West Metro Atlanta Men’s Senior Baseball League, Saturday Morning

Submitted by Brian Rusch, Red Braves manager

After winning the 45+ age division of the WMASBL Saturday morning league in 2018 and 2019, the Red Braves were poised to make a run at a three-peat in 2020.  But like most things in 2020, nothing went as planned.  In order to make sure we had a league this year, we had to consolidate divisions and the Red Braves competed in the 35+ age division.  We completed the regular season with a 4-5 record.

In the playoffs, the Red Braves squared off against the GA Dawgs.  The Red Braves were paced with solid pitching performances from Craig Schilling and Matt Novis.  After a rocky start, they held the GA Dawgs to one run in the final eight innings.  In total, they combined to give up eight hits and only two walks over nine innings.  On offense, the Red Braves took advantage of control problems from the opposing pitcher and rallied for a six-run fourth inning and never looked back.  Dan Longacre and I notched two hits apiece, as the Red Braves also had singles from Frank Neville, Craig Schilling and Matt Novis on the way to a 10-5 win.

In the championship game, the Redbirds proved to be too much for the Red Braves to handle.  Taking advantage of miscues and outhitting the Red Braves 18-9, the Redbirds pulled away to a 17-6 win.  The Red Braves received offensive contributions from Frank Neville, Craig Schilling and Phillip Edwards, contributing two hits each, along with a double from Matt Novis and singles from Troy Hodges and Dan Longacre.

In these strange times, it was great to get out and do something that felt normal – like play a baseball game.  It was a strange, challenging, but rewarding season as we all got to play the kids’ game and remind us that some things, like the love of the game, can’t be taken away by a pandemic.

The Red Braves look forward to coming back in 2021 for another run at a championship!