Saturday, August 21, 2010

Athletics win Twilight League championship series

WATERFORD -- Twilight League playoff MVP Al Barbato went 3-for-4 with two RBI, including a solo home run in the fifth inning and an RBI single in the sixth, to lead the Albany Athletics to an 8-5 victory in game  No. 4 of the League Championship Series and help the team defend its title at Kelts Field. Albany won its fourth league championship in the last 5 years. 

Barbato finished 9-for-21 with six runs, six RBI, and two homers while hitting safely in five of the team's six league playoff games.

Albany's Sean Donovan started the offense with a three-run homer in the second inning to give the A's an early 3-0 lead. Waterford's Paul Terry blasted a solo home run in the third inning to cut the lead to 3-1.

Barbato hit a solo shot and Justin Meagher drove in a run with an RBI groundout in the fifth to increase the lead to 5-1. However, Terry blasted a two-run homer to cut the Athletics lead to 5-3 and consecutive hits following put runners on base in the inning. But Albany's pitching held serve as A's righthander Jim Shook came on in the fifth to relieve starter Chris Smith with runners on base and fanned the final batter of the inning to stave off a Waterford rally.

In the sixth, Albany responded with an RBI single each by Barbato and John Marcella to make it 7-3, then got a sac fly from Dan Barbero to take an 8-3 lead. Marcella finished with a double and single while Zach Halloran singled twice and scored twice for the Athletics.

The Albany Athletics after winning the AABC North Atlantic Stan Musial regional earlier this summer. (Photo courtesy www.albanyathletics.com).

Terry finished 4-for-4 (two home runs, two singles and three RBI) and Waterford's Anthony Gadani also smacked a solo home run in the sixth inning.

Meanwhile, Smith hurled 4.2 innings for the A's to start the game and only yielded five hits, three earned runs and struck out six batters. Shook went 2.1 innings to earn the win, giving up just three hits, two earned runs and fanning four batters.

NOTES: The Athletics are now tied for first for most league championships (Davies AC, All Stars Academy) won by any one team since 1987 (prior to 1987 Sons of Italy and Oppenheim took turns winning championships from 1973-87) ...After dropping game No. 1 to Waterford in the series, the A's reeled off three straight wins to secure their fourth league title...It was only the second time in the last five years (10 series) that the Athletics have trailed in any Twilight League playoff series...The championship series was a rematch of the 2009 League Final when the A's swept Waterford in three games.... Albany has now defeated Waterford in 19 of its last 20 games since Waterford joined the Twilight League in 2008...With its 20-4 league record this year, the Athletics have gone 96-20 the last 5 Twilight League regular seasons and 22-4 in the league postseason....The Athletics just returned home Sunday from their first trip to the AABC National World Series in Houston, TX where they finished 5th nationally. They were only the 3rd Twilight League team ever to earn a trip to the World Series in the league's 80 year history.

RECORDS: Albany Athletics 39-11-1 / 20-4 league
Waterford 32-16 / 15-9 league

Albany Twilight League Championship Series - Game No. 4 of best of 5
Kelts Field

Albany Athletics 030 023 0 - 8 10 1
Waterford Nolan Propane 001 021 1 - 5 8 0
Smith, Shook (5) and S. Weber; Dahlin and Rader

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