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18+ War Eagles Cop Crown in Their First Year at Indiana Baseball League

Indianapolis Adult Baseball League, 18+ Division

War Eagles 7, Hurricanes 6

 

‘First Year, First Championship’

Submitted by Hobs Donovan and Zach Savka 

This season was a "dream come true” for team Sponsor Harry Donovan Jr. The War Eagles finished second at 13-5 through the regular season and had a heart pounding run through the playoffs winning each of the three playoff games by one run. The championship game was thought to be out of reach until the War Eagles mounted a 5-run comeback to take the lead in the top of the ninth inning against the top seeded, and very tough, Hurricane team that finished 17-1 through the regular season. Clutch pitching, a patient eye, and timely hits were the keys to victory according to Mr. Donovan who can’t hold back a smile any time he talks of the game.

Harry is a 96 year old B-17 Bomber Pilot from World War Two and also an alumnus of Auburn University.  In honor of that, team captains Zach Savka and Hobs Donovan (Mr. Donovan’s Grandson), along with Coach Lou Savka, decided to name the team "War Eagles” after the Auburn battle cry. Mr. Donovan rarely misses a game and was with the team every step of the championship hunt. He always liked to sit behind home plate and make sure that the War Eagles received a fair shake from the men in blue. He was never shy and was always the first to speak up anytime an umpire needed a second opinion. During the first couple weeks of the season Harry said he knew it was going to be magical when he saw a B-17 "Flying Fortress” flying over the field at the Carmel Dad’s Club.

From there the season really took off. The War Eagles finished second in runs scored, third in home runs, and second in RBIs. This was due to efforts by Andy Crooks (.471AVG, 19R, 3HR, 15RBI), Dave Knight (.389AVG, 15R, 2HR, 20RBI), Hobs Donovan (.375AVG, 14R, 2HR, 32RBI) and Lucas Mueller (.462AVG, 18R, 9RBI) who all made contributions every week.

The War Eagles truly separated themselves on the mound. The War Eagles led the league in strikeouts and were second in ERA. Donovan ended up bringing home the league Cy Young trophy at the end of the year with six wins, 0 loses, 69 strikeouts, five walks, and an ERA of 1.29 over 48.2 innings pitched. Previous Cy Young winner Zach Savka had a great year as well going 4-2 with 52 strikeouts and a 1.57 ERA over 40 innings pitched. Lucas Mueller was the one, though, that got the team out of a lot of jams posting a 3-1 record with 34 K’s and a 3.48 ERA over 31 innings.

The pitching was only further supported by the great defense that was played by JB McCallum (SS), Jon White (CF) and Rob McPike (1B). Many bad innings were saved by this trio including the semi-championship game where McPike dislocated his shoulder making a diving catch to end a bases loaded threat.

The War Eagles are returning the core group of their magical 2017 IABL Championship team and looking forward to repeating. Mr. Donovan will be with them every step of the way and he will be expecting another trophy for his 97thbirthday this August.

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