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  • Clarence (NY) A's Drop Championship but Find Identity in Buffalo MABL



    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 Castellani

    Submitted 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!

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