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Atlanta MABL, 18+ American Metal Bat
Submitted by David Whitley, manager
The 18+ Atlanta Tarheels ended their 2017 Summer Metal Bat season with another trip to the championship
round, for their fourth trip in six years. This is the Tarheels sixth year in
MABL and plays in not only the Spring and Summer Sunday league, but also the
Midweek Wood Bat league as well as the current Fall League. In most
years, the "Heels" will play 45 to 50 games and have tallied six total
championships in those years. In those six years, the Heels have amassed a record
of 229 wins and 38 losses.
The "Heels"are led by long term team members Matt Allen, Taylor Bowles, Ben Eidson, Dallas
Groves, Austin Lark, Jay Felger, Zach Smith, Drew Griswell, Clay Remole, Ty
Whitley, Jared Gilleland, Paul Solorzano, Nick Galeotti, along with Pat
Merkling and Alex Murfin.
finished the regular season with a record of 16-2 and another division
championship. Both losses came to the ultimate champion Atlanta Giants by
scores of 7-5 and 9-8. The Heels took the first game of the season series
against the Giants with a 6-5 win.
In the first round of
the playoffs, the Heels cruised to a comfortable win in a one game series versus
the Hurricanes, which set up a best 2 of 3 series with the always tough Southside Blue Jay's. Game one went to the Heels 4-0 behind a dominant
pitching performance by Pat Merkling, and stellar defense by Matt Allen and Taylor Bowles. Game two was a 10 inning thriller with lead changes the
entire game. The Heels got down quickly by a score of 5-1, only to be
reignited by a grand slam off the bat of Dallas Groves to tie the game.
Regulation play ended in a 6-6 score and concluded with a 10th inning walk off
by the Blue Jays.
In the Game three rubber
match, the Heels pulled out a tough 8-5 win behind the gutsy pitching of Jay
Felger who is coming off of labrum surgery. Jay's innings have been
limited in his comeback but was clearly ready for the challenge and pitched a
complete game for the win.
In the championship
round, the Heels once again faced the Atlanta Giants, who had shared the
regular season lead all year. The Giants are an extremely good team with
many talented players who are tough every time out. These games would
prove no exception. After a very close first four innings, the Giants blew the
game open with a 6-run inning, moving on to a 11-1 win. Game two proved to
be a back and forth affair with each team counter punching the others
scores. As the game drew to a close and the Giants up 11-7 in the bottom
of the ninth, the Heels loaded the bases with a chance to win and force a Game three. However, a great play in the infield to force a runner at home and a
strike out ended the game. All credit to the Giants on a great season and
We now move on to Fall
League play, and hopefully, another championship. As I am certain is true
for many teams, the best thing about the Heels is that at its core, it's a
group of friends who just happen to be really good baseball players. The
camaraderie built over many years extends beyond the playing field, and
everyone pulls for the other guy. Together, this makes coaching this
group, some of whom played in youth ball together, truly special. They
are a great group of young men, as well as great ball players as well.
We can't wait for next