2017 35+ National
Atlanta Bulls 3, East Coast Cardinals 1
‘Cumberland Goes Distance with Five Hitter’
By Andy Villamarzo, special to MSBL
November 18, 2017, Clearwater, FL – The Atlanta Bulls have been itching to get back to the 35+ National championship game down in Florida and they got their chance against a familiar foe in the East Coast Cardinals. Something Bulls coach Jeff Boyar says the team has been heavily reliant on is the club’s pitching and defense, which both were on display in the title game. The Bulls got a stellar pitching performance from Chris Cumberland, who went nine innings and only allowed five hits and struck out eight batters in Atlanta’s 3-1 win over East Coast.
“Our team has always been built around pitching and defense,” Boyar said. “They came pretty strong. They have a pretty good game. Over the years we’ve gone back and forth against (East Coast Cardinals). This is the third time we’ve beaten them in the championship game. We have a real nice rivalry. There’s a good camaraderie between our clubs. Going in from year to year, we have the two teams that are highly rated. I don’t want to take anything away from the other teams, but we have the two teams that looked like they’ve been there before.”
The road to the championship game for the Bulls was not easy by no means, as Atlanta had to play some of the top teams like the Long Island Sun Devils along the way. Kivian Taylor was named the Most Valuable Player for the whole 35+ National tournament and he hit just below .600 for the Bulls. Johnny Hayes was one of the two catchers who hit for over .600 in the tournament. Chris Yates, who plays center field, also closed out two games and made two saves.
“We played seven games, with five in the round robin,” Boyar said. “Only four complete games in the entire series. In the semis, Jason Jarvis threw a three hit gem, struck out seven and walked only one. We beat the Long Island Sun Devils, which they were the only team we lost to in the five game round robin. In the two innings that Yates didn’t play center field, he really helped out in relief.”
Amongst others that played well was outfielders Dytarious Edwards and Shawn Crockett. Both played in the outfield banged up, as Edwards had a bulky knee and had Crockett pulled hamstring throughout the tourney. Some first-year players came into the tournament and performed well, with Will Bromley contributing at second base, and Adam Rowe helped out pitching and threw a shutout in the round robin stage.
“Dave Hash always comes with a very strong team,” Boyar added. “We expected to play them in the championship game. We scored one run in the first inning and two in the seventh inning. We are pretty much a veteran team. Every year we might pick-up a new player. Everybody plays their part and it makes it easy to manage the guys. We pretty much stick together.”