gets Cleveland; Martella's draws New Brunswick. Corey Isenberg, Tribune-Democrat
August 9th AAABA sidelights: Ex-tournament standout earns monthly award. Mike Mastovich, Tribune-Democrat
August 9th AAABA tournament: Baltimore excited to be back in Flood City. Mike Mastovich, Tribune-Democrat
August 9th AAABA tournament: Pitching has Philadelphia rolling. Mike Mastovich, Tribune-Democrat
August 9th AAABA tournament: Inexperienced Altoona eyes quick start. Hugh Conrad, Tribune-Democrat
August 9th Johnston Realty draws Philadelphia. Staff, Altoona Mirror
SCHEDULE- The opening day brackets have been determined and Johnstown will open against Cleveland at the Point Stadium at 7:30pm.
The other lower bracket games are (home team listed first): Baltimore versus Maryland State at Roxbury at noon, Chicago-Metro versus New York City at Saint Michael at noon, Columbus versus Livonia at Portage at noon.
In the upper bracket (home team listed first), Buffalo versus Zanesville at Point Stadium at 10:00am, Philadelphia versus Altoona at Lilly at noon, New Orleans versus Toledo at Arcurio at noon, and Flood City (Martella's) versus New Brunswick at Point Stadium at 1:00pm.
OPENING NIGHT - Cleveland last played on opening night in 1995 when Johnstown Sani-Dairy defeated the Cleveland Mill-Rose team 14-9. That year, Cleveland was eliminated 0-2 (Lost to Baltimore 19-0) but Johnstown went on to a 4-2 runner-up finish to champion New Orleans.
"It will be a challenge, but hopefully our guys will respond to that kind of a crowd," said Cleveland manager Bill Kirchner (pictured left). "We have to take it one pitch at a time, one bat at a time. We have to forget the past, not worry about the future, and just on the present." Cleveland is represented by the Old Brooklyn Hurricanes.
"We don't know anything about them yet," said Johnstown Delweld coach Chris Delsignore (pictured right), "and I'm sure they don't know anything about us, so we'll go in fairly even." Knowing or not knowing about the other team is not much of a concern to Delsignore. "We've never worried about the team in the other dugout. We play against the game, it doesn't matter whose wearing the other uniform."
Delweld will start Carter Lehman on the mound, while Cleveland will start Ron Stout, a right-handed pitcher and pick-up player from Monroe Community College. Stout is from Medina, Ohio, and led his Monroe club with a 2.09 ERA and an 8-1 win-loss record in 10 games. He pitched 64.2 innings allowing 48 hits and 18 runs with 45 strike-outs. At the plate, Stout also led his Monroe club with a 0.417 average and had 50 hits in 120 at-bats with 34 RBIs.
"It's important to understand that the crowd is behind you," said Delsignore. "It can be a little overwhelming at times, and hopefully the other team will play a little tight and we can take advantage of it."
Manager Kirchner said that his players were pulling for a Johnstown draw, but knowing the strength of the Johnstown entry muted some of the celebration.
"It's a testament to our league," noted Delsignore. "We put a competitive team in the tournament each year. We're no longer a door mat."
AFTERNOON REMATCH - Managers Chris Pfiel (Flood City) and Glenn Fredericks (New Brunswick) shared a laugh before Pfield won the coin toss and chose to bat in the bottom half of the inning. The two managers last met on the field last year during a 14-9 New Brunswick win at Point Stadium. They meet again this year at the Point Stadium on Monday at 1:00pm.
"It was a slugfest," said Pfiel. The teams combined for 29 hits in that 2009 game. "Hopefully we can control their bats this year."
Pfiel will start Scott Dixon, the 18-year-old Pete Vuckovich Award co-winner. In AAABA League play this year, Dixon was 6-1 with 1.59 ERA in 39.2 innings pitched. He had 50 strikeouts. He should be a tough match for the New Brunswick team, which Fredericks says has been struggling at the plate lately.
For the Matrix, right-hander Andrew Sullivan will start. He was an All State player for Monroe Township High School and will attend Rutgers University. Fredericks knows the history of the tournament and hopes that his team will come out on the favorable side of history this season.
"They're still playing to be the first Johnstown to win it, and it'll be a great story when it happens, but we don't want it to be at our expense."
OTHER GAMES - There will be a triple-header at the Point Stadium beginning with Buffalo (New Era) and Zanesville (Junior Pioneers) at the 10:00am. Defending champion New Orleans (Boosters) opens their title defense against Toledo (Lake Erie Monarchs) at Arcurio at noon. Last year, New Orleans eliminated Toledo 10-5 on Friday. The other upper bracket game will have Philadelphia (Bandits) playing Altoona (Johnston Realty) at Lilly. These two teams met at the Altoona Regional with the Bandits winning by mercy rule. Altoona can expect support from the crowd, however, as Lilly is only a short drive from Altoona.
In the lower bracket, Baltimore (Youse's Orioles) opens against Maryland State (Calvert Legion) at Roxbury at noon. Baltimore is in the lower bracket this year because they were eliminated in the regional last year. The teams last faced off on opening day in 2007 when Baltimore beat the Maryland Monarchs 12-4 on way to their 5th consecutive championship. New York (Long Island Astros) and Chicago-Metro (Des Plaines Patriots) play at Saint Michael at noon, and may have to face Baltimore on the second day of the tournament. Livonia (Coach's Corner) and Columbus (Braves) play at Portage at noon, and will play either Johnstown or Cleveland on Tuesday.
Doug Pollock has been to Johnstown many times in the past, and this year, half of his team are also returnees. The Junior Pioneers were 2-2 in the tournament last season and are bringing seven players from that team to Johnstown this season. Unfortunately, some key players are not part of that list.
"Our two 20-year-old pitchers had arm problems and are not with us this week, and another player--a 0.320 hitter--didn't make the trip," said Pollock. Zanesville will still have some veteran leadership, as Zack Pollock and Wade Kaido return for their third tournaments this year.
Last year, the Junior Pioneers were shutout in their first game last year and had their first run of the tournament walked in.
"Hitting has been up and down this season. I've come with teams that are good hitting teams and they get here and not hit, and other teams just get excited about it and hit well. It's a year to year thing."
Pollock's team may be seeded in the upper bracket this season due to their strong performance in 2009. While that bracket will have tough teams, the alternative is the possibility of playing Johnstown on Opening Night.
"It's pick your poison," said Pollock. "Either you're in the upper bracket or maybe playing Opening Night. Opening Night is almost impossible to win for a visiting team. It's a difficult game."
NEW YORK CITY - Another new team this year are the Long Island Astros from New York. The Astros finished their FABL season in 2nd place with a 15-9-1 record, then defeated West Chester County for the right to represent New York in Johnstown.
"We have a strong team," said coach Jeff Rusoff. "Some of the other teams here look to be powerhouse teams, and we're not a powerhouse team, but we have a good group of players. Hopefully we'll do well in our first tournament."
CHICAGO-METRO - When the Glen Ellyn Jam finished 2nd in the 2006 tournament, there were thoughts that Chicago-Metro could become another perennial contendor in the AAABA. But when the Jam folder in 2008, it left Chicago without a representative.
This year, a new team has taken over and will bring the Windy City back to Johnstown. Mike Schultz leads the first-year Des Plaines Patriots to their first tournament. He explained that franchise representative Len DiForte was so impressed with their play this season that he asked them to make the trip east.
"We played very well this season. We won our league by 1 1/2 games and finished 17-6," said Schultz. "The players are excited. They understand the kind of crowd Johnstown can draw on Opening Night and they want to play in front of those fans. They're coming in with confidence after our season."
While the players are new to Johnstown, they have a great source of experience in coach Joe Penner. Penner played in Johnstown for two years with Glen Ellyn Jam, including the runner-up team in 2006. Schultz said that Penner has been 'giddy' about returning to town and exclaimed 'I can't believe I'm back' after the long drive into Pennsylvania.
"It doesn't matter what school you play for, whether D3 or D1," explain Penner when asked about what he learned during his previous trips to the tournament. "Once you get between the lines, anyone can win."
"I've been able to tell the players about my experiences with the runner-up club, and I hope that those stories are getting them excited to play and gives them the drive to get to the championship."
PHILADELPHIA - On Monday morning in Altoona, few people were expecting Philadelphia to advance to Johnstown. The Bandits had to win three games, including two against newcomer Miami in order to win the regional. But by the end of the day, it was hard to imagine any other result. The Bandits knocked off host Altoona and then took two from Miami to sweep their triple header.
Last year, the Bandits were runners-up in the Altoona Regional after forfeiting the championship game to Altoona. But despite playing strong that week, the Bandits were eliminated in two games in Johnstown the following week.
"We're confident," said manager Mike Gossner, "but we understand that one week to another, things can chance. We're just trying to stay positive and upbeat." The Bandits currently have 18 players registered and are hoping for two more to show up tomorrow.
COLUMBUS - The Braves from Columbus are making their first trip to Johnstown, but the coaches and players know what they're getting into:
"We know that is the granddaddy of all amateur tournaments in our region," said manager Bruce Domineck. "They players are loving it." With their excitement, the players also know they have a tough task ahead of them.
"We're the youngest team in our summer league. We're a bit apprehensive, but we're getting the players over the jitters of playing against some of the best teams in the country. We're happy to be here."
BUFFALO - New Era is this year's Buffalo representative. They finished 3rd in the regular season and then swept through the playoffs with a 4-0 record and series victories against Ken-Hy Auto and Meridian Medicine. New Era had been to the championship before, but finally came out on top this year.
"Pitching is out strength," said manager Chuck Righetti. "Two years ago we went to the championship game and lost in the last game because we didn't have pitching." The Buffalo AAABA has a long tradition within its community and parity between the teams, so the players enter the season excited about a possible trip to Johnstown.
"Everyone of the players in Buffalo know about the tournament. We didn't have to do anything to get them ready," said Righetti. Several of his players had some extra motivation this year, too.
"I've got seven players who are too old to play next year, and they made sure we didn't lose."
TOLEDO - Finishing under 0.500 is usually a bad sign for teams, but the coaching staff for the Lake Erie Monarchs from Toledo are still proud of their performance.
"We were the youngest team in the Great Lakes league, which is ranked as the 4th or 5th best amateur league in the country," said manager Dale Gray. "We battled and just missed the playoffs." The Monarchs are made up mostly of freshmen and sophomores so that they can keep their entire team together for the national tournament in Johnstown.
Last year, Toledo won the Zanesville Regional and then posted a 3-2 record in Johnstown.
"[Last year] we learned that pitching is a premium, so we brought a good compliment of pitchers this year," said Gray. "I saw last year that we win with our pitching and defense, so we shored up our pitching staff."
This year, Toledo was given a direct bid into the national tournament, and the players used the week to regroup after a long summer schedule.
"We play a 42-game schedule in the Great Lakes league, and being a young team, the players were getting a little tired at the end of the season. But, we had a week off and we're coming into this week refreshed."
The New Brunswick Matrix impressed a lot of local baseball fans with their 2nd place finish in the 2009 tournament. Prior to registration, coach Nick Cesare took some time to browse over Rex Morgart's extensive display of AAABA Alumni who have played professionally.
"It'd be nice to add another New Brunswick player to the list," said Cesare. This year, the Matrix defeated fan favorite Brooklyn Youth Service in their New York regional to earn a second trip to Johnstown.
"The first game against Brooklyn was a battle, and in the second game, we were trailing 5-0 in the first inning but came back."
The Matrix won both games, but did not escape the regional unscathed.
"We got a couple unfortunate breaks this past week," said manager Glenn Fredericks. "We have 2 injuries and one player came down with mono. They were older players who we relied heavily on last year. To win the regional and then come here without our full compliment of players, it hurts, but it's a privilege to make it this far."
The Matrix will be trying to make another run at the championship this season, but won't be able to rely on experiences learned from last year.
"We had a lot of roster turnover. We're a bit younger than last year, which is saying something, because we were pretty young last year." Fredericks thinks that his team has lost some power this season, as well as two of his starting pitchers. And while the Matrix may have lost some things from last year, Fredericks believe that the other teams have gained.
"I expect a significant upgrade in play this year judging by the players on these rosters," he said. "If you're not 8, 9, or 10 pitchers deep, you're not going to go far in this tournament."
But the Matrix aren't going to let injuries and roster turnover cloud their minds this week. According to coach Cesare: "We're just going to go out and play, try our best, and let it fall as it may."
AMBASSADORS - While the players do the hard work on the field, the ambassadors are doing the hard work off the field. But for first year ambassadors Breanna Rock and Samantha Martin, it's all worth it.
"I became an ambassador because it's a great experience," said Samanta. "It's going to be exciting."
"It was a lot of work this summer, but once all the tickets are sold you feel a real sense of accomplishment," said Breanna. The ambassadors spent the summer selling tickets around town, and will work during the week selling 50/50 tickets at the games and greeting the players are they arrive in town. The 37 girls selected to represent the tournament will also have the chance to
"I'm looking forward to riding on the Corvettes and dressing up," said Breanna. "We hope Johnstown does good. We'll be cheering them on."
CLEVELAND - Bill Kirchner is leading the Old Brooklyn Hurricanes to their first national tournament this year. "We understand it's a prestigious tournament. We're been told a lot about it and we're looking forward to playing."
"Our team has speed and good pitching. Ron Stout, Mike Kirchner, and Matt Crossland are our top pitchers. For speed, Malcolm Jones, Zack Walker and Mike Kirchner are all fast, but our whole team runs well."
MARYLAND STATE - Calvert Legion, runners-up in the Eddie Brooks League, will represent Maryland State this year. Manager Bobby Gibbons knows his team might be a bit outmatched, but wants his players to enjoy their time in Johnstown.
"We're a young team. Most of our guys just graduated high school," he said. "We're just hoping to come up here and show these players a great tournament and give them a great experience."
Gibbons feels that his team's defense is their strength and that they will do well if they can manufacture runs.
Billy Babin was born and raised in New Orleans and grew up with the AAABA tradition, but Billy was never able to make it to Johnstown as a player.
"Rags (Louis Scheuermann) cut me from the 1975 Johnstown team. But I've always respected him, and he made the right decision: I wasn't very good." Babin didn't miss out on much that year, as New Orleans was eliminated 0-2 including a 16-4 loss to Ann Arbor.
While Babin never made it to Johnstown as a player, last year he led the Dixielanders to the national championship as manager.
"When Joe Scheuerman asked me to coach, I was probably more excited than the kids, because I know what this tournament means. I've been coaching in New Orleans since 1977 and have coached many of the kids who have played in Johnstown."
"This tradition is as big as any tradition in New Orleans," said Babin. His passion for AAABA was evident after capturing the crown last season, as an ecstatic Babin led the celebration for his team. While the win last year is still a sweet memory for Babin, he knows that it has been difficult to New Orleans to defend their championships.
"We've won 13 championships, but not back to back since 1955." Despite that history, Babin is confident in this year's Boosters.
"We have a good nucleus from last year, including Beau Boudreaux and Scott Fabre. We also have six left-handed pitchers and we feel that our pitching depth will give us a chance to repeat."
LIVONIA - Coach's Corner upset the Michigan Rams and will represent Livonia in this year's tournament. The Rams have been a familiar face in Johnstown, playing for Livonia since 2003. But the Coach's Corner club and manager Mike George are not strangers to the Flood City.
"We used to be called Decision Consultants, Inc. The team folded a few years ago, but we got back together this summer," explained George. DCI represented Livonia in 1995 and from 1998-2001, including a 3rd place finish in 1998. This year's team is mostly made up of Madonna University players, but have one former Rams--Tony Hanson--who is returning to Johnstown.
"We're a young team," said George. "We're kind of a rag-tag team." That didn't stop Coach's Corner from posting an impressive 79-18 overall record this season.
"Pitching got us here and we'll go as far as pitching allows," said George.
ALTOONA - Johnston Realty was quickly eliminated from the national tournament last year and will be looking for a stronger showing in 2010 under the direction of manager Mel Curtis. Altoona finished 3rd in their regional, and Curtis felt that his team played well against Miami and Philadelphia.
"We're carrying confidence into the tournament," he said. "We're feeling good and we're ready to play."
BALTIMORE - After six consecutive national championships, Dean Albany stepped down as coach of Youse's Maryland Orioles and handed the reigns to Tim Norris. Unfortunately for Norris, his debut season in 2009 ended in Altoona.
"We came into Altoona banged up, especially to our pitchers. But our pitchers played pretty well, we just didn't hit. We didn't play well."
Baltimore's elimination was a surprise to many, especially considering the history of the team. But Norris is hoping that history will continue to repeat itself.
"After the loss in Altoona, Dean told me that he lost his first year in a regional, too, so hopefully we'll win six in a row now."
The Orioles are this year's champions of the Cal Ripken Sr. League. They won or tied their season series against every team in the league, but the long summer schedule has left the team banged up again. As a result, Landis had to recruit the maximum four pick-up players for one of the few times in Orioles' history. Additionally, only Pat Blair has national tournament exposure. Despite the injuries and lack of experience, Landis and his eam are excited.
"When they show up on the first day of May, we talk to them about Johnstown. It's something we all look forward to."
REGISTRATION - The sixteen AAABA teams are beginning to register at the Holiday Inn downtown. Host Johnstown Delweld is the first team to register and will be followed by Johnstown's Martella's Pharmacy (to be referred to on this site as Flood City). The two Johnstown managers are in slightly different moods heading into the tournament, but both are feeling good about their chances.
"We're loose," said Chris Delsignore, manager of Delweld. "We have experience on our side. Our guys are familiar with the routine of AAABA week."
"We're confident," said Chris Pfield, manager of Martella's Pharmacy. "We feel if we play fundamental baseball, we can play with any team here."
As of noon, Johnstown, Flood City, Altoona, Livonia, New Orleans, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Maryland State have all registered. We'll post photos and more updates later this afternoon.
MEDIA - Here are news articles from other press covering the tournament.
August 8th Three join AAABA Hall of Fame in front of former Pirates. Mike Mastovich, Tribune-Democrat
August 8th DelSignore's group brings plenty of experience. Mike Mastovich, Tribune-Democrat
August 8th AAABA essay contest: Coach's words help boy's AAABA dream come true. Staff, Tribune-Democrat
August 8th Pfiel hopes lineup is the prescription for successful run. Mike Mastovich, Tribune-Democrat
August 8th Seven returness give New Orleans chance to repeat. Ruth Rice, Tribune-Democrat
August 8th Envoys share bond of friendship. Mike Mastovich, Tribune-Democrat
August 8th AAABA Ambassadors. Ruth Rice, Tribune-Democrat
August 8th A Johnstown Tradition: Edition 66. Staff, Tribune-Democrat
August 8th Sweet Memories: Groat, Law reminder of Pirates’ best days. Nate Foreman, The Altoona Mirror
August 7th Delweld's Lehman goes from fill in to top starter. Mike Mastovich, Tribune-Democrat
August 7th Martella's waiting to pick starter. Mike Mastovich, Tribune-Democrat
SITE WORK - We're busy preparing for the national tournament that beings this Monday. Some of the information on the National section has been updated including some information on the 16 qualified teams. The Altoona Regional recaps have been moved off this page and into the Altoona Regional section. An Altoona Regional photo gallery will hopefully be online by Saturday.
NATIONALS - Our coverage will begin Sunday morning as teams begin registering. Sunday evening is the player's banquet and bracket drawings. Times and locations of Monday's games will be posted as soon as possible on Sunday evening. Tentatively, Johnstown Martella's will play at the Point Stadium at 1:00pm and Johnstown Delweld will play at the Point Stadium at 7:30pm on Monday. There will also be an early game at the Point Stadium at 10:00am. Additional afternoon games will be played at Arcurio, Roxbury, Portage, Lilly, and Saint Michael. Upper and Lower brackets assignments have not yet been announced.
First, the photo posted on July 31st with coverage of the Altoona / Elk County game that was captioned "Andy Glass catches a fly ball in center" should have read "Nicholas Pupo catches a fly ball in center". Glass plays for Altoona, Pupo plays for Elk County. Thanks to Danny Knepp for the correction.
Second, Coach's Corner and the Michigan Rams compete in the Michigan Collegiate Baseball League (MCBL) which is operated by the City of Livonia Parks & Recreation Department. The Michigan Premier Collegiate Baseball League (MPCBL) is made up of 6 to 10 MCBL teams and is used to qualify a team for the AABC Stan Musial post season. Thanks to Harvey Weingarden for the correction.
ALTOONA - This just in, the Philadelphia Bandits have completed an amazing day of baseball, winning three elimination games to advance to the national tournament next week. The Bandits opened the day with a 12-0 win over Altoona, and then beat previously undefeated Miami 9-4 and 4-2 to win the regional.
Philadelphia lost their first game to Miami 3-1 in 10 innings on Saturday, but rebounded with an 11-1 mercy rule victory over Elk County on Sunday. The Bandits finish the tournament with a record of 4-1 while Miami finishes second with a record of 2-2.
ALTOONA - Philadelphia opened the day with a 12-0 win over Altoona in the morning, and then defeated Miami 9-4 in the afternoon. As of 5 PM, Philadelphia was leading Miami 2-0 in the 5th inning of the championship game. The winner of that game will advance to the national tournament in Johnstown.
ZANESVILLE - Livonia defeated Youngstown 15-0 at Gant Municipal Stadium and have qualified for the national tournament in Johnstown.
ZANESVILLE - Youngstown eliminated host Zanesville in the morning game, and Livonia knocked off Lansing in the afternoon. In the night cap at Gant Municipal Stadium, Youngstown eliminated Lansing 14-6. Livonia is the only remaining undefeated team and will play Youngstown tomorrow at 11:00am. If Youngstown wins, a final game will be played tomorrow at 2:00pm.
NEW BRUNSWICK - Late from New Jersey, the Matrix defeated Brooklyn 14-9 in the second game on Saturday to win the series. New Brunswick Matrix advance to the national tournament for the second consecutive year and will look to make another run at the championship.
August 1st Johnston takes opener. Jim Lane, Altoona Mirror
August 1st Miami beats Philly in 10th. Jim Lane, Altoona Mirror
August 1st Local AAABA teams bolster rosters. Mike Mastovich, Tribune Democrat
August 1st Juniors drop opener in AAABA regional. Sam Blackburn, Zanesville Times Recorder
BALTIMORE - Youse's Orioles won the Cal Ripken Sr. League regular season with a 29-13 record, but have finished 3rd in the playoffs. After winning their opening game 10-6 over 4th place Herndon, the Orioles lost to Bethesda 11-5 and the Baltimore Redbirds 9-2. Bethesda and the Redbirds will play for the league championship.
BUFFALO - New Era won the AAABA of Buffalo League championship series 2-0 over Meridian Medical with a 8-2 victory on Saturday. New Era advance to Johnstown for their visit appearance in the national tournament. For more information, visit the AAABA of Buffalo website.
NEW BRUNSWICK REGIONAL - New Brunswick won game 1 over Brooklyn 6-5. Winning pitcher Connor Henderson went 6 innings allowing 2 runs and recording 7 strike outs. Losing pitcher Francisco Rodriguez also pitched 6 innings, allowing 6 runs while striking out 8. Chris Grimes was 3-for-4 for New Brunswick with 2 home runs and 4 RBIs. Steve Nappe was 2-for-4 with a double and 2 RBIs. For Brooklyn, Omar Artsen was 2-for-5 with one run scored and 3 stolen bases.
Andrew Sullivan came into the game in the 7th leading 6-2. Brooklyn scored 3 runs on 3 hits in the top of the 8th and had 2 on with 2 outs in the 9th, but Sullivan was able to record the save. Brooklyn relief pitcher Joey Ramos pitched 2 scoreless innings.
Game 2 of the series followed the first game, but there was no report as of the writing of this article.
ZANESVILLE REGIONAL - Livonia defeated Youngstown 7-5 in the opening game with Jeremy Gooding recording the win. Lansing then defeated host Zanesville 9-4 in the evening game. Tomorrow, Youngstown and Zanesville will play at 11:00am in an eliminated game. Livonia and Lansing play at 2:00pm. The winner of the first game and loser of the second game will then play at 7:30pm. All games are at Gant Municipal Stadium in Zanesville.
BUFFALO - New Era took a 1-0 lead in the championship series with a 3-2 win over Meridian Medicine. The series continues today at 6:00pm at Cazenvoia Field. A third game, if necessary, will be played Sunday.
NEWSPAPER ARTICLES - Anticipation is building for the national tournament. Here is what they're saying around the AAABA world:
July 31st Delweld defends crown. Hugh Conrad, Tribune Democrat
July 31st Johnston earned slot in thier year's tourney. Nate Foreman, Altoona Mirror
July 31st Florida entry ready for All-American play. Jim Lane, Altoona Mirror
July 30th Turnout strong during AAABA Playoffs. Mike Mastovich, Tribune Democrat
July 30th Coach's Corner relies on MU talent. Brad Emons, Observer & Eccentric
July 30th Junior Pioneers seek consistency. Sam Blackburn, Zanesville Times Recorder
July 27th Gooding's gem puts Coach's Corner in regional. Staff, Eccentric and Observer
JOHNSTOWN - Every new season brings surprises, but the biggest surprise of the 2010 Johnstown City League came at the end as Delweld swept regular season champion Martella's Pharmacy with an 11-3 victory at Point Stadium on Friday night. With that win, Delweld became the first franchise in Johnstown history to win four consecutive league championships. Delweld will represent Johnstown as the host entry in the 2010 national tournament, while Martella's Pharmacy will represent the secondary Johnstown entry.
Delweld won the first game of the series 10-0 in a mercy rule, and won the second game 2-1. In the third game, the Golden Boys nearly mercy-ruled Martella's once again. After a 5-run third inning, Delweld added 2 runs in the 4th and 2 runs in 6th and had a 10-0 lead heading into the bottom of the 6th. But Martella's continued to fight and scored twice in the bottom of the inning. The Pharmicists started the 8th inning with 2 on and no outs and were looking to finally get the offense going. But after scoring one run, Delweld pitcher Bobby Carbaugh shut down the side, first striking out Mikie Pelekanos, then striking out Steve Bills on three pitches, and finally getting Pat Gully swinging. Carbaugh finished the game with 2 more strike outs in the 9th as Delweld cruised to an 11-3 victory.
"You could tell everybody wanted it. We had a lot of energy and everyone did their job," said winning pitcher Bobby Carbaugh. "Everything felt great when I was pitching. [Catcher Matt] Cornetti called a great game."
"It feels good," said Delweld manager Chris Delsignore. "It never gets old." Delweld has built itself into one of the strongest franchises in Johnstown city history and has the system and personnel in place to continue its dominace for many more years.
"It starts with the players. I work hard to bring in the right players, and they dedicate themselves to each other." Even with talented players, the regular seasons have not always gone smoothly for Delweld, but consistently strong performances in the playoffs have shown the true character of the team. Two years ago, the Golden Boys finished 3rd in the regular season, but won both playoff series to advance to the national tournament. This year, they were undefeated in 6 playoff games.
"We're a playoff team," said Delsignore. "We have a core team that returns each season, and that makes the transition easier. Nobody is a rookie by the time the playoffs roll around."
In the other dugout, Manager Chris Pfiel can take some consolation in knowing that his team will still be entered in the national tournament.
"We learned last year that we can compete with anyone. It's an exciting
experience, no doubt about it. It's a good ball team here." By winning
the regular season, Martella's was guaranteed a spot in the national
tournament, but Pfiel does not believe that this contributed to his
team's poor performance in the championship series.
"We took nothing for granted. Delweld played better. They took advantage of all of our mistakes and they hit well." Pfiel says his team is a bit beat up following a long season and tough playoffs and they will use this upcoming week to rest up and regroup. But it's not only their bodies that have been battered in these playoffs.
"There are some bruised egos. We're not happy," said Pfiel.
Delweld will have the first selection for pick-up players. After their selections, Martella's will also have the opportunity to select up to 4 pick-up players. The 2010 AAABA national tournament will begin on Monday August 9th with host Delweld playing a yet-to-be-determined opponent at the Point Stadium at 7:30pm.
JOHNSTOWN - Despite finishing behind Martella's Pharmacy in the regular season, Delweld won the season series between the two teams. Now in the playoffs, Delweld again holds the edge, as their 2-1 victory over the Pharmacists on Thursday night put Delweld one win away from their fourth consecutive city championship. Delweld has won the city league the past three seasons, matching Hahn Packing (1959-1961), Monte Carlo (1970-1972), and Pepsi-Cola (1989-1991) for most consecutive league titles. No franchise has won the league four years in a row. The third game of the 5-game series is tonight at 7:00pm at the Point Stadium in Johnstown.
NEW BRUNSWICK - At Memorial Stadium this weekend, national runner-up New Brunswick Matrix will host Brooklyn's Youth Service in a 3-game series. Contrary to previous reports, Schenectady will not be attending the New Brunswick regional. There will be a double-header on Saturday beginning at noon. If a third game is required, it will be played on Sunday at noon. Visit the Regionals section of this website for more information.
REGIONALS - Complete schedules for the Altoona and Zanesville regionals have now been posted under the Regionals section of this website. The tournaments begin this Saturday, July 31st. In Altoona, Philadelphia plays newcomer Miami at noon, with host Altoona playing Elk County at 4:00 pm. In Zanesville, Coach's Corner of Livonia plays the Glaciers of Youngstown at 4:00 pm, with host Zanesville playing Lansing at 7:30pm. We have no updates yet on the New Brunswick regional.
ALTOONA - Altoona will again be represented by Johnston Realty, who beat out Ketrow Insurance in the Altoona Greater City League. After winning their regional last season, Altoona dropped out of the national tournament in only 2 games. But, franchise representative John Austin feels optimistic about this year.
"They're another young team. I think they have three or four very good starting pitchers, and in all my years of experience: pitching is the name of the game." First year manager Mel Curtis has posted a 14-10 record in the unlimited City League. He took over leadership of the team after long-time manager Kurt Farabaugh stepped down last year.
This was the first year in nearly a decade that Johnston Realty had competition to be the Altoona representative, but Mr. Austin tells us that they will have even more competition next season. A third AAABA team will be competing in the city league in 2001, and there is the possibility of a fourth team, as well. No information is available on those teams as of yet.
ZANESVILLE - The big news in Zanesville is that Rick Berryman's Michigan Rams will not represent Livonia. In a nail-bitter finish, Coach's Corner passed the Rams in their Michigan Premier Collegiate League standings in the final days of the regular season. As a result, Coach's Corner will attend the Zanesville Regional with hopes of qualifying for their first national tournament.
Another new look for 2010 will be the Youngstown Glaciers. Bob Mingo's team acquired new sponsorship and will drop the Metros moniker that they have worn since 2005.
Lansing will again be represented by Carl's Supermarket and Zanesville will again be represented by the Junior Pioneers. Both teams finished at 0.500 in the 2009 national tournament and will be looking for another good showing in Johnstown.
JOHNSTOWN - The anticipated showdown for the Johnstown City League championship got off to a flying start, but only for only one of the teams concerned. Delweld trounced Martella's Pharmacy 10-0 in a seven inning mercy rule at the Point Stadium. Game 2 in the best-of-5 series is tomorrow at 7 pm, also at the Point Stadium.
NEW YORK - This year's Big Apple representative will be the Long Island Astros-East managed by Jeff Rossoff. The Astros-East posted a 15-9-1 regular season record in the Long Island Federation of Amateur Baseball League's National League. They finished 1 point behind the Long Island Bombers in their division and were 5th overall. This will be their first AAABA national tournament appearance.
NATIONAL - We have learned that the AAABA plans to play 3 games at the Point Stadium this season in order to give more teams a chance to play at the peculiar field. As a result, the Revloc field (being the most northern field) will not be used for AAABA national tournament games this year. More information on fields and other national tournament news will be posted as it is learned.
JOHNSTOWN - Based on recent AAABA seasons, it is no surprise to see Delweld and Martella's Pharmacy back in the championship. Delweld won last year's playoffs and also eliminated Martella's from the national tournament. This year, the two teams meet once again in the finals. Since Johnstown will have two representatives this season, the winner of the series will be the host entry and the loser of the series will be the runner-up entry. The finals begin this Thursday at Point Stadium.
BUFFALO - After dropping the first game of their series, Meridian Medical rebounded with a 9-0 victory on Sunday at a 3-1 victory last night over Pignataro's, winning the semi-final series 2-1. Meridian will play New Era in the championship beginning on Thursday. New Era swept defending champion Ken-Hy Auto by scores of 1-0 and 7-0. For more information, visit the AAABA of Buffalo website.
LIVONIA - The Michigan Rams have been a familiar face in Johnstown the past 6 seasons, but are facing some stiff competition from Coach's Corner in this year's Michigan Premier Collegiate Baseball League. The Rams have concluded their 36-game schedule with a 27-8-1 record and have a 3-point lead over both the Michigan Bulls and Coach's Corner. The Bulls are a 22U team and do not qualify for the AAABA, but Coach's Corner has 3 games in hand (2 points for a win, 1 point for a tie). If Coach's Corner can earn 3 points in their remaining 3 games, they will dethrone the Rams and advance to the Zanesville Regional.
The Rams posted back-to-back 3-2 finishes in 2004 and 2005 and finished last year's national tournament with a 1-2 record (win against Toledo, losses to Johnstown Martella's and New Orleans). For more information, visit the Michigan Rams website or the Michigan Premier Collegiate Baseball League website.
ZANESVILLE - Both AAABA entries in the Central Ohio League tournament in Zanesville were eliminated in their semi-final matches. The 2nd place Junior Pioneers fell to the Zanesville Vipers 4-1, while the Columbus Braves lost to the Senior Pioneers 4-3. Zanesville's Junior Pioneers will host representatives from Lansing, Livonia, and Youngstown this weekend in the Zanesville Regional.
JOHNSTOWN - Martella's Pharmacy and Delweld have each taken a 2-0 lead in their best-of-5 semi-final round playoff series. Regular season champion Martella's defeated Roxberry Creamery by scores of 11-4 and 3-1, while Delweld beat the Berkley Hills Renegades 9-0 and 4-2. Sunday's games have been postponed until Monday due to rain. Roxberry and the Renegades both need wins to keep their seasons alive. Martella's is already guaranteed a berth in the national tournament because they won the regular season championship, but they must win the playoff series to represent Johnstown as the host entry. Delweld can also secure a place in the national tournament by advancing to the finals.
ALTOONA - The Altoona Mirror reports that because of their 11-0 victory over Ketrow Insurance on Tuesday, Johnston Realty will once again represent Altoona in the AAABA. Johnston Realty has represented Altoona since 2002. Their best finished was 4th in 2008. Altoona hosts Miami in the Altoona Regional beginning on July 31st.
BUFFALO - Pignataro Financial Group used a 1-game play-in to qualify for the 2010 AAABA of Buffalo playoffs. With that win, they advanced to face regular season champion Meridian Medical, and won the opening game 4-2. In the other best-of-3 semi final, New Era defeated last year's champion Ken-Hy Auto 1-0. The Saturday games were rained out and were rescheduled for today. For more information, visit the AAABA of Buffalo website.
JOHNSTOWN - Martella's Pharmacy has clinched the regular season championship on the strength of an 8-game winning streak. Second place Delweld and third place Berkley Hills Renegades have also qualified for the playoffs. The final playoff spot is currently held by Roxberry Creamery, who have a 2-game lead over Principle Development with only 3 games remaining.
The city league playoffs begin this Friday, July 23rd at 5:45 PM. The playoff champion will represent Johnstown in the AAABA National Tournament in August. For winning the regular season, Martella's Pharmacy is guaranteed a spot in the national tournament. If the Pharmacists win the playoffs, they will represent the host franchise for Johnstown, while the playoff runner-up will represent the secondary Johnstown franchise. If the Pharmacists do not win the playoffs, they will represent the secondary franchise while the playoff champion represents the host franchise.
Last year, Delweld won the city championship and represented the city in the national tournament. Martella's Pharmacy was also entered into the national tournament when Washington's Arlington Senators failed to show. Martella's was eliminated from the national tournament by Delweld on the strength of Drew Shaulis's 4-1 no-hitter.
ALTOONA - With only two weeks remaining, Johnston Realty holds a 2 1/2-game lead over newcomer Ketrow Insurance. The two AAABA teams will meet at Blair County Ballpark on July 20th at 5:30pm. Proceeds from the game will benefit Kristen Aungst who died in a car crash earlier this year.
BALTIMORE - Youse's Maryland Orioles are leading the Cal Ripken League with a 26-10 record. They have 5 games remaining until the playoffs begin on July 28th. Visit the Cal Ripken Sr League website for more information.
BUFFALO - Meridian Medical have won the regular season championship in Buffalo with an 11-2-1 record. New Era (8-2-4), Ken-Hy Auto (8-4-2) and Royal Printing (5-8-1) have all qualified for the playoffs. The remaining four teams all finished with identical 4-8-2 records. The winner of the playoffs will represent Buffalo in the national tournament.
For more information, visit the AAABA of Buffalo website.
CLEVELAND - The Old Brooklyn Hurricanes will represent Cleveland in the 2010 national tournament. The Hurricanes play in the Great Lakes Baseball League and are coached by Bill Kirchner. Last year, the Hurricanes were eliminated from the Zanesville regional with losses to Toledo (11-1) and Zanesville (7-4).
After a pair of 0-2 finishes in 1994 and 1995, the Cleveland franchise laid dormant until 2006 when the Allegheny Athletics of Pittsburgh qualified for the national tournament. That year, the Athletics went 2-2 with surprising wins over Livonia and Brooklyn. Both loses were to the finalists, Baltimore and Chicago-Metro. The following year, the Athletics were eliminated in 2 games by Washington and Maryland State. In 2008, the JL Thomas team went 1-2, including a 6-5 loss to Johnstown which eliminated the team from the tournament.
NEW ORLEANS - The Delgado Community College Dolphins finished their spring schedule with a record of 36-21. Lucas LeBlanc, the 2009 national tournament MVP, had a 0.420 average including 17 doubles, 7 triples, and 11 home runs plus 67 RBIs in 57 games. Scott Fabre, the 2009 national tournament batting champion, had a 0.341 average with 10 doubles, 4 triples, and 4 home runs plus 46 RBIs in 51 games.
TOLEDO - The Monarchs are 15-15-1. For more information, visit the Monarchs' website at www.lakeeriemonarchs.com
WASHINGTON - It appears that the historic Clark Griffith League has reached its end. The league suspended operations this season with plans to regroup in 2011, but have lost teams to the current economic situation and to the rival Cal Ripken Sr. League. With the Detroit franchise in perpetual limbo, it now appears that another Big Four franchise is gone. Washington has won 10 championships, ranking third behind Baltimore and New Orleans.
Beginning in 1996, the franchise was most-often represented by the Arlington Senators who won 4 championships from 1998-1999, and 2001-2002. The Prince George Gators were champions in 1997, giving Washington 5 titles in 6 years. After a 3rd place finish in 2003, the Senators were replaced by the Bethesda Big Train in 2004. The Big Train was eliminated 0-2 and Washington was not back in the tournament until 2007 and 2008, when the McLean Raiders posted two consecutive runner-up finishes. Last year, the Vienna Senators were poised to return, but cancelled their appearance the day before registration due to a season-long accumulation of injuries.
Without a Washington entry for the 2010 AAABA national tournament, Baltimore and New Orleans are left as the two remaining powerhouses. While the traditional rivalries of the AAABA are beginning to disappear, a new crop of teams have emerged and are threatening to become perennial contenders. Toledo went 3-2 in their first visit to Johnstown, and the New Brunswick Matrix were one win shy of the national championship in 2009. This year, the Florida Bombers of Miami--the self-proclaimed 'Most Successful Franchise of the Decade'--will enter their first regional competition in hopes of advancing to the national tournament and adding to their impressive trophy case.
The loss of Washington will certainly be a big loss for the tournament, and even with new teams entering the association, none have proven themselves capable of challenging Baltimore and New Orleans on a yearly basis like Washington. Hopefully this reorganization will be successful and the Senators or another Capitol City team will return to the AAABA in a future year.
ZANESVILLE - The Junior Pioneers are 12-6 in Ohio Independent Collegiate Baseball League play and 20-14 overall, including a 3-game winning streak against fellow AAABA member Columbus B
Zanesville 6-3. Their loses were to Livonia 14-4 on Monday and eventual champions New Orleans 10-5 on Friday.
ZANESVILLE - The Junior Pioneers are currently 11-8. In this weekend's Y-City Bash tournament hosted by the Zanesville Old Timers, the Junior Pioneers defeated Altoona's Ketrow Insurance 10-8. The Pioneers will face Altoona's Johnston Realty on Sunday in another tournament game. The Junior Pioneers are 8-8 in their last four national tournaments, including 3-2 in 2008.
JOHNSTOWN - Defending champion Delweld has won 11 times since June 19th and is closing in on first-place Martella's Pharmacy. The Pharmacists have led the league since the beginning and had a very comfortable lead, but Delweld has beaten Martella's in each their last four games and has closed to within 2 games of their arch rivals. The Roxberry Creamery's promising season has hit the skids, as the team is winless since June 21st and have fallen behind the Berkley Hills Renegades. Last place Principle Development lost a double-header to Martella's on June 25th by a combined score of 21-2, but are 4-5 since then. More importantly, they have won their past 3 contests against Roxberry Creamery and are now 2 games out of the final playoff spot.
Martella's Pharmacy and Delweld have both clinched a playoff berth, but the final two spots are still wide open because the remaining 3 teams are within 3 games of each other. The playoffs begin on Friday July 23rd and the championship series begins on Wednesday July 28th.
ALTOONA - Johnston Realty is 9-8 after a 7-2 loss to Lilly on Wednesday, while Ketrow Insurance is now 7-10.
BALTIMORE - Youse's Maryland Orioles went into Thursday night on a 3-game losing streak (5-4 to Baltimore Redbirds and 1-0, 3-1 to the Herndon Braves) and half-a-game behind first-place Bethesda Big Train. The Orioles traveled to Shirley Povich Field and broke open a close game with 2 runs in the fifth and 5 runs in the seventh to win 9-2 and regain first place. Visit the Cal Ripken Sr League website for more information.
BUFFALO - After a 7-0 start to the season, Meridian Medical is 1-2 in their past 3 games. Defending champion Ken-Hy Auto are 2-0-1 in their past three and have now tied Meridian for the league lead. Each team has 4 games remaining in their schedule, and will face each other on July 15th. New Era is only 1 point out of 1st and are also 2-0-1 in their last 3. New Era has 4 games remaining, including 2 against Meridian Medical and 1 against Ken-Hy Auto.
Escro Transportation is in 4th place, but 3 games behind New Era. Royal Printing and Mader Construction are tied in 5th with 7 points each. Mader Construction has had one of the most productive offenses in the league this year, scoring 54 runs in 10 games. However, they have allowed a league-leading 59 runs and sit with a 3-6-1 record.
For more information, visit the AAABA of Buffalo website.
TOLEDO - Four Monarchs were selected to the Great Lakes League All Star Game, including 2 from last year's AAABA team. Seth Willougby, infielder and pitcher for Xavier College, played at second base for all 5 of the Monarchs' tournament games. He finished 3-for-17 (0.176) and had a double and an RBI in his team's second loss to New Orleans. This season, Willoughy has a 0.391 batting average leads his team with 7 stolen bases.
Eric Vaughn is a starting pitcher and plays with Owens Community College. He pitched six innings against Zanesville, allowing 3 runs while striking out 5. This season, Vaughn is 4-0 with a 1.05 ERA.
The other Monarchs attending the All Star game will be outfielder Alex Johnson and pitcher Dylan Vogt. For more information, visit the Monarchs' website at www.lakeeriemonarchs.com
REGIONAL QUALIFIERS - The Tribune-Democrat announced the following teams for the three 2010 regionals: Zanesville will host Livonia, Lansing, and Youngstown. Altoona will host Miami (and possibly two more teams). New Brunswick, Schenectady and Brooklyn will play a 3-team regional.
In Zanesville, Livonia's Michigan Rams will be the favorites to win. Youngstown is 1-4 in their past 2 tournaments and Lansing is 2-4. Both teams failed to qualify for the 2007 national tournament. Meanwhile, Livonia has qualified for the national tournament 6 years in a row and are 10-12. Zanesville, as host, is automatically qualified for the national tournament, but will compete in the games in preparation for their trip to Johnstown. The Junior Pioneers are 5-4 in the past 2 tournaments and are looking to continue their recent string of success.
In Altoona, only newcomer Miami has been announced, but a field of four teams is still expected. Last year, Altoona won a very talented regional that included Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Maryland State. This season, Miami's Florida Bombers are looking to make a name for themselves amongst the AAABA ranks as they attempt to qualify for their first trip to Johnstown.
The New York-New Jersey regional will be one to watch following New Brunswick's surprising runner-up performance in 2009. Brooklyn would normally be considered the favorite of the three, but the Matrix from New Brunswick handed Brooklyn's Bonnie Rams both of their losses in 2009, by scores of 10-0 and 6-2. Schenectady was quickly eliminated from the national tournament in 2009, and have only 3 national tournament wins in the past 5 years.
JOHNSTOWN - Martella's Pharmacy continues to lead the Johnstown AAABA League with a 16-3 record. The Pharmacists swept a 2-game double-header against Principle Development on Friday with scores of 11-1 and 10-1. Defending champion Delweld is in 2nd place with a 12-7 record. Roxberry Creamery has shown improvement over last season and sits in 3rd with a record just below 0.500. The Berkley Hills Renegades have the final playoff spot despite starting the season with a 5-game losing streak. Principle Development started the season 2-2, but are on a 10-game losing streak and have dropped to 3-15.
Martella's also leads in several offensive categories. Kyle Bowser (0.509) and Mike LeViseur (0.500) lead the league in batting average, with Sam Watkins (0.442) in third. Watkins leads in both runs (21) and runs-batted-in (18) and also has 1 save. Delweld's Carter Lehman leads the league with 4 wins and 26 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has a 1.08 ERA.
ALTOONA - Johnston Realty is 7-6 in Altoona League play, but will have to fight their way into the AAABA this season. The Ketrow Insurance team is also attempting to qualify for the national tournament. Johnston Realty has been the only AAABA team in the Altoona League for nearly a decade, last doing battle with LS Fiore. Ketrow Insurance is currently 4-8.
BUFFALO - The Nickel City has had a different team represent their franchise in each of the past four tournaments. The last team to repeat as representative was Meridian Medical in 2005 and 2007. Meridian is at the top of the league again this season, tied for first place with New Era. Both teams are 5-0 and will play a 14-game schedule. Last year's champion, Ken-Hy Auto is in third at 4-1. For more information, visit the AAABA of Buffalo website.
BALTIMORE - Youse's Maryland Orioles were shockingly eliminated from the Altoona Regional last year, ending their run of six consecutive national championships. The Orioles are currently leading the Cal Ripken Sr League with a 12-6 record. Former Washington representative Bethesda Big Train are in the second at 9-6. Visit the Cal Ripken Sr League website for more information.
COLUMBUS - The Columbus Braves will represent their city in the 2010 AAABA national tournament. They play their regular season games in the re-named Ohio Independent Collegiate Baseball League.
MIAMI - The Florida Bombers will debut the Miami franchise at the Altoona Regional this year. So far this season, the Bombers are 20-3 including a 13-game winning streak, and looking to add to their long list of national championships. For more, visit their website.
TOLEDO - The Lake Erie Monarchs are 7-5-1 in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League and sit in 4th place. The Monarchs were the inaugural representative for Toledo in the 2009 national yournament. Despite a 12-24 regular season record in 2009, the Monarchs went 3-2 in Johnstown, defeating favored Philadelphia 3-1, Columbus 6-4, and
The Pharmacists qualified for the national tournament last season on a technicality and had to represent the city as the B-team. This year, Chris Pfiel's squad is looking to carry the city's banner as the host franchise. Martella's started the season 4-0, including 2 wins over archrival Delweld. On the other end of the table, the Berkley Hills Renegades remain winless in 5 games and are already beginning to fall from playoff contention.
The still-new Roxberry Creamery franchise is having a much improved year, sporting a 3-2 record despite scoring only 8 runs. By comparison, league-leading Martella's has scored 35 times in 6 games. Principle Development finished slightly above .500 last season, and are currently slightly below .500 after dropping both games of a double-header on Monday. Principle is trying to return to the national tournament for the first time since 2006.
Another summer of AAABA baseball begins Tuesday in Johnstown with three games to be played at Point Stadium and Roxbury Park. The headlining match of the evening is at Roxbury at 5:45 PM, where defending champions Delweld battle against arch rival Martella's Pharmacy in a rematch of last season's championship series. Delweld also eliminated Martella's from the 2009 AAABA National Tournament with a no-hitter from Drew Shaulis.
With only five teams in the league this season, Principle Development will play a double-header at the Point Stadium. The first game, at 5:45 PM, will be against the Berkley Hills Renegades. The second game, at 8:00 PM, is against Roxberry Creamery.
The AAABA Board of Directors released a recap of their winter meeting which included the awarding of a new franchise and announcement of a second Johnstown entry. The Tribune-Democrat reported on the news here.
The Florida Bombers will represent the new Miami, Florida franchise in the 2010 Altoona Regional. This is the second franchise added in two years, as Toledo, Ohio joined the AAABA in 2009, represented by the Ohio Monarchs. The Bombers have been a very successful franchise, winning 9 national WWBA championships and 35 over championships with a 424-92-5 record since 2000.
The other big news is that Johnstown will be given two representatives in the national tournament. Last year, Johnstown's runner-up Martella's Pharmacy substituted for the Washington entry, which failed to show. It was only the second time that Johnstown had two entries in the tournament. Starting in 2010, both the regular-season and playoff-champions will receive a berth in the national tournament. The Johnstown City League begins on June 1st with a rematch of the top two teams from last year, Delweld and Martella's Pharmacy.