Bottom row L-R: Pat Doherty, Jimmy Honsberger, Jr. Top row L-R: Drew
Ailing, Eric Nash, Jordan Honsberger (Manager), Jake Garvelli, PJ Martucci,
John Strohmeier, Dylan Moscato. Not pictured: Mitch Alexin, Brady Siwek,
Andrew King, Mason King, Anthony CastellaniSubmitted by Jordan Honsberger, A’s manager
The #2 seeded Clarence A's (Clarence, NY) wrapped up their
third season in the Buffalo MABL with a championship loss to the #1 seeded Snappers. In my fourth season with the team I wasn't as upset as most managers
would be with a 2-0 series loss in the championship. We made huge strides as a
team this year and we found out who we were. Every guy figured out his role and
played it perfectly. No team is carried by one or two guys. We were carried by
the entire team. Everyone figured out how to contribute to the bigger picture
of the team, which gave us a good chance of moving deep into the postseason.
In our four seasons as a team, the A's posted the highest
team stats in any of their seasons and made it to the Buffalo MABL championship
for the first time in their three years as members of the league. The team
finished with a .305 batting average and .497 on-base percentage, scoring 110
runs on 145 hits and 53 stolen bases in 19 games.
Leading the charge was Pat Doherty, an all-star and the
winner of the Jay McKee Most Valuable Player (named after the former Buffalo
Sabres defenseman) and Best Hitter Awards. Doherty finished off with a .397
batting average and .653 on-base percentage with three doubles, three triples,
four dingers, 23 RBI, 11 walks, and seven stolen bases. Giving Doherty a run
for his money in the MVP race was Jimmy Honsberger, Jr., who was an all-star
and took home the Coach's Award. Honsberger, Jr. was known around the league as
the superstar shortstop who took bases with ease and looked like he was hitting
a beach ball at the plate. He finished with a .429 batting average and .530
on-base percentage while leading the team in hits (24), runs (21),
hit-by-pitches (5), and stolen bases (18).
Mitch Alexin, John Strohmeier, Andrew King, Eric Nash, and PJ Martucci also had phenomenal seasons at the plate. Alexin was awarded the Most Improved Player Award after finishing the season batting .238 with a .383
on-base percentage and ten hits, all single-season highs in his career. Strohmeier took home the Unsung Hero Award, batting .390 with a .509 on-base
percentage in a season that was a huge confidence booster after struggling in
2015 as a rookie. Andrew King continued his tear with the Clarence A's with a
.300 batting average and .500 on-base percentage while patrolling left and
center field. Eric Nash, the typical second hitter for the team, had a .483 on-base
percentage and led all players in walks with 16, all while being the clutch
utility player the A's needed. Martucci, who was voted to the Buffalo MABL
All-Star Game for the first time in his career, was a catalyst from the left
hand side of the plate, hitting multiple moonshots and forcing outfielders to
play 320+ feet away.
On the mound, Mason King was once again the most
overpowering pitcher on the team's roster. King took home the Best Pitcher
Award for the third straight year, and for good reason: in five games King
posted a 4-1 record with a 2.17 ERA and 1.17 WHIP while striking out 33 in 29
innings. He also wasn't the typical pitcher when it came to hitting; he batted
.409 with a .633 on-base percentage.
The A's also had four rookies that played huge roles in the
run to the championship series: Anthony Castellani, Drew Ailing, Jake Garvelli, and Brady Siwek. Castellani was voted to the all-star game in his first year
with the team and also won the Best Rookie Award; he batted .400 with a 1.321 OPS
(second on the team to only Doherty) and was the best lock-down outfielder on
the team. Ailing was also able to contribute in every aspect of the game,
batting .316 with five extra base hits and a 1.080 OPS while making practically
every play at third base. Garvelli presented another solid stick from the left
side and ended his rookie campaign batting .306 with a .439 on-base percentage. Siwek, who was riddled with injuries, was very effective when he saw the field,
playing mainly center field and hitting .375 with a .556 on-base percentage.
To most teams a loss in the championship is a disappointment,
but to our Clarence A's it's just the beginning of something great!