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July 12, 2007 July 12, 2007

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
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North Wins All-Star Game: The North defeated the South, 8-6, in the 2007 Atlantic League All-Star Game.

The game was called due to rain in the bottom of the 8th. Bridgeport’s Bobby Malek was named the MVP, having hit two solo home runs in the contest.

Jeremy Todd won the Home Run Derby held before the game.

The league also announced that Somerset will host the 2008 All-Star Game.

Jerseys Auctioned Off For Charity: The Atlantic League appears to be in the process of auctioning off the game-worn jerseys from last night’s All-Star Game on eBay for charity.

Some players jerseys are already receiving bids in the “holy crap” range of things, so it appears the charity of choice will really benefit.

If they don’t do this already, the players should wear two sets of jerseys (one in the home run derby and/or pre-game warmups and/or introductions and one in the game itself) so that they’re able to keep one. Clearly, if they cared enough to show up to the game, they deserve the opportunity to keep their jersey as a token of appreciation from the league, and jerseys can still be auctioned off to benefit charity. This might be a few of these guys first All-Star game, and it might a few guys last All-Star game, so I’m sure it would be appreciated.

Why Bother?: A grand total of six former Major Leaguers actually played in last night’s All-Star game, and five of them were from the North side. In fact, more big leaguers (Rose, Offerman, Spivey, Graves, Van Hekken, Alfonzo, Everett) found better things to do, which allowed a couple of players who probably didn’t belong on the team to join the rosters.

It’s hard to fault players for wanting to take advantage of the All-Star break in order to see their families, some of whom they haven’t seen since April. But it’s part of the job, isn’t it? I’m sure a handful of scouts were in attendance last night, and to them the All-Star Game serves as a clearing house of Atlantic League talent. Instead of having to go to multiple places to see guys from different teams, they’re all in the same spot.

So if you’re truly playing in this league to get picked up, then why would you not want to be a part of that?

And as a fan, don’t you want to see the best players the league has to offer? If I’m shelling out $15 or whatever it is for a ticket, I want to see the best players in the league, not the best of the guys who decided to show up.

If that’s the case, then why even bother with an All-Star Game at all?

Rickey Says Rickey Is The New Mets Hitting Coach: The New York Mets have announced that Rickey Henderson is their new hitting coach. Henderson, who will replace Rick Down, played for the Newark Bears in 2003 and 2004.

DiFelice Promoted To Triple-A: The Milwaukee Brewers have promoted former Camden Riversharks and Somerset Patriots P Mark DiFelice from Double-A Huntsville to Triple-A Nashville.

DiFelice has been an affiliated success since leaving the league last season, and was the starting pitcher in the Southern League All-Star Game this year after posting a 6-1 record, complete with 1.62 ERA.

Can You Weather The Storm?: Jason Guarente writes that the Phillies have assigned former Lancaster P Charlie Weatherby to Double-A Reading. He joins somewhat of an AL alumni pitching staff, with Somerset’s Chris Rojas and Newark’s J.J. Trujillo already on the team.

Bonus points for anyone who knows what the headline references…

UPDATED: Thanks to the reader who pointed out that Trujillo was actually sent down to make room for Weatherby. AL on AL crime. Ouch.

Gary Knotts Story: I generally don’t post links to general features, but this piece on Newark’s Gary Knotts deserved a link. Why? The inexplicable headline, of course.

The Simulated Second Half: With the Ducks and Riversharks placed firmly into the playoffs based on the first half of the computer simulation (see: yesterday), six teams were left vying for two spots in the final 63 games of the season.

Would any team sweep both halves? Or would one of the teams that struggled in the first half rebound and put together a magical second half run?

Here’s what happened…

Entering the games of September 1st, both division races were up for grabs. The Ducks were on pace to sweep both halves of the North division, but were just two games ahead of the Bluefish, with the Bears only three back.

In the South, Camden and Lancaster were tied at 30 wins a piece, but the Patriots were just two games back of the co-leaders.

Only 15 games remained in the season at that time, and every series was critical.

In the North, the Bluefish closed the gap to just one game behind the Ducks after Bridgeport took two of three from York and the Ducks lost two of three to the Bears, which propelled Newark to just two games back in the division.

Lancaster’s three-game sweep of the Road Warriors gave them a two game edge in the South, with Camden losing two of three to Somerset putting them two back, and Somerset one game behind them.

Now just 12 games remain in the season, and every race is as tight as possible. With Long Island on pace to take the North division for the second straight half, the wild card would come into play. If Lancaster holds on to take the South, then the Somerset Patriots would become the fourth team to make the playoffs.

However, with the Patriots holding down third place in the South division, they clearly need the Ducks to win the second half, as the Bluefish sit 12 games back of Somerset for the wild card race, with Newark 13 games behind.

Not much changed over the next three games…

With Bridgeport, Long Island and Newark each taking two of three games in each of their next series, the standings remained the same. The Ducks missed a golden opportunity to sweep the Road Warriors, getting shut out, 4-0, in the final game of the series thanks to eight and two thirds innings of four-hit ball by Carlos Castillo.

In the South, Camden closed their deficit to one game by taking two of three games from the Barnstormers.

Things would get much tighter following the next three days.

Camden took two of three games from the Ducks in what was a critical series for both teams hopes to repeat as half champions. Bridgeport taking two of three from the Road Warriors put them in a tie with the Ducks for the division lead at 28 wins each. Winning the division would be Bridgeport’s only hope to make the postseason, as their overall record wouldn’t earn them a wild card spot.

Somerset taking two of three from Lancaster not only put the Patriots within two games of the division lead, it also allowed the Riversharks to tie Lancaster for the division lead with 35 wins a piece.

With just six games remaining in the Atlantic League regular season, each division had a logjam at the front.

Here’s a day-by-day look at the final six days of the Atlantic League season:

September 11

Road Warriors 9
Camden 7

Aracena: 4 RBI

Newark 4
Long Island 13

Mirabal: 6.2 IP, 11 H, 7 ER, 3 wins in second half after 9 in first

Lancaster 3
Somerset 7

Adams: CG, 127 pitches

Bridgeport 6
York 2

Ortiz: 3 RBI

NORTH

Long Island 29-29
Bridgeport 29-29
Newark 26-32

SOUTH

Camden 35-23
Lancaster 35-23
Somerset 34-24

WILD CARD

Lancaster 74-47
Somerset 73-48
Newark 57-64
Bridgeport 56-65

The North and South remain tied, but a clutch performance by Brian Adams pulls the Patriots to within one game of the South division lead and one game behind the Barnstormers in the wild card race. If Bridgeport takes the North and Lancaster or Somerset takes the South, there would be no wild card spot.

September 12

Road Warriors 0
Camden 3

Powell: CG, 5H, won seven consecutive decisions

Newark 1
Long Island 2

Haverbusch: First inning two run home run off of Phelps

Lancaster 6
Somerset 3

Van Note: Three-run HR in eighth off of Solveson breaks 3-3 tie

Bridgeport 12
York 6

Spivey: HR short of cycle

NORTH

Long Island 30-29
Bridgeport 30-29
Newark 26-33

SOUTH

Camden 36-23
Lancaster 36-23
Somerset 34-25

WILD CARD

Lancaster 75-47
Somerset 73-49
Newark 57-65
Bridgeport 56-65

A Kevin Haverbusch home run in the first inning essentially eliminated the Bears from playoff contention, with the heartbreaking 2-1 loss putting them four games with out four left to play. Camden and Lancaster both won in the South, meaning that both divisions remain tied with four days left in the season. Not to be overlooked is the Barnstormers opening up a two game lead in the wild card race.

September 13

Road Warriors 2
Camden 3

Maness: GW RBI single in 11th inning off of Baez

Newark 4
Long Island 5

Navarrete: GW two-run single after Almonte walks bases loaded with 4-3 lead in ninth

Lancaster 4
Somerset 11

Pressley: 3 RBI

Bridgeport 2
York 3

Dryer: 2B, HR

NORTH

Long Island 31-29
Bridgeport 30-30
Newark 26-34

SOUTH

Camden 37-23
Lancaster 36-24
Somerset 35-25

WILD CARD

Lancaster 75-48
Somerset 74-49
Newark 57-66
Bridgeport 57-66

With just three games remaining in the regular season, the Ducks and Riversharks each jumped out to a one game lead, with both on pace to now win both halves of the season and create two wild card spots. Both teams won in dramatic, come-from-behind fashion. Dwight Maness won it for Camden with an 11th inning RBI single, while a 2-run single to center field by Ray Navarrete erased a one run deficit in the ninth for Long Island.

September 14

The Lancaster Barnstormers appear to have the luck of the draw for the final three games of the season, with the Road Warriors on the schedule for the final regular season series. Camden and Somerset face each other at Commerce Bank Ballpark in an absolutely critical three-game set, while the Ducks host the Revolution and the Bears host the Bluefish.

Road Warriors 1
Lancaster 4

Todd: 2-run HR

York 5
Long Island 6

Watson: 3.1 IP of hitless relief

Bridgeport 7
Newark 5

Lucca: Grand slam

Camden 0
Somerset 3

Van Hekken: CG, 3 H SOM: Four solo HR

NORTH

Long Island 32-29
Bridgeport 31-30

SOUTH

Camden 37-24
Lancaster 37-24
Somerset 36-25

WILD CARD

Lancaster 76-48
Somerset 75-49

The Ducks maintained their one game lead over the Bluefish, but the South division saw three teams within one game of each other. There are essentially three teams competing for two spots at this point.

Bridgeport makes the playoffs if they win the division. Lancaster makes the playoffs if they win the division or win the wild card if Camden wins the division. Somerset makes the playoffs if they win the division, if they win the wild card if Camden wins the division, or if Camden and Long Island each win their divisions.

Bridgeport misses the playoffs if they don’t win the division. Lancaster misses the playoffs if they don’t win the division, or if only one wild card position exists and Somerset is ahead of them. Somerset misses the playoffs if they don’t win the division, or if only one wild card position exists and Lancaster is ahead of them.

September 15

Road Warriors 6
Lancaster 7

Martinez: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 7 K

York 0
Long Island 7

Garcia: CG, 6 H

Bridgeport 3
Newark 4

Mirabal: 7.1 IP, 6 H, 4 K

Camden 4
Somerset 7

Pressley: 2 HR

NORTH

Long Island 33-29
Bridgeport 31-31

SOUTH

Lancaster 38-24
Camden 37-25
Somerset 37-25

WILD CARD

Lancaster 77-48
Somerset 76-49

With one game remaining in the season, the Long Island Ducks have clinched the second half division title and swept both halves of the season. Therefore, at least one wild card spot has been created.

In the South, Lancaster has a one game lead over the Riversharks and Patriots. Only the seeding remains a mystery at this point, as Lancaster winning the division would give the Patriots the wild card. If Somerset won the division, then Lancaster would take the wild card. If Camden wins the division, then there are two wild card spots created, and both Lancaster and Somerset would occupy them.

September 16

Road Warriors 1
Lancaster 7

Todd: 3-for-3

York 1
Long Island 4

Everett: HR, 3 RBI

Bridgeport 4
Newark 7

Castro: 4-for-5

Camden 6
Somerset 2

Biernbaum: 2 HR, 4 RBI

SOUTH

Lancaster 39-24
Camden 38-25
Somerset 37-26

WILD CARD

Somerset 76-50

Lancaster made the most of their three-game set against the Road Warriors, sweeping them on the way to the second half division title. With only one wild card spot remaining, it went to the Somerset Patriots, who held a huge lead in that race over Bridgeport and Newark.

The Ducks will play Somerset in round one of the playoffs, while Camden and Lancaster will face off in the other series. Camden will have home field advantage thanks to their better overall record.

Here are the final 2007 Atlantic League SIMULATED standings and statistics:

NORTH

Long Island 38-25*, 34-29**, 72-54
Newark 31-32, 28-35, 59-67
Bridgeport 27-36, 31-32, 58-68
Road Warriors 13-50, 20-43, 33-93

SOUTH

Camden 42-21*, 38-25, 80-46
Lancaster 39-24, 39-24**, 78-48
Somerset 39-24, 37-26, 76-50***
York 23-40, 25-38, 48-78

LEAGUE LEADERS

AVG
Matt DeMarco, CAM, .327
Denny Abreu, CAM, .326
Jeremy Todd, LAN, .325

HR
Josh Pressley, SOM, 34
L.J. Biernbaum, CAM, 32
Jeremy Todd, LAN, 31

RBI
L.J. Biernbaum, CAM, 109
Josh Pressley, SOM, 104
Jeremy Todd, LAN, 98

SB
Danny Garcia, SOM, 40
Vince Blue, LAN, 30
Mike Woods, LAN, 26

ERA
Josh Stevens, LAN, 2.25
Eric Junge, BPT, 2.73
Andy Van Hekken, SOM, 2.78

W
Josh Stevens, LAN, 18
Keith Ramsey, SOM, 15
Brian Adams, SOM, 14

SAVES
Derrick DePriest, LAN, 39
Danny Graves, LI, 34
Alberto Castillo, CAM, 33

K’S
Josh Stevens, LAN, 154
Dave Gil, YORK, 143
John Riedling, LI, 128

Overall team statistics leaders

AVG
Camden .268
Newark .262
Lancaster .261
York .261
Long Island .256
Bridgeport .252
Somerset .250
Road Warriors .235

HR
Long Island 153
Camden 151
Lancaster 146
Somerset 132
Newark 130
York 94
Bridgeport 90
Road Warriors 89

ERA
Somerset 3.51
Camden 3.82
Lancaster 4.02
Long Island 4.29
Bridgeport 4.39
Newark 4.79
York 5.54
Road Warriors 5.98

Individual statistical leaders by team

BRIDGEPORT

AVG – Jay Caligiuri, .306
HR – Jay Caligiuri, 15
RBI – Lou Lucca, 81
ERA – Eric Junge, 2.73
W – Eric Junge, 10

CAMDEN

AVG – Matt Demarco, .327
HR – L.J. Biernbaum, 32
RBI – L.J. Biernbaum, 96
ERA – Greg Powell, 2.90
W – Erick Burke, 12

LANCASTER

AVG – Jeremy Todd, .325
HR – Jeremy Todd, 31
RBI – Jeremy Todd, 98
ERA – Josh Stevens, 2.25
W – Josh Stevens, 98

LONG ISLAND

AVG – Carl Everett, .288
HR – Damian Rolls, 24
RBI – Kevin Haverbusch, 80
ERA – John Riedling, 3.09
W – John Halama and Lance Davis, 11

NEWARK

AVG – Victor Rodriguez, .309
HR – Jose Herrera, 28
RBI – Jose Herrera, 92
ERA – Bobby Brownlie, 3.16
W – Carlos Mirabal, 13

ROAD WARRIORS

AVG – Sandy Aracena, .286
HR – Sandy Aracena, 21
RBI – Sandy Aracena, 82
ERA – Manny Ulloa, 4.70
W – Manny Ulloa, 10

SOMERSET

AVG – Josh Pressley, .286
HR – Josh Pressley, 34
RBI – Josh Pressley, 104
ERA – Andy Van Hekken, 2.78
W – Keith Ramsey, 15

YORK

AVG – Matt Dryer, .315
HR – Matt Dryer, 21
RBI – Matt Dryer, 98
ERA – Dave Gil, 3.32
W – Dave Gil, 9

MVP – Jeremy Todd, LAN: .325, 31 HR, 98 RBI
Pitcher of the Year – Josh Stevens, LAN: 18-4, 2.25 ERA, 154 K, 1 SHO, 5 CG

In looking at the final regular season numbers, it’s pretty clear that a few players did a little too well and some guys didn’t do as well as they should have. But it’s only a simulation, and I did everything I could to make player attributes as close to my impression of what they are in real life as I could. Ideally, I think Bridgeport does a lot better and Lancaster doesn’t do as well as they ended up doing, but for the most part, I think I did pretty well.

It’s not like Josh Stevens winning the Pitcher of the Year award is unrealistic, and Jeremy Todd smacking 31 longballs isn’t out of the question. Danny Garcia led the league in stolen bases, just like real life…and Sandy Aracena pretty much carried the Road Warriors just like he tends to do from time to time.

But with all that said, what everybody wants to see still remains, and that’s the playoffs.

The first round of the playoffs are three games each, and are done in the 1-2 format in terms of home field.

The championship round is a best-of-five series, and uses a 2-3 format for home field.

September 18

North Division Series – Game One

Long Island 5
Somerset 3

(Long Island leads series, 1-0)

In what could be their last game of the season in front of the Commerce Bank Ballpark faithful, the Somerset Patriots were unable to provide their home fans with a playoff victory.

Keith Ramsey got the nod in Game One of the North Division Series for the Patriots, and quickly allowed the Ducks to jump out to a 2-0 lead.

An Edgardo Alfonzo RBI single scored Kevin Haverbusch in the first, while a Jamie Pogue single scored Damian Rolls in the second.

The Ducks were a Mike Lockwood outfield assist away from nearly breaking it open earlier in the inning, but he gunned down Bryant Nelson at the plate, who was trying to score from second on a Rolls single.

Lockwood slowly tried to carry Somerset on his back, chipping away at the Ducks lead with an RBI single that scored Travis Anderson in the third.

The score would remain at 2-1 until the seventh, when Jamie Pogue doubled home Bryant Nelson to give the Ducks their two-run lead back.

Another outfield assist from the Patriots kept the lead at two, with Elliott Ayala throwing out Pete Rose, Jr. at the plate when he tried to score on an Edgardo Alfonzo double.

That play looked to be huge in the bottom of the frame, as a Mike Lockwood two-run HR (1) to right center chased Ducks starter John Halama, who was otherwise brilliant.

Todd Erdos (1-0) finished up the inning, and would pick up the win, the benefactor of two Ducks runs in the ninth inning off of Tony Peralta (0-1).

Peralta allowed pinch runner Norm Hutchins to score on a Kevin Haverbusch sac fly, and then Rose, Jr. added a much-needed insurance run with an RBI double that scored Pogue.

Danny Graves came in and shut the door, earning his first save of the playoffs with a 1-2-3 ninth inning to give the Ducks a 1-0 series lead.

Games two and three (if necessary) will be played at Citibank Park in Long Island.

South Division Series – Game One

Camden 3
Lancaster 2

(Camden leads series, 1-0)

It looked like the Lancaster Barnstormers had a chance in the first inning. It looked like the Lancaster Barnstormers had a chance in the ninth inning. But it’s what happened in between the first and the ninth that cost the Barnstormers a chance to steal Game One from the Riversharks.

Lancaster shortstop Danny Gonzalez gave the Barnstormers a 1-0 lead in the first inning, taking Camden starter Greg Powell (1-0) deep in the first inning.

Rob Henkel (0-1) turned in a gutsy performance for Lancaster for the first five innings, but couldn’t keep them off the board in the next two innings.

In the sixth, Matt Demarco picked up where he left off in the regular season, driving home Milko Jaramillo on an RBI single to tie the game at one. Later that frame, Demarco scored on a fielders choice by Denny Abreu.

With the score at 2-1, Pete Shier hit what would be the game winning triple in the seventh inning, again scoring Jaramillo to give the Riversharks a 3-1 lead.

Things got interesting in the ninth inning, when Camden closer Alberto Castillo loaded the bases without recording an out.

Dominick Ambrosini walked, a Jeremy Todd double moved Ambrosini to third, and Steve Van Note was hit by a pitch.

But Lancaster couldn’t capitalize, with Lance Burkhart’s sacrifice fly serving as the only damage at the Barnstormers could inflict. Jutt Hileman grounded out to first, and Mike Woods grounded to short to get Castillo out of the jam and give Camden a narrow 3-2 victory.

The Riversharks hold a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series, and can clinch at home with a win tomorrow.

September 19

North Division Series – Game Two

Somerset 3
Long Island 0

(Series tied 1-1)

There’s nothing wrong with a good pitchers duel. There is a problem, however, when that duel lasts a little too long.

Ducks starter John Riedling and Patriots starter Andy Van Hekken both came out for the ninth inning, but the Ducks would get burned by their decision to not go into the bullpen earlier.

With the game scoreless through eight innings, Riedling started the ninth by allowing a single to Jose Morban.

Ducks skipper Dave LaPoint came out and took the ball from Riedling, putting the game in the hands of reliever Mark Watson.

Wrong move.

The first batter Watson faced, Jason Romano, laced a two-run home run that hugged the left-field line to give Somerset a 2-0 lead. Danny Garcia would later follow with run scoring double that plated Elliott Ayala.

It was the most life Somerset had shown since the sixth inning, when Teuris Olivares was ejected for arguing a called third strike call. The team played the rest of the game with Pat Boran at short.

Despite the events of the top of the inning, Patriots manager Sparky Lyle sent Van Hekken back out for the ninth. And for a little while, it looked like history would repeat itself.

As was the case in the top of the frame, the leadoff better — in this case Edgardo Alfonzo — singled. Lyle also didn’t waste any time giving Van Hekken the hook, bringing in closer R.D. Spiehs.

But this is where the story changes.

Spiehs did what Danny Graves did to Somerset in the first game of the series, and that’s shut them down in the ninth.

The All-Star closer got Kevin Haverbusch to strike out looking, Carl Everett to fly out to left and Bryant Nelson to ground to short.

But more importantly, he gave the Somerset Patriots a chance in the series, tying the best-of-three at one game a piece.

The decisive game three will be played tomorrow at Citibank Park.

South Division Series – Game Two

Lancaster 4
Camden 9

(Camden wins series, 2-0)

Most people who don’t follow sports still know that a baseball game lasts nine innings. Unfortunately for the Lancaster Barnstormers, this game was over before the sixth.

The Camden Riversharks blew the game open with an eight-run fifth inning against Lancaster starter Brett Evert (0-1), and swept the Barnstormers in the South Division series.

After trading runs in the fourth, Camden took a 2-1 lead on a Matt Demarco RBI groundout that scored Craig Paquette. Denny Abreu then singled home Milko Jaramillo and Pete Shier, which was followed by a two-run double by Angel Pena. A Dwight Maness run scoring single chased Evert, who was replaced by Barry Armitage.

Two more runs would score to make it 9-1, with Maness scoring on an error by Jeremy Todd, and Josh Noviskey stepping on home plate after a wild pitch by Armitage.

A Lance Burkhart home run in the seventh and a two-run double by Todd in eighth narrowed the deficit to five, but Ryan Schurman (1-0) had simply built up too big of a lead, and the Riversharks are headed to the Atlantic League Championship Series.

September 20

North Division Series – Game Three

Somerset 5
Long Island 12

(Long Island wins series, 2-1)

The Somerset Patriots had the Atlantic League’s best regular season ERA, posting a collective mark of 3.51.

They had one of their best starters, Brian Adams on the mound.

Everything seemed to be in their favor for Game Three of the North Division Series.

But then they played the game.

Adams recorded only five outs, victimized by four run-scoring doubles by the potent Ducks offense through the first two innings of the game, and the Patriots could never recover.

Carl Everett got Long Island out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first, with his double bringing home Edgardo Alfonzo and Ray Navarrete. A Bryant Nelson two-bagger scored Everett later in the inning.

The Ducks would score three more runs in the second, almost all by virtue of two-base hits. Alfonzo doubled home Pete Rose, Jr., and then Navarrete doubled home Alfonzo. Everett changed things up by scoring Navarrete on a single, but the damage had been done either way.

Somerset was able to get the game as close as 7-5 in the seventh inning, slowly chipping away with a Danny Garcia double, an Elliott Ayala single and RBI groundout, and two sac flies by Jose Morban and Josh Pressley.

But the Ducks broke it back open over the next two innings, capped by a two-run home run by Everett that gave the Ducks the 12-5 win.

Long Island will play the Camden Riversharks in the Atlantic League Championship Series.

The first two games will be played at Citibank Park, but the series will move to Campbell’s Field for the final three contests.

September 21

Atlantic League Championship Series – Game One

Camden 4
Long Island 3

(Camden leads series, 1-0)

L.J. Biernbaum finished second this season in the Atlantic League with 32 home runs, but had yet to hit his first in the postseason.

That all changed tonight.

With Camden staked to a one-run lead in the third inning, Biernbaum deposited a James Garcia offering over the left center field wall, scoring Milko Jaramillo and Matt Demarco, giving the Riversharks what would ultimately be an insurmountable 4-0 lead.

It didn’t look that way for a while, however.

After Long Island chipped away at Camden’s lead with a Carl Everett fourth inning RBI single and an eighth inning double by Edgardo Alfonzo plated Pete Rose, Jr., the Ducks entered the ninth inning down, 4-2.

Alberto Castillo came in for the ninth, and had his second consecutive shaky outing.

Castillo walked the first batter he faced, Damian Rolls. Jose Offerman then doubled home Rolls, cutting the deficit to run and giving the Ducks a runner in scoring position with nobody out.

Ducks manager Dave LaPoint put the speedy Norm Hutchins in the game in place of Offerman, and had Jamie Pogue bunt him over to third.

But that’s as far as he would get.

Kevin Haverbusch grounded out to the shortstop, and Rose, Jr. struck out looking to end the game and give the Riversharks a 1-0 series lead.

September 22

Atlantic League Championship Series – Game Two

Camden 9
Long Island 5

(Camden leads series, 2-0)

Matt Demarco, L.J. Biernbaum and Brad Strauss accounted for 11 of the Riversharks 16 hits, and led Camden to the brink of their first championship with a 9-5 win over Long Island.

Biernbaum and Strauss put on a show for the first three innings, with Biernbaum stroking two doubles that accounted for three runs, and Strauss joining in with a first inning RBI single and third inning RBI double.

But it almost wasn’t enough.

The Ducks came back to cut the deficit to one with a four-run fourth inning. Edgardo Alfonzo was the catalyst for Long Island, with his bases-clearing triple taking a three-run chunk out of Camden’s lead. Damian Rolls would score later in the inning on a throwing error to put the score at 5-4.

After a Demarco single chased Ducks starter John Halama in the fifth, the Riversharks took advantage of reliever Travis Wade. Demarco scored on a Dwight Maness single to put the score at 6-4, and then Randy McGarvey’s two-out single plated Brad Strauss and Craig Paquette to give Camden a four-run lead.

An RBI single by Bryant Nelson in the seventh was all the Ducks could muster, and they find themselves down two games in the best-of-five series with the final games to be played on the road.

September 23

Atlantic League Championship Series – Game Three

Long Island 10
Camden 1

(Camden leads series, 2-1)

The champagne will have to wait until tomorrow.

And with the performance the Camden Riversharks put on in Game Three of the Atlantic League Championship Series, it may take a little longer than that for the corks to be popped.

Long Island dominated Camden in every facet of the game, easily taking the third game of the best-of-five by a score of 10-1.

Kevin Haverbusch started the slugfest in the fourth inning with a two-run double that scored Bryant Nelson and Pete Rose, Jr. Haverbusch later scored on a Carl Everett RBI groundout, and a Rob Cafiero double scored Edgardo Alfonzo to make the score 4-0 through four innings.

An L.J. Biernbaum RBI single in the bottom half of the inning was the only offense the eager Camden crowd would see from their hometown team.

Instead, the Ducks continued to pour it on, with Rose, Jr., Everett and Ray Navarrete each hitting home runs in the sixth and seven innings to break the game wide open.

Long Island remains on the brink of elimination, down two games to one, but have now outscored Camden, 18-14 in the first three games of the series.

Game Four will be played tomorrow night in Camden.

September 24

Atlantic League Championship Series – Game Four

Long Island 2
Camden 1

Perhaps home-field advantage isn’t so much of an advantage after all.

The Ducks improved to 3-0 in elimination games, squeaking out a 2-1 win in Game Four of the Atlantic League Championship Series over the Camden Riversharks and sending it to a fifth and deciding game.

Camden got out to a quick 1-0 lead in front of their home fans, when Angel Pena got his name in the box score with a solo home run off of Ducks starter Lance Davis.

But that was the only mistake Davis would make.

Camden starter Erick Burke looked to be well on his way to being the hero, but a walk-filled sixth inning turned him into the goat.

Kevin Haverbusch flied out to start the inning, but Pete Rose, Jr. would get things going for the Ducks with a one-out single. Burke then issued three consecutive walks to Edgardo Alfonzo, Ray Navarrete and Carl Everett to score Rose and tie the game at one. Bryant Nelson lined out to the first baseman to out Burke an out away from escaping, but he walked his fourth batter of the inning, Damian Rolls, to plate Alfonzo and give the Ducks a 2-1 lead.

The Riversharks would mount a comeback attempt in the ninth, with Craig Paquette singling off of Davis with one out to give Camden a baserunner. But Ducks closer Danny Graves would have none of it, coming into the game and promptly inducing a 5-4-3 double play by Dwight Maness to end the game and send the series to a decisive fifth game.

Game Five will be played tomorrow night at Campbell’s Field. The Riversharks have not won at home since Game One of the South Division Series.

September 25

Atlantic League Championship Series – Game Five

Long Island 7
Camden 8 F/10

(Camden wins series, 3-2)

It was everything you could have ever wanted, but it was more than you could have ever expected.

The 2007 Atlantic League Championship Series is in the books, but it will clearly go down as the best in the history of the league.

Camden appeared to be on their way an easy three-game sweep of the Ducks, but they came back and won games three and four on the road to even the series at two games a piece.

With the championship on the line, the Ducks turned to veteran starter Donovan Osborne, while Camden went with Ryan Costello.

Osborne didn’t make it out of the first, and it appeared as though Camden was again well on their way to an easy victory.

But just like the series went, so went Game Five.

A Denny Abreu bases-clearing double that scored Pete Shier, Matt Demarco and Angel Pena chased Osborne after recording just one out. Still in the first inning and already staked to a 3-0 lead, Camden put two more runs on the board off of two Ducks relievers.

Mark Watson was brought into the game after Osborne was pulled, and he issued three straight bases on balls. The third, a walk to Randy McGarvey, scored Angel Pena and put the Ducks in a four-run hole. Dave LaPoint didn’t hesitate to use his bullpen again, this time going to Ed Yarnall.

Yarnall would limit the damage, allowing only a fielders choice by Milko Jaramillo that scored Craig Paquette.

But any thoughts of a champagne-soaked celebration were quickly dashed when the Ducks tied the game with a five-run inning of their own, plating five in the fifth frame.

It started just like the Riversharks potent first inning did, with a three-run double. Ray Navarrete was the catalyst for Long Island, and he was followed by RBI singles from Carl Everett and Damian Rolls to tie the game at five.

Both teams bats would be dormant for the next four innings, and the fifth and final game of the Championship Series was headed to what would be a dramatic extra inning of play.

Alberto Castillo came on for Camden and threw a wild pitch to Damian Rolls, scoring Carl Everett and giving the Ducks a one-run extra inning lead.

A Rob Cafiero sacrifice fly that scored Bryant Nelson later in the inning put the Ducks ahead by two and just three outs away from holding the Atlantic League Championship trophy.

But in this series, unpredictability was the only thing you could predict.

Danny Graves came into the game, and L.J. Biernbaum greeted him with an RBI single that scored Matt Demarco, cutting the deficit in half.

Biernbaum would score on a Denny Abreu double, tying the game at seven in the tenth inning.

Graves would intentionally walk Angel Pena to get to Craig Paquette, but the move would backfire and would ultimately cost the Ducks the championship.

Paquette singled home Abreu, capping off a dramatic come-from-behind win that gave the Camden Riversharks their first Atlantic League title.

Camden won the game, 8-7, after trailing by two runs heading into the bottom of the tenth.

Biernbaum was named the Atlantic League Championship Series MVP.

So there you have it. The Camden Riversharks will take the Atlantic League title from the Long Island Ducks in dramatic fashion. Frankly, I don’t even know why you need to watch the actual second half, you already know what’s going to happen.

Here’s the top 10 moments, in no particular order, from the 2007 SIMULATED Atlantic League season…

5/16 — Somerset scores nine runs in the 11th inning to beat Long Island, 13-5.
6/6 — Carl Everett’s walk-off home run gives the Ducks a 1-0 win over Bridgeport.
6/16 — Newark beats York, 18-2.
6/20 — Somerset needs 18 innings to beat Long Island, 3-1. 17 pitchers are used.
6/22 — Brett Evert and Derrick DePriest combine to one-hit the Ducks.
6/30 — Newark beats York (again), 23-0. Every Bears starter scored a run, got a hit, and drove in a run.
7/14 — Greg Powell throws a one-hitter against the Bluefish
7/25 — Dominick Ambrosini’s solo home run breaks a scoreless 11th inning tie, giving Lancaster a 1-0 win over York.
8/26 — Lancaster beats York, 22-0, and scores 18 runs in the 3rd without hitting a home run. Four Barnstormers bat three times in the inning.
8/26 — Camden beats Bridgeport, 9-8, in 16 innings. Each team scored in the 12th and 13th.

I hope everybody had fun with this, and please…enjoy the actual second half of the season. – Mike Ashmore

(Remember, NONE of this actually happened…)

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Comments»

1. SharkGirl - July 12, 2007

We are the champions, we are the champions!!! Wow, what a game! It was so exciting, you should have been there-heck, I wish I was really there. I feel as if I was right in the middle of it all! Great job, Mike. I really enjoyed the entire simulation & hope the season turns out just the way you have it…with just one minor change, we sweep the Ducks-5 games is way too many for my nerves…lol!
Also, LJ Biernbaum will be staying in Camden…for now. Their loss, our gain!

2. BoosterBabe - July 12, 2007

Kudos to Bridgeport’s own Bobby Malek for receiving MVP Honors at the All Star Game.

He amazes me every time he takes the field. He’s smart, dependable in the field and at the plate…overall, he’s one of the best and brightest on the Bluefish this season!

We do have a few guys who don’t strike fear into my heart when chasing a ball….Malek is one of them!

Enjoyed meeting the Malek family at HY last week, as well.

3. www.BrickCityBruins.com - July 12, 2007

Does anyone have any photos posted of the All-Star game? This is the first one I’ve not attended since 2001.

4. PlayerPCCollector - July 12, 2007

ATLANTIC LEAGUE POCKET SCHEDULES WANTED- I was wondering if anyone out there would be interested in trading for pocket schedules of Patriots or Bears for other AL teams. Not sure if I will get to any other AL parks this summer, and would like to get a “set.”

5. PlayerPCCollector - July 12, 2007

SWINDLE UPDATE- I saw RJ Swindle pitch last Friday at Lakewood and he was fun to watch, baffling those young hitters with his unique delivery and slower than slow changeup.

6. BoosterBabe - July 12, 2007

Email me your snail mail address. I’ll be happy to send you pocket skeds from Bridgeport if you need them.


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