Dirty Jays 3, Brewers 2
‘Jays Win the Kesselring Cup 2 games to 1’
Submitted by Gregg Earl, Syracuse League President
For the third year in a row, the Syracuse Dirty Jays and the Syracuse Brewers took their friendly rivalry to the Best-of-Three Championship Series, only to see the series go to a game three yet again. For the past two years, the Dirty Jays had to watch as the Brewers celebrated their fourth and fifth titles respectively. 2016 brought a different outcome, as the Dirty Jays took home their first Kesselring Cup in this their seventh season.
Game one was truly one for the ages as the Brewers edged out the D-Jays 13-10 in 12 innings. With Manager Ryan Abbott of the Dirty Jays starting game one, we knew offense would be the driving force in order to secure a game one victory. Some poor defense and poor pitches put the Brewers ahead 5-0 through three innings. Second year standout Dave Kinney started for the Brewers and began the game doing what he does best: Striking people out! The Jays trailed for most of the game as Abbott started to settle in around the fourth and kept the Brewers scoreless in those middle innings. During those middle innings, the Dirty Jays crawled their way back to eventually take a four run lead heading in to the top of the eighth inning. This is when the excitement began.
Abbott walked the leadoff hitter only to then serve up a double to starter Dave Kinney. A second walk followed that and the Brewers had the tying run up with no outs. Rather than going to his bullpen, Abbott thought he could keep Brewer veteran Tom McLaughlin inside the yard. One pitch later, he quickly realized how wrong he was, as he watched a three–run homer travel some 375’ to right center to tie the game. Third Baseman Anthony Paparo relieved Abbott and was able to get the Jays out of their jam. The score remained tied until the top of the 12th inning when the Brewers were able to scratch three runs off pitcher John Kohanski in his third inning of work. The Jays went 1,2,3 in the bottom of the 12th and the Brewers took the series lead 1-0.
Game two matched up the young power arm of the D-Jays, Jeff Dennis against the league veteran of the Brewers, Ryan Stiles, only to see the D-Jays win the game 10-7. Second year star Austin St. Dennis came up big in the eighth inning with a monster 3-run home run to right center and fourth year center fielder Bryan Atkins chipped in with a home run of his own to deep right field. St. Dennis came in from the outfield to pitch a scoreless ninth and put the D-Jays in a position to fight another day!
Game three saw the leagues two best pitchers put on a show for the ages. D-Jays starter Jeff Dennis gave up two quick runs in the first inning thanks to a pair of singles that were punched just over the infielder’s heads. Luckily for the D-Jays, those two would be all the Brewers would get. Starting for the Brewers was league MVP Dave Kinney. He matched Dennis pitch for pitch, inning for inning, up until the sixth. With the score tied 2-2, the Jays looked to take advantage of a 1-out single by third baseman Anthony Paparo. A strikeout followed and then things got interesting. With two outs and the game shortening up, Paparo broke for second base on the second pitch to D-Jays Manager Ryan Abbott. “I saw he got a great jump so I let him go. With two strikeouts already under my belt, I was looking for anything to take some of the pressure off.” With Paparo now in scoring position, Abbott needed to somehow find a hole off a pitcher that he hadn’t had much success with. As Abbott would put it, “The stars just seemed to align today” as he ripped a single to left field and drove in the go-ahead run.
The 3-2 score would hold up through nine as Championship Series MVP Jeff Dennis went the distance and stayed dominate throughout. Said Brewers right fielder Matt Christiana after the game, “I didn’t know he had a changeup. Man, mix that with his fastball and curve ball, he was almost unhittable today.” Brewers Manager and 5-time League Champ Rob Allen had some fun with Abbott after the game while celebrating saying, “Just keep my trophy safe; I’m coming for it in 2017”! As Abbott so deliberately put it, “I wouldn’t have it any other way”!!!