YBL 2015 Championship Series Preview

YBL championships

 

#1 East Boston Knights (31-6) vs. #2 Somerville Alibrandis (27-9-1)

Schedule (with potential starters for first games)

Game#1:  8/19 Allison (1-0, 0.00) vs. Rey (2-0, 2.15) /8pm @ EB Stadium

Game#2: 8/20 Mendez (1-1, 1.58) vs. Foundas (2-0, 2.15) /8pm @ EB Stadium

Game#3: 8/21 7:30 @ St. Peter’s

Game#4: 8/24 7:30 @ St. Peter’s

Season Recap

For the 3rd consecutive year, the Yawkey Baseball League Championship will be a showdown between the top 2 playoff seeds, but for the first time since 2011, the #1 seed isn’t wearing Red…

After bowing out to the Big Red Machine in a 3-game sweep in last year’s Semi-Final round (a combined score of 8-2), Eric Bellavia’s East Boston Knights fortified an already potent, balanced squad with some pro-caliber arms in an effort to make another deep run in 2015.  Behind the league’s top-ranked defense (.970 fielding percentage), EBK steamrolled through the YBL circuit to the tune of a league-best 25-5 record.

Leading the way was MVP candidate Marty Dunlap who took home the YBL batting title in 2015 with a .481 clip (and hitting at a modest .500 thus far in the postseason), while providing a rock solid foundation behind the plate for the league’s most menacing staff.  A resurgent “Mikey O” Oliveira turned in a tremendous campaign batting .419 with 36 hits, while playing gold-glove caliber defense in the EBK infield.  Kenny Polanco provided some punch from the hot corner with a team-best 25 rbi, often driving in left-side companion Jose Paulino, whose 19 runs and 18 sb paced the club.

On the mound, the EBK starters pitched deep into ballgames, striking out a league-high 262 batters, bridging the gap to sidearm specialist Jon Shepard, who has been an elite closer in this league since 2010.  The trio of Allison/Carlson/Ockner went a combined 15-2 during the regular season, striking out well over a batter per inning.  They are bolstered in the playoffs by former pro Vic Mendez, who despite pitching in only 4 games and 9 innings during the regular season, offers a blazing fastball/slider combo, giving Eastie the depth needed to win a 7-game series.

Standing in the way of East Boston’s first YBL title is perennial powerhouse Somerville Alibrandis, who entered 2015 as the 5-time reigning league champion.  Having dispatched Al Thomas in last year’s championship finals, Somerville earned its 15th title in the 25 year history of the franchise, delivering its core of grizzled vets that elusive “thumb ring” they were so desperately in need of.

It would be a season of change for Somerville though, first with the loss of league legend Marc Desroches to retirement/fatherhood, then with the news that staff ace Chris McKenzie would not be back.  All concerns about the pitching rotation were wiped away however, upon the news that Lamarre Rey would be coming back from his tour in pro ball to anchor the Big Red staff. The return of the Big Kahuna Burger was pivotal in the Alibrandis’ closing out the season with a 16-4-1 record.

Lineup inconsistency and some uncharacteristically subpar seasons from a handful of Alibrandi vets saw them scuffle out of the gate, staring at a #5 playoff seed as late as mid-July.  However, after adding some key pieces to the puzzle in rookies Charlie McConnell and Juan Parra, manager Bernie Driscoll would right the ship and get Somerville back into the postseason as the league’s #2 seed.

The rookie McConnell would pace the Alibrandi offense with a .358 average and a team-best 17 steals.  Fellow newcomer Billy Karalis provided the punch with 3 HR’s, 10 XBH’s, and .514 slugging percentage.  Bobby Barrett, who led the Boston Park League in RBI’s for much of the year despite playing only part-time, chipped in with a team-best 22 RBI’s for the Alibrandis as well.

It was business as usual for the Alibrandi staff, with All-Stars Chris Foundas and Jon Morse combining for a 12-1 record, and Lamarre Rey jumping back into the mix with 55 K’s in 30 IP.  Sean “Big Red” Sullivan returns to the playoffs sporting what is now the all-time winningest record in postseason history without a loss (11-0).  Brian Tanguy brings his 2.88 era and 5 saves into August as the team’s most reliable bullpen arm to hopefully slam the door shut on championship #16.

Playoff Preview

After a game 1 scare in the first round that put EBK in a 0-1 hole at the hands of the South End Astros, the Knights rifled off 6 wins in a row to punch a ticket to their first YBL Championship Finals. They are peaking at the right time, and opposing hitters have been unable to catch their breath at the onslaught of right-handed power arms. 73 K’s in 49 playoff innings against 2 of the better hitting squads in the league…that is not an accident.

At the same time, Somerville seems to have hit their stride with convincing series victories over the South Boston Saints and Stoneham Sabres.  If any team can counteract the bevy of talent that is the Knights staff, it may be the Alibrandis who enter the finals with the most runs scored (48) and most extra base hits (20 w/ 4 HR’s) in the playoffs.

Somerville LF Billy Karalis enters the series with 16 RBI in 7 games, just 3 shy of the YBL Postseason record set by Marc Hordon in 2007 (19 RBI in 12 games).  After mediocre showings in the regular season, David Lightbody and Ted Dziuba have come alive in the postseason, combining to reach base 31 times in 7 games with 20 hits, 13 RBI and 16 runs scored.

Injuries might play a huge factor for both squads entering play Wednesday night.  Perennial silver sluggers Mike Maguire and Wilson Mercado both went down with leg injuries late in the semi-final round, and their ability to bounce back from injury will have a direct effect on the offensive outputs of both squads.

Any good manager will tell you that pitching wins championships and each of these teams can bring it. But with the offensive powers up and down each lineup, the eventual outcome will be determined by who can keep some stout lineups at bay and avoid the crooked numbers.  This has all the makings of a fantastic championship series…

* Who do you think will take home the McKay Trophy?!?

* Will Karalis keep making it rain ribbies?

* Will Mendez throw more innings in the series than he did all regular season?

* Will Somerville show up to Trum for game 1 out of habit?

* Will Stu be holding court with the AlibrandiNation ladies?

* Has EBK already used up their 2015 Gatorade bath?

Predictions welcomed in the comments section

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Sign Up Now for 2015 YBL Golf Tournament

This year’s annual Dan Tarpey Memorial Golf Tournament will be held on Friday, July 31 at William J. Devine Golf Course in Dorchester. To register, please visit http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07easki23r0618afdf&llr=is57q6eab

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2015 YBL team selected for EMass tournament

The boys from the Yawkey League will attempt to take back the EMass Tourney crown this upcoming Sunday, July 12, 2015 at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton, MA, home of the Brockton Rox (1 Feinberg Way, Brockton, MA 02301).

The YBL will take the field in the first game at 1:30pm against the Cranberry League All Stars, a rematch of the 2014 championship game. The winner will play in the Championship game at 7:00pm (against the winner of second game, played at 4:30pm between the Boston Park League and the Intercity Baseball League). Eric Bellavia will ‘Man the Woodwind’ for the YBL team again this year, and he has chosen the following support staff to help put the YBL back on top:

John Griffith (Brighton Black Sox) #26
Branden Eaton (East Boston Knights) #7
Colucci & Son (Stoneham Sabers) – Angelo #13 and Stefano #36

Between the chalk, the YBL will field the following starters for game 1, as determined by league manager voting:

C – Marty Dunlap (East Boston Knights) #13
1B – Billy Uberti (Brighton Braves) #6
2B – Dylan Wicks (South Boston Saints) #5
SS – Stefan Botarelli (Stoneham Sabers) #5
3B – James Katsiroubas (Al Thomas Athletics) #16
OF – Julian Alvarez (South End Atros) #25
OF – Freddi Carrera (Al Thomas Athletics) #4
OF – Matt Lavanchy (McKay Club Beacons) #21
DH – Bobby Foote (Reevere Rockies) #32
SP – TBD

Reserves, chosen by the YBL All-Star Committee:

C – Kyle Rufo (Revere Rockies) #13
C – Geoffrey Lopes (Malden Maddogs) #5
1B – Kent Graham (South Boston Saints) #18
2B – Mike Oliveira (East Boston Knights) #11
1B/3B – Jeff Cady (Savin Hill Dodgers) #23
3B – Kenny Polanco (East Boston Knights) #24
OF – Steve Lambert (Al Thomas Athletics) #24
OF – Lionel Danielson (McKay Club Beacons) #6
OF/C – Anthony Perry (Somerville Alibrandis) #10
OF/P – Alex Wong (Revere Rockies) #24
OF – Chris Santosuosso (Revere Rockies) #77
P – Jeff Allison (East Boston Knights) #45
P – John Tangherlini (East Boston Knights) #17
P – Mike Baryski (McKay Club Beacons) #7
P – Greg Dubela (Stoneham Sabers) #25
P – Jeff Croteau (Malden Maddogs) #10
P – Brian Tanguy (Somerville Alibrandis) #21
P – JT Ross (Brighton Black Sox) #22
P – Vlady Camacho (South End Astros) #12
P – David Montiverdi (Stoneham Sabers) #41
P – Brady Furdon (McKay Club Beacons) #14

And rounding out the roster are the manager’s selections:

P – Max Ockner (East Boston Knights) #18
SS – Jose Paulino (East Boston Knights) #3
P – Chris Dion (Stoneham Sabers) #31
1B/DH – Nate Laliberte (Revere Rockies) #3

A great ballpark, hopefully a beautiful day, and almost 10 hours of quality baseball. Concessions will be open, so come down and support the team!!

ALL PLAYERS:
Please report to Campanelli Stadium for 12:00 (please, no later than 12:30). Go to the front entrance where there should be ticket-takers, and they will point players in the appropriate direction). As there are no changing facilities made available for this event, players have been asked to be close to fully-dressed in playing gear upon arrival (throw on spikes and jerseys when there, but please have pants on already).

**This is the roster as of 7.9.15 at 7:50am. Any changes to the roster will be updated on this page.**

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PLAY BALL!

OPENING NIGHT IS HERE!

The 2015 YBL schedule kicks off with two games tonight:

McKay Club Beacons @ Savin Hill Dodgers, 8:00, McConnell
Waltham Yankees @ Somerville Alibrandis, 8:00, Trum

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Sign Up for “Biking for Baseball”

Register now for “Biking for Baseball.” This event will help us raise capital for essential operating costs of the YBL. It will take place on June 20. See the link below for more details.

https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07eau2xwbxb6c30040&oseq=&c=&ch=

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ATBC Athletics 2015 Season Preview

New_ATBC_Logo

Al Thomas Baseball Club Athletics

2014 record: 22-10

Carl Yastrzemski Division Champs

YBL Championship runners up

2014 Season Review:

ATBC came into 2014 hungry after a disappointing 2013 campaign that ended with being knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. The 2014 season brought new challenges as the Al Thomas squad transitioned into their new organization structure, promoting Joe O’Hara to President/GM and John Kostas to Manager. The boys banded together and responded by winning the division and making their first finals appearance since 2004. Though this deep trip into the playoffs was a good first step, the boys are getting that old familiar feeling as we kick off the 2015 campaign.

At the dish, 2014 was punctuated with a formidable offense that produced from top to bottom. Leading the charge was Carrera (.474, 50 hits), Katsiroubas (.389, 35 hits), and Lambert (.305, 32 hits). They continued their torrid regular seasons into the playoffs, coming up with many clutch hits and home runs, including the often-overlooked grand slam by Katzy in game 5 of the Division championship series against Revere. Elsewhere in the lineup, the addition of the “Three-headed-Matt” (Jacobs, Rodriguez, Levasseur) proved to be one of the catalysts that had eluded the club for so long, and it paid dividends in spades as the three of them bolstered the lineup (.303, .292, .280, respectively).

With the pill in 2014, Willie Archibald led the pitching staff with a 7-1 record, posting 57.1 innings pitched and a 1.59 era. Willie pitched in many roles throughout the summer and led by example to the younger guys on what it takes to be a go-to pitcher. He is a leader through his work ethic and every bit of that showed as he brought home the Cy Young award. Not many YBLers are running poles after their appearance like Willie, and it seems to rub off on the rest of the Athletics. Notable contributions from the bump were made by rookies Bobby Freeman, Trevor Derochea and Mike Musto, and veterans Dan Gaughan and Bill Clang. Archibald and Freeman also tossed no-hitters during the 2014 campaign.

As a special aside, the ATBC is thankful for the 2014 addition of Milton native, Matt Levasseur, and look forward to great things from this young player. The Iron Man shortstop played in every inning of Al Thomas’ 40+ game summer. While at it, chipping in solid defense and some much needed energy out of the nine spot.

Key Losses:

Chris McDonough (1B), Matt Jacobs (CF), Kevin White (C)

Key Additions:

Mike Hicks (2B), Ryan McGeown (c), Wes Kroniger (P), Duncan Finigan (P), Dane Dudman (P)

Season Outlook:

As we look forward to 2015, Al Thomas has its sights set on unseating the perennial championship incumbents and finishing what they started last year in the YBL Championship series. Obviously this will be a tough row to hoe, as the Yawkey League has more and more parity every year, but the Athletics remain resolute in their goal. Al Thomas is returning 6 field starters and the bulk of its pitching staff. As always the ATBC will put together another formidable lineup at the plate, one that will be ready to support the young arms that we have added to the staff. There is still plenty of work to do before game 1, but the boys are anxious to work hard and win. And as always, the team is eternally grateful for the support and friendship of the man at the top of the organization, Mr. Al Thomas!

 

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