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Chesapeake Braves Riding Mind-Blowing 48 Game Winning Streak

 

By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

Incredible. Freakish. Unprecedented. Prodigious. Staggering.  Go ahead, pick one.  The Chesapeake Braves are on an unearthly roll out east and show no signs of stopping. Sitting down?  I’ll try to explain.

The Chesapeake Braves play in, or should I say dominate, the 35-over National division of the Chesapeake MSBL.  The definition of ‘dominate’ states: to exercise control over.  Duh!  Through July 24th of this year the Braves have won 48 league and playoff games in a row, including a 29-0 campaign last year that concluded with a 17-0 championship game victory.  Through injuries, illness, bad moods and sore arms these guys have been able to rise to the occasion for two solid years.  That’s right up there with DiMaggio’s streak and Cal Ripken, on a somewhat different stage, but none the less equally as impressive.  Along the way they have compiled a stupefying 232-38 run differential. That’s an average of 12.2 runs to 2 per game, folks. 

This ship is commanded by 55 year old Jeff Wolf, who took over in 2002 when they were starting to find their legs in the 25-over division.  "We came into our own in 2005 as a team of brothers and won every championship through 2011, then we got a bit older and moved up,” said Wolf.  "Jeff Pate and I have been together forever keeping things organized and making it easy for the guys to just show up and play.  I perform the on-field stuff and Jeff makes sure everything is organized from Gatorade to uniforms.  We’re a great partnership.”  Jeff is also a member of the Chesapeake MSBL Hall of Fame.  You can read more about Jeff's accomplishments here.

Have there been any nail biters that looked like the string would end?  "This year on July 6th we were down to our last three outs against the Twins and won 2-0 by scoring two in the last inning.  They then had two guys on but a double play ended it on a one hopper line drive for the final outs,” Wolf explained.  "Another time this year we were down 6-5 in the top of the seventh of a seven inning game when Jeff Pate laid down a perfect bunt to keep us going.  We ended up scoring eight runs to go up 13-6. But the pesky Twins came back to make it 13-11 with the bases loaded but the final guy struck out to secure a 13-11 win. That was quite a game.”

Commander Wolf plays first base or the outfield when needed in between his coaching duties.  There seems to always be someone who steps up to take control of the game and Jeff explained that they are solid top to bottom, as they could literally turn their lineup upside down and it would still be a contender.  But there are some individuals who are always up to the challenge and are true leaders.

Ex-Oriole Major leaguer Elrod Hendricks has supplied the bloodline that plays a big role in the Braves success.  "Ian Hendricks has been our number two hitter for the past thirteen years and is a real speedster,” said Wolf.  "His brother Ryan is last year’s MVP and is a left-handed home run machine.  They both have tremendous talent.”  How about the go-to guy on the bump?  "Dave ‘Grease’ Greeley is a 6’ 3” righty that throws from ‘down under’ and consistently throws in the 80’s.  He was last year’s pitcher of the year in the league and can be hard for hitters to figure out.  But we still have from six to nine legitimate arms who are tough, too.  You need more than one guy out there for a streak like this.”

The secret of the Braves success seems to be able to have fun.  A show of dominance like this could easily drain a team if you get too wound up in your stats.  "We always seem to get every team’s best effort along with their ace on the mound. That makes it fun.  We are close knit and the pressure we face is the pressure of having fun, not winning.”

Final words?  "Duane Cordrey does a tremendous job in a thankless position as our league president and he also plays on the Braves.  He is always ready to do whatever we ask of him. Without the great league format to play under and the quality of the teams and facilities this wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.  Thank you, Duane, for everything you do.”

The streak may end or it may wind itself into 2017 but the message coming through loud and clear is to enjoy yourself and the wins will come.  A sprinkling of talent doesn’t hurt, of course, but as the saying goes, ‘play' ball, not 'stress about every stat' ball.  It is after all a game meant to produce fun and smiles.  The Braves will attest to that.

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