Aviators 5, Oysters 3

Aviators down Oysters, take home 18+ Gold

By Rodney Johnson, MSBLNational.com

Tempe Diablo Stadium, October 27, 2013- When you combine two local league champions, it makes sense that you can come up with a World Series winner. That’s what happed when a couple of Long Island teams joined forces to compete at the MABL World Series.

Going by the name Aviators, the Long Island Cardinals and Drive will have to find a way to split their championship trophy after knocking off the Rocky Mountain Oysters in the 18+ Wood title game.

They compete against each other in league play, but have become a very close unit as a tournament squad. “We’re all friends and that’s part of the mystic and magic of this team,” explained coach Frank Giglio, the manager of the Long Island Drive. “There are a lot of very talented ballplayers on this team and we all get along. At the end of the day we are all friends and that’s the best part.”

The Rocky Mountain Oysters out of Colorado Springs suffered its only loss in pool play at the hands of the Aviators, 13-4. Looking to turn things around, the Oysters jumped out on top in the second inning. Three Aviator errors and two walks helped Rocky Mountain tally a pair of unearned runs without the help of a hit. Mike Feriggi’s RBI single got a run back for Long Island in the third. The Oysters kept the heat on by denting the plate again in the bottom half of the inning on a double by Sloan Soulia and an RBI single by Frank Vaughn. Another hit by Ryan Hendricks chased starter John Parinello from the mound. The Aviator bullpen quieted the Oysters bats the rest of the way allowing just two more hits and one run in the sixth.

Long Island scored twice in the sixth to tie the game on two hits and a sacrifice fly. Rocky Mountain took the lead again with a single tally in the bottom half of the inning, but its joy would be short lived. In the seventh, Billy Graiser followed single by Charlie Calamia and back-to-back hit batters, with a two-RBI single. Matt Kearnes then hit a sacrifice fly to give the Aviators a 6-4 advantage. Tyler Huffer replaced winning pitcher Kevin Wily on the mound in the bottom of the seventh. Huffer pitched three hitless innings and struck out four to earn the save. Eric Byrne’s RBI single tacked on an insurance run in the ninth to account for the final score. Eric Byrne was selected as the tournament MVP.

George Ryan’s Long Island Cardinals won their league this year and now have added a shared World Series title with the Drive. “It’s weird. We used to want to beat them at all costs and now we like those guys (the Drive). “Tournaments are the best part of the year and this is our second year playing together. We started out as rivals and ended up as friends.”

“This is just an exhilarating feeling,” glowed Giglio. “This is the best ballpark, best weather, best teams and best tournament in the nation and we just won it.”

“They have a good team and they just kept pressing us,” explained Oyster manager Frank Vaughn. The Oysters range in ages from 21-46 but are a tight group. “We have three sets of brothers on this team and a few of us went to college together,” said Vaughn. The Oysters survived a 12-inning scare in the playoffs when the edged San Diego North 6-5. The Aviators qualified for the title game by beating Arizona Smoke 6-4.

“We came out a little short on pitching and it hurt us in the end. One of our guys, Ben Wert, threw 16 innings in one day,” said Vaughn. “We gave away some at-bats, made some errors and didn’t play our best. We are definitely coming back next year and will be better prepared,” vowed the first-year manager.