Around the Horn

What. A. Weekend. The Fall BABL 2016 Season has finally come to an end as Playoff Saturday lived up to the hype! We saw two rookie coaches come away with Championships, a BABL AA player engrave his name in the history books with a walk-off single to win the Championship, and much more! Koa Travel Baseball kicked off NVTBL playoffs on Sunday as the Travel Green Wave now look ahead to next week’s bracket play action. Without further ado, let’s take a look at all of the highlights from the most exciting weekend of the year!

BABL A Playoffs- Round 1

#4 Sluggers- 26 vs #5 Launchers- 14

In this high-scoring Round 1 matchup, the Sluggers outhit the Launchers in 3 innings led by Andreas J. who reached base safely 4 times. Henry S. pitched an inning of scoreless relief with 3 strikeouts.

#2 Factory- 19 vs #7 Crushers- 13

Trailing 19-0 in the final inning, the Crushers put on their rally caps en route to 14 unanswered runs (all with 1 out). In a heartbreaking finish, Garrison K. crushed a homerun in the final inning, only to have it negated by not touching the plate, ending the game. What an effort by this young Crushers squad!

#3 Mashers- 8 vs #6 Homers- 1

The Mashers high-flying offense was too much to handle as they defeated the Homers in the final 1st Round game of the BABL A Playoffs. The Mashers executed textbook station-to-station baseball with the entire lineup contributing in clutch situations.

BABL A Playoffs- Semifinals

#1 Bombers- 6 vs #4 Sluggers- 1

Following their first-round bye, the number one seed Bombers showed why they were deserving of that top seed with an impressive victory over the Sluggers. Henry E. (Bombers) pitched 3 shutout innings while striking out 7 Sluggers as he proved to be the difference maker in this semifinal matchup.

#3 Mashers- 9 vs #2 Factory- 1

We knew weeks ago when the Mashers and Factory met in the regular season, we were seeing a preview of potential playoff matchup. We could not have asked for a better showdown of two giants as this semifinal game headed into extra innings! The Mashers pitching staff took this one into extras with clutch performances by Cooper G. and Charlie B. (Combined for 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 8 K). Tied 1-1 in extra innings, the Mashers took advantage of some walks and timely hitting and punched their ticket to the BABL A Championship!

BABL A Playoffs- Championship Game

#1 Bombers- 8 vs #3 Mashers- 4

In a clash of BABL A powerhouses,the Bombers and Mashers squared off in the Championship Game Saturday afternoon. The Bombers jumped ahead to an early 7-2 lead behind the all-around effort from Noah F. who cashed in with 3 RBI’s at the plate and 8 K’s on the mound. The Mashers fought back to load the bases in the final inning. Coach Kevin Dial called on RJ H. to close this one down… and RJ delivered with a strikeout to win the Championship! Congratulations to Coach Kevin and the Bombers!

BABL AA Playoffs- Round 1

#5 Splitters- 13 vs #4 Sliders- 7

The Splitters turned up the aggressiveness in their opening round upset over the Sliders. Interim Coach Ryan O’Carroll had his guys running wild as they constantly looked to take the extra base en route to 13 runs.

#2 Screwballs- 18 vs #7 Curveballs- 6

The Curveballs jumped ahead early behind two big doubles from Noah S. The Screwballs took the lead in the middle innings and never looked back with All-Star Lance H. leading the charge. The 18 Screwball runs were enough to punch the ticket to the semifinals.

#3 Fastballs- 9 vs #6 Farmers- 6

The Farmers started their playoff run hot by taking a commanding 5-0 lead heading into the 4th inning. But as the Fastballs came to the plate in the 4th, they were not ready for their season to be over. Led by Daniel F. (3-3, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI), the Fastballs tallied 9 runs in the 4th to take the lead. Kanen K. earned the save while striking out 2 in the 5th.

BABL AA Playoffs- Semifinals

#1 Changeups vs #5 Splitters

Coming off their first round bye and undefeated regular season, the Changeups took the field against the underdog Splitters in the first BABL AA Semifinal matchup. The Splitters shocked the Koa Community by scoring 8 unanswered runs to start the game. Down 8-0 in the 4th, the Changeups pushed across 3 runs to shorten the deficit; then in the bottom of the 5th, the Changeups tied the game with a monster 2-run double from Sammy K. In extra innings, Jack F. (Changeups) kicked things off with a single, eventually stealing his way to third base. Young Cody P. stepped up to the plate with the winning run on third… and he delivered! Cody P. walked off the Splitters to keep the Changeups undefeated season alive.

#2 Screwballs- 15 vs #3 Fastballs- 2

The Screwballs continued their dominance in the semifinals as they outscored their opponents 33-8 in their first two playoff games. The Screwball pitching staff held the Fastballs to only 5 hits in the game, while the offense continued to push across runs at a record pace. The Screwball victory set the stage for a #1 vs #2 showdown in the Championship Game.

BABL AA Playoffs- Championship Game

#1 Changeups- 5 vs #2 Screwballs- 4

Redskins-Cowboys. Yankees-Red Sox. Ohio State-Michigan. Changeups-Screwballs. The top dogs of BABL AA wrote another chapter in this rivalry as they clashed for the Fall Championship. The starting pitching matchup was an all time best: Jack F. v. Eli W. They matched each other pitch for pitch as both dominated through 4 innings. The Screwballs took the lead in the 5th inning, but the bottom of the Changeup order clawed their way back to tie the game. Tied 4-4 in the bottom of the 6th, the Changeups came to the plate with the first semifinal-hero Jack F. leading off. He delivered a single, and once again stole his way to third base. With one out, Championship-winning run on third base, the other semi-final hero Cody P. dug into the box. Cody P. hits a fly ball to right field as Jack F. returned to third to tag up. The ball dropped in front of the Screwball right fielder, which allowed Jack F. to sprint home with arms in the air to win the BABL AA Championship! The Changeups completed their undefeated season with two walk-off hits and capped off one of the best seasons in Koa Baseball History! Congrats to Coach Mark Brown and the Changeups!

BABL AAA Playoffs- Semifinals

#1 Wreckers- 7 vs #4 Blasters- 2

The Blasters made a statement early that they were not intimidated by the number one seed Wreckers as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead behind RHP Zach Y. The Wreckers tied the game on a clutch double from Ben K. The Wreckers number-one offense delivered after Ben K.’s hit as they pushed 5 more runs across the plate.

#3 Slammers- 17 vs #2 Dingers- 5

Upset alert! The underdog Slammers took down the #2 seed Dingers to seal their spot in the BABL AAA Championship Game. In an unfortunate scene for the Dingers, starting pitcher Grady W. was forced to leave after suffering a shoulder injury. The Slammers took advantage of the Dinger bullpen as they plated 17 runs in the upset win.

BABL AAA Playoffs- Championship Game

#1 Wreckers- 10 vs #3 Slammers- 8

We could not have asked for a better BABL AAA Championship game on Saturday afternoon. Neither team could pull away as both the Wreckers and Slammers traded blows through the middle innings. All-Star Sergio B. (Wreckers) added to his regular season resume as he pitched 4 strong innings to start the game. The Wreckers were able to take the lead late. In the Slammers last at-bats with the tying run at the plate, Kevin K. (Wreckers) closed his glove around the final out to solidify the Wreckers as the Fall BABL AAA Champions! Congrats to Coach Rob Castillo and the Wreckers on an incredible BABL season!

Travel Baseball- NVTBL Playoffs Pool Play

10U Green Wave vs Mount Vernon Mavericks… 3-18 L

10U Green Wave vs Blue Ridge Titans… 4-5 L

The 10U Green Wave squared off with two dominant NVTBL AAA programs in the pool play round of playoffs. The Mavericks took advantage of Koa walks and errors to seal the deal in Game 1. In Game 2, the Green Wave were one big hit away from upsetting the favorited Titans. 10U has a shot at redemption in a rematch showdown against the Titans with the season on the line.

11U Green Wave vs Arlington Arsenal… 15-4 W

11U Green Wave vs Virginia Cannons… 19-3 W

Wow! How about the 11U Green Wave?? Outscoring their opponents 34-7 in pool play, the 11U squad earned the #1 seed and first-round bye heading into bracket play this weekend. Falling behind 2-1 early in Game 1, the Koa bats came alive and outscored the Arsenal 14-2 over the next five innings. In one of the gutsiest playoff performances since Schilling’s Bloody Sock of ’04, Connor B. shook off an injury in pregame warmups and went on to have a memorable playoff performance (4-6, 2B, 5 RBI). In Game 2, 11U was locked in from the first pitch as they scored all 19 runs in the first two innings. Playoff baseball is all about who is hot at the right time. And right now… the 11U Green Wave are on FIRE.

12U Green Wave vs SYA Mets… 0-3 L

12U Green Wave vs Arlington Arsenal… 4-4 T

After a lopsided loss to the Mets in the regular season, the 12U Green Wave had their sights set on redemption. With the game tied in the middle innings, the Mets cashed in with a huge RBI hit to close out Game 1. In Game 2, Koa lost to only one opponent: time. With the game tied heading into the last inning, the umpire called the game due to time limit. But that tie keeps 12U in a good position to do some damage in bracket play. We were able to get a word from Coach Adam Spadafora after the games: “Easily our best performance of the year. We battled against two of the toughest teams in the league. The real credit here goes to our pitching staff.” Right you are, Coach. James R. and the rest of the pitching staff held their own and delivered in key moments (11 IP, 4 ER, 6 K).

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