Category Archives: Playoff Previews

Playoff Preview: (3) Revere Rockies vs. (6) South Boston Saints

Season Review

The 2013 Johnny Pesky Division Champion Revere Rockies are looking to take home their franchise’s first Yawkey Baseball League title after falling just short last season, losing to the Somerville Alibrandi ballclub in last year’s YBL Championship.  After a slow start, AJ Bucciarelli’s crew rifled off an incredible 17 consecutive wins, placing them firmly in the hunt for the league’s top seed (24-8 overall).  Settling into the #3 spot despite a clutch 2-game weekend series sweep of the top-ranked Stoneham Sabers, these perennial playoff contenders (10 consecutive trips to the postseason) are rested and focused for a deep playoff run.

The Rockies will face off against the “Saints of South Boston” (Cue the Boondock Saints intro music) in this year’s first round, who enter playoff play with a 19-11-1 overall record, good enough for the #6 seed.  Playoff participants in 6 of the last 7 seasons, Jon Tenney’s Saints opened up the season with victories against all 3 top seeds – Al Thomas, Revere, & Somerville – and look to continue their winning ways on the backs of some impressive veteran bats.

If the regular season matchups are any indication, this series could be hotly contested with some very close ballgames.  The season series is tied at one win a piece, with each team walking off with a one-run victory in the final at-bat.


Probable Matchups

Game 1 –  Steve Hueston (3-1, 35.1 IP, 1.58 ERA, 35 K’s) vs.  John Young (3-1, 33.2 IP, 0.83 ERA, 31 K’s)

Game 2 –  Luke Geoghegan (3-4, 40.1 IP, 5.55 ERA, 41 K’s) vs.   Chris Sandini (3-2, 32 IP, 1.97 ERA, 31 K’s)

Game 3 –  Jon Tenney (3-0, 12.2 IP, 0.55 ERA, 17 K’s) vs.  Adam Del Rio (3-2, 32.2 IP, 3.21 ERA, 27 K’s)


Players to Watch

The offseason additions of Tommy Englehardt (.507, 7 HR, 30 RBI) and Bobby Foote (.368, 4 HR, 32 RBI) added some thump to an already potent Revere Rockies lineup, anchored by de facto captain Chris Santosuosso (.323, 28 Runs, 17 RBI).   The loss of reigning league MVP Luis Rodriguez to injury hasn’t stopped the Rockies from pounding out nearly 6 runs per game, with all the usual suspects chipping in throughout the 2014 campaign.

This year’s squad may be the franchise’s best yet thanks to a frighteningly deep pitching staff to complement their dynamic offense.  While veteran arms “Donkey” Del Rio, Sandini, and Rich “Woody” Wlodarczyk (4-0, 2.63 ERA) handled the bulk of last season’s playoff workload, it could be the emergence of Young as the staff ace (League-Leading 0.83 ERA in 33.2 IP) which gets the squad over the hump.  Veteran closer Ian Titcomb (4 saves, 1.14 ERA) turned in another strong performance in 2014, and his ability to shorten games will be critical in keeping the Revere arms fresh for a condensed playoff schedule.

South Boston will have to find a way to overcome the loss of their top 2 starting pitchers – Dylan Joyce & Rob Cahill – if they want to advance out of the first round.  If there is an offense in the league that can do it, it just might be South Boston’s.  Kent Graham remains one of the league’s top right-handed bats, and the Saints will need more of his team-leading 4 home runs if they want to take the series.  New faces David Lightbody (.373, 8 2B’s, 16 BB’s) and former NCAA National Gold Glove recipient Trevor Boyce (24 runs, 16 SB’s) have been key contributors throughout the campaign, and catcher Jim McLaughlin continues to be a run-producer in the middle of the lineup, chipping in a team-best 19 RBI’s.

The series might hinge on Hueston’s bionic arm (106 innings in 2014 for 4 different teams) and his ability to snag a pair of wins in Round 1.  With victories against playoff participants Somerville and Savin Hill, he has proven he can handle top teams with ease.  Tenney’s intensity and mound presence cannot be counted out.  He has shown over the years that he thrives in the big game atmosphere.



Perhaps the most clutch bat on the squad, Kyle Rufo has asserted himself as field general behind the plate for Revere.  His steady presence has softened the blow of losing league legend Tony Iafolla to adulthood.

MSBL All-Stars Lightbody and Ryan Raddabaugh may not be household names to the newcomers in this league, but they have been terrorizing the amateur baseball scene throughout New England for decades.  Playoff baseball is all about poise in pressure situations, and these 2 have been there before, many times over.


Series Prediction

In the end, winning in August is all about pitching.  Revere has it.  South Boston does not.  I wouldn’t bet my own money against Lights and Graham, but Revere has the bats and pitching staff to go all the way this season.

Rockies advance, 3 games to 1.


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Playoff Preview: (1) Somerville Alibrandis vs. (8) Brighton Black Sox

Season Review

Masquerading as a different team than the buzzsaw that won 40 games over the course of 2013 (regular season plus playoffs), this year’s Alibrandis took longer than usual to get in sync.  Two-thirds of the way through the season, Somerville had posted a respectable 14-7-1 record yet found themselves amongst a group of teams vying to break away from the pack.  In early July, Manager Bernie Driscoll must have administered a healthy dosage of wedgies and purple nerples, because the Red Army has gotten back to business by winning their last 10 games to lock up the top seed in the YBL.

On the other side of the chalk, and clinching the 8th playoff spot with only a couple games left in the season, Manager John Griffith’s Black Sox fought through a grindstone year by doing what a playoff team is supposed to do…..beat the teams they should beat.  Griff kept his squad in the mix all the way despite a constantly changing lineup, and was rewarded in the form of a series with the most dominating franchise in recent YBL history.

Somerville took all 3 matchups between the teams in 2014. But if the Black Sox can build off the most recent 2-1 tilt, this series will be more interesting than most may anticipate.

Probable Matchups

Game 1 – Chris McKenzie (3-1, 30.1 IP, 1.38 ERA, 42 Ks) vs. JT Ross (3-5, 51.0 IP, 3.71 ERA, 65 Ks)

Game 2 – Chris Foundas (7-2, 58.1 IP, 0.96 ERA, 66 Ks) vs. Matt Nicholson (5-5, 64.0 IP, 3.72 ERA, 41 Ks)

Game 3 – Jon Morse (8-0, 48.1 IP, 1.16 ERA, 54 Ks) vs. Joe Shebertes (3-3, 31.0 IP, 1.13 ERA, 58 Ks

Players to Watch

The Black Sox offense boasts some quality bats in Adam Sudbeck (.311avg and 15rbi) and Bill ‘throwing it back to ’09’ Reichmann (.351avg with 34hits). But it can be argued that the Black Sox’ offensive tempo rises and falls with Kurt Beulke.  In his rookie campaign, Beulke has handled YBL pitching to the tune of a .363avg, terrorized defenses with swift base running (14sb), and turned center field into a place where hits go to suffer a supple, leathery death.  On the bump, the Sox will trot out a pair of veteran YBL workhorses in Ross and Nicholson, who have compiled 8 wins and 106 strikeouts between them.  Rounding out the playoff rotation is rookie Joe “Raspberry” Shebertes, who has sliced his way through hitters while amassing 58 strikeouts in 31 innings to go along with a sparkling 1.13era.

As for the Alibrandis, they always come at you with a lineup that never really gives you a chance to chew some seeds.  Typically at the top of the lineup, Mike “Mags” Maguire and Thaddeus “don’t call me Thaddeus” Dziuba are both having MVP-caliber seasons.  The freshly assimilated Kevin Salines shares the YBL lead in runs scored (31, tied w/Dziuba), and there is no shortage of production throughout the line with Logan Gillis, Stan DeMartinis, and the never-aging Doc DesRoches.  On the mound, count on an heaping helping of Morse, Foundas and McKenzie who will gladly hand the pill to The Tanguy for an inning every night.


Sean Sullivan – if the series goes to a game 4, the Alibrandis will likely turn to Ol’ Yukon Cornelius who has seen limited work due to injuries in 2014. He’s been a studly ginger for Somerville since 2009, does he still have the playoff goods?

Will Cousins – the Black Sox will need contributions up and down their lineup, and this rookie infielder can be the guy who keeps the lineup moving. Can regular season success turn into playoff success?

X-Factor – The Somerville Basketball twins always lead the Red Army fan base and can get into the heads of anyone that dare step onto the sacred Trum battlefield.

Series Prediction

While it may be easy to predict a blowout, you can’t go to sleep on these Black Sox.  Smart money is on the Red Army, but don’t be surprised if the Sox paint it Black and make a series out of it. Quality pitching and solid defense is the recipe for taking down the consensus YBL Championship favorites. If they can play clean baseball and refrain from giving Somerville too many free passes, they have the pitching to make this a good series.

Somerville in 4

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Playoff Preview: (2) Al Thomas Athletics vs. (7) Savin Hill Dodgers

Season Review

Finishing the regular season with an impressive 22-10 record, John Kostas’s Al Thomas Athletics are divisional champions for the 3rd year in a row, securing the #2 seed in the 2014 Yawkey Baseball League Playoffs as Carl Yastrzemski Division champions.   Sporting a potent, balanced lineup from 1 through 9, the A’s managed to bang out a league-best 207 runs while reaching base at a remarkable .430 clip.  Producing more than 6 runs per game, the offense provided more than enough punch for the veteran A’s pitching staff to snap off its 3rd consecutive 20-win season.  After a disappointing playoff run in 2013 which saw the A’s fail to advance out of the first round – thanks in no small part to a pair of gutsy pitching performances by former big leaguer Mike Smith and the upstart Brighton Braves – these stallions of the South Shore will look to make a deep run in 2014 and take home another championship for their historic and illustrious franchise.

Standing in their way in Round 1, and reaching the postseason in the first year of their existence as a hybrid franchise, is the Savin Hill Dodgers.  Dave Bonnell and Matt Grimes joined their respective squads (The Savin Hill Hornets and the Boston Dodgers) at the outset of this season and quickly became a force to be reckoned with in the Yawkey Baseball league, leading the Yastrzemski division for much of the 2014 campaign.  While runs were at times hard to come by for the Dodgers, Savin Hill has proven that it can handle the pressure of tight ball games, with 10 wins by a margin of 2 or fewer runs.  Buoyed by a trio of arms that rivals any team in the league, Savin Hill enters the YBL Playoff scene as a dangerous squad looking to shake up the YBL hierarchy, of which Al Thomas is very much a part.

Al Thomas won the season series 2 games to 1, but if the last matchup between these two teams is any indication (4-3 walkoff win on 7/20 @ Kelly Field), then this series has all the making of a YBL classic.


Probable Matchups

Game 1 – Brendan Huber (10-2, 67 IP, 1.78 ERA, 48 K’s) vs.  Mike Demille (5-2, 32.2 IP, 3.21 ERA, 21 K’s)

Game 2 – Eddie Samp (4-4, 48 IP, 2.48 ERA, 37 K’s) vs.  Bill Clang (5-4, 44.1 IP, 2.21 ERA, 33 K’s)

Game 3 – Kyle Breidenstine (2-4, 50.2 IP, 2.49 ERA, 32 K’s) vs.  Willie Archibald (7-1, 57.1 IP, 1.59 ERA, 63 K’s)


Players to Watch

Outfielder Freddi Carrera of the Al Thomas Athletics turned in an MVP-caliber season, becoming only the 3rd player since the inception of 400Hitter to slug 50 hits in a single season.  Finishing the year at .472 with a team-best 26 runs and 25 RBI’s, Freddi sets the table for the rest of the “ATBC” lineup and is one of the toughest hitters to strike out in the entire league (Only 8 K’s in 116 plate appearances).  The former face of the Savin Hill Hornets franchise, there will be no love lost when Freddi steps into the box against the newly formed Dodgers organization.

Driving Freddi in are YBL stalwarts Steve Lambert and James Katsiroubas who combined for 25 extra base hits and 46 RBI’s. Newcomer Matt Lavasseur showed a penchant for walks, drawing 24 free passes and ranking amongst the league’s leaders in runs scored with 25.  The addition of catcher Matt Rodriguez brought further balance to the AT lineup, driving in 22 runs and playing superb defense behind the dish.

While Archibald was undoubtedly the staff ace in 2014 – with his 7 wins and 63 K’s ranking him among the league’s best – they will need to draw on their veteran arms of Clang, Demille, and Dan Gaughan if they want to advance.  Especially if they plan on trading pitches with the likes of Huber, Samp and Breidenstine.

Savin Hill relied on their pitching and defense to get the lion’s share of their wins this season, but several key contributors will look to catch fire as the postseason looms.  Perennial All-Star Nate Hodor had another solid campaign, chipping in a team-best 21 RBI and 7 XBH.  Jay Shatto and Nick Tapper led the team in hitting, batting .352 and .368 respectively, and those 3 have proven in year’s past that they can provide all the offense the team needs to win.

A few runs may be all that the Dodgers need if the pride of Canada, Huber, takes the mound for Savin Hill.  The Canuck workhorse led all YBL pitchers in innings pitched (67) and wins (10), tying Evan Tardugno as the only pitcher in the .400 hitter era with double-digit victories.  Huber didn’t amass those wins against cupcakes either, boasting clutch W’s against playoff teams such as Somerville, East Boston, Stoneham and South Boston.  If Samp or Breidenstine can toss a gem in games 2 or 3, Al Thomas may be staring down the barrel of another 1st round upset thanks to a starter that can bounce back on short rest in the 5-game set.



Rathapoom Asdornvuttikrai, aside from having the greatest name in baseball history, has had some clutch knocks throughout the 2014 campaign.  Look for him to come up in a big spot in round 1.

Tom Trull can still run the bases like a madman.  If ATBC needs a run, expect them to steal to get it.


Series Prediction

As good as the Savin Hill arms have been, the Al Thomas offense is simply on another level. Katsiroubas drove in the winning runs in both of the Al Thomas victories over Savin Hill this season, and he was not in the lineup for the lone Dodgers victory. If Savin Hill can find a way to stop the bat of Jimmy Kats, they might have a shot. However, considering the rest of the league hasn’t found a way to do so in three years, it’s not looking too good for the boys in blue.


Al Thomas advances, 3 games to 1.



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