2016 SABL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

Quarterfinals
Jays defeat the Giants 3-0
Royals defeat the White Sox 3-0
Braves defeat the Pirates 3-2
Astros defeat the Mets 3-0

Semifinals
Astros defeat the Royals 3-1
Jays defeat the Bravels 3-2-1

Finals - Astros versus Jays
Jays win 3-0

Jays win their second SABL Championship.

Jays win the Championship

The creation of a lively WhatsApp group chat over the winter had the defending championship Jays enter the 2016 season with one goal #back2back.

With veteran outfielder Pat Boulding retiring on top, and the pending departure of center fielder Dr. Steve Hersch during the playoffs, the Jays only needed to make one addition to their roster for 2016, outfielder Adam Dinoff. The rest of the roster was intact, but a championship hangover got them off to a rough 0-3 start. The Jays went on to battle to a respectable 17-11-3 record, and second place finish. However, during the season they suffered a critical injury to their ace, 2015 playoff MVP Brad Czjakowski. So the Jays headed into the playoffs with essentially two pitchers, M&M, Marini, and Molloy.

The quarter finals saw the Jays sweep the Giants. But the Giants gave the Jays all they could handle, needing walk off hits from catcher Greg McLean to win game 1, and 3. This series also marked the end of Dr. Hersch’s playoff run as he moved to Alberta to start his research. Do what you do Steve! With one Hersch left they were off to the semis. But, watch out for the up and coming Giants in 2017!

The semi-finals pitted the Jays against their bitter rivals the Braves, and created a re-match of the 2015 finals. Once again, like 2015 the Jays had their backs against the wall in the semi-finals with the Braves winning game 4 to take a 2-1-1 lead in the series. Luckily the Jays bats caught fire in game 5 for a 14-4 victory, creating a rare game 6 showdown. With no plans of a game 6, and no parks booked, they headed to Highview for a Thursday night decider. The Braves jumped out to an early 3-1 lead, but the Jays stayed patient, rallying around Kurtis Desterre’s clutch double, to fight back for an 11-5 victory.

Back in the finals the Jays only had one team standing in the way of their #back2back goal, the Astro’s. The Astro’s were the more rested team, and owned the Jays in the regular season winning 3 out of 4 games. Not to mention, at this point the Jays had gotten by almost entirely on the backs of their M&M pitching duel, only needing one other pitcher to throw an inning of relief. So the coaches made a gutsy call and gave coach Maatman the task of facing off against Astro’s ace Dave Gemmell game 1. The Jays also knew that to beat the Astro’s you have to beat Gemmell. The risk paid off in game 1, with the bats exploding for 9 runs, and Maatman giving them 5 gutsy innings before handing it off to Marini to close out a 9-4 win. The bats stayed hot game 2 for a 16-4 victory. Game 3 proved to be the toughest test, with the Astro’s jumping out to a 6 run lead, but like they did against the Braves the Jays stayed patient, and came back to win a nail bitter 10-9, bringing them their 2nd straight SABL title, completing the #back2back mission. The boys celebrated with champagne, fireworks, and a lot of man hugs.

Way to go boys! It was another total team effort, every one of us scored at least 2 runs, and contributed in many ways. Ropes said it best ‘I realized I really do love playing baseball with you guys. I wanna bring a greasy pack of chew tomorrow and I want us all to have just a little pinch and look to the guy beside you…. And as you look into his eyes know that he is doing this for the sacred development of our playoff outbreak.’ #back2back. He also said, ‘I have 397 missed messages. Anyone able to break it down in just 1 message?’