The big boppers are set to do battle in a final best-of-7 series to crown the 2016 YBL Champions.
In one corner, wearing green, grey and yellow, are this year’s number one seed and owner of the YBL record setting offense Al Thomas Baseball Club Athletics. In the first round they took care of the Black Sox in 3 straight, while the Braves slogged their way through a grueling set with the Sabers. Having a few extra days to rest up, it was assumed that AT would be ready to take it to the Braves who wouldn’t even get a single day off before stepping in the cage with the green machine. But it was the Braves who came out swinging, and jumped out to a 2-0 series lead powered by Alex Joyce and his 6-for-8, 6 run / 6 rbi performance. The Athletics pitching settled down and held Los Bravos in check enough to allow the offense to do what it does best, which is score runs. The A’s outscored the Braves 20-8 over the last 3 games, led by James Katsiroubas (7-for-10 with 5 runs) and 2016 YBL rbi king Matt Rodriguez (7 rbi).
In the other corner, wearing the traditional red and white (with camo), the Somerville Alibrandis are the 6-time defending league champions, and winners of 15 of the last 17 YBL titles. The Red Army took a shot on the chin in game 1 of the first round from East Boston, but 3 games and 35 runs later they had their feet up and were patiently waiting for Revere to outlast the Saints in 5 games. Somerville would go on to sweep the Rockies in 3 straight, but not without any theatrics as they had to come from behind in each win after facing deficits of 1-0, 8-3 and 5-1. In game 1, it was Juan Parra’s 6th inning “inside-the-fenceless-park” grand slam that helped the rejuvenated Chris Foundas get his 16th career postseason win. In game 2, Jimmy Ricoy and Bobby Barrett provided the offense as each went yard with 3 rbi. And game 3 was a team effort with Anthony Del Prete getting the win, and 6 different players scoring runs in the 7-5 clincher.
Game 1 – Sean Sullivan (1-0, 5 IP, 2.80 ERA, 2 K’s) vs. Kasey Kirby (0-1, 4 IP, 10.50 ERA, 4 K’s)
Game 2 – Chris Costa (0-1, 6.1 IP, 8.84 ERA, 9 K’s) vs. Dan Gaughan (1-0, 10 IP, 0.70 ERA, 10 K’s)
Game 3 – Chris Foundas (1-0, 8 IP, 0.88 ERA, 5 K’s) vs. Pat Bresnehan (1-0, 0 IP, 1.08 ERA, 13 K’s)
Game 4 – Jon Morse (2-0, 13 IP, 3.23 ERA, 15 K’s) vs. Bobby Freeman (2-0, 0 IP, 4.90 ERA, 2 K’s)
** matchups subject to change
Players to Watch
Both squads are filthy with power up and down the lineups.
With all due respect to Lambert, Trull, Kostas and Rodriguez, the juggernaut that is the Athletics offense is led by 2015 league MVP James Katsiroubas and potential 2016 league MVP Freddi Carrera. A 1-2 punch at the top of the order, the “Ambiguously Grey Duo” sets the tone by looking to rattle opposing pitchers straight out of the gates.
In the Red dugout, look for Barrett, Parra, Lightbody, Littman, Ricoy and Brennan to fill the stat sheets. But Somerville has their own tag-team at the top of the lineup in Mike Maguire and Teddy Dziuba. Sure they share Lunchables, but they know how to win, and frankly have grown quite accustomed to it over the past 6 years.
Keys to the Series
These teams met 3 times in the regular season, with the top-seeded Athletics taking 2 out of the 3 games. This series will be decided by Alibrandi pitching vs. Alhletics hitting. With tenured vets Morse, Foundas, Sullivan, Del Prete and Brian Tanguy, plus young bucks Costa and Lamarre Rey, Somerville has the decided edge on the pitching front. They will have their work cut out for them as the Athletics have averaged over 8.5 runs per game in the regular season, and over 7 per in the playoffs. Carrera, Katsiroubas, Lambert, Trull, Rodriguez, DeGiacomo, Kostas…..a lineup that has no quit and gives the A’s the edge on offense.
Will the ATBC bullpen keep Somerville from scoring late runs in bunches? Will the Somerville rotation turn back the clock and become shutdown pitchers again? Will Coach Kostas’ wife give birth before, during or after the series? Will you dare take the under in any individual game? Will there be any walk-offs? The next week and a half promises to be the most exciting that the Yawkey League has seen in a long time. Everybody has a game plan until he gets hit in the mouth, so put your mouth guard in and enjoy the ride. See you at the field!!!
…this series goes 7.