Chesapeake MSBL, 22+ National Division
Yard Goats 10, Bullsharks 6
Submitted by Zack Phillips, Goat’s manager
The Goats have come a long way from their inaugural season four years ago when they went a morbid 2-13. The 2021 season started off poorly as the Goats dropped four of their first five games, losing some in a heartbreaking fashion. They would end up turning things around, going 15- 5 for the remainder of the season on route to their first championship in the 22+ National division.
On the mound, the Goats were led by workhorses (Fireballer) Wade Colon, and Taylor Yeago, as the two combined for almost half of the team’s total innings pitched. Rory Costello was almost unhittable down the final stretch, as he recorded 40 strikeouts on 97 batters faced. Cold-blooded Dylan Robson closed in many critical situations, rarely batting an eye, or frankly even a smile. Kevin Schroder and Eric Style also pitched gems.
On the offensive side of the ball, Joe Rowe, Dylan Robson, Taylor Yeago, Kyle Mansour, Kevin Schroder, and Joe Aliano all had great seasons, each hitting for averages over .400. Mansour led the team in all extra-base hit categories sporting a team-high 1.350 OPS, while Rowe worked exclusively with first base, leading the team in both singles and hit by pitches. Kevin Schroder had potentially the greatest at-bat in Goats’ history (in the championship game no less), fouling off five consecutive pitches in a 10 pitch at-bat, only to end with a momentum-swinging triple. Walt Lazusky continued to refine his plate approach, smoking his first double this season, and looking ever more yoked in the process. Chris Lancaster stayed poised as he poked a single in a late-game rally as the Goats stormed back from a huge deficit.
Newcomers Christian Melendez and Caleb Burkes made huge contributions on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Centerfield became a black hole of flyouts under the defense of speedster Burkes, while Melendez became a team favorite with his great overall play, friendly persona, and most importantly, supplying the team with a ‘Theragun’. Ray Spencer continues to impress at first base with impeccable footwork, glove skills, and one of the most impressive bare-handed over-the-shoulder grabs ever seen. Carlo Grisset made some great full-speed stretched-out catches in the outfield, saving potential extra-base hits and runs.
I would like to thank my knees for holding out for a least one more season, as my temporary catching assignment reached its fourth season. Eric Style played great defense in the outfield and gritted through arm pain when the team needed him to pitch. He also remembered how many outs there were once or twice on the basepath, so that was cool.
The Goats bid farewell to Joe Aliano, Christian Melendez, and original goat Andrew Cooman. In his second to last game as a Goat, Andrew Cooman’s single in the bottom of the fifth inning of the first playoff game sparked a rally that would give the Goats their winning runs of the game. Their friendships and gameplay will all be sorely missed as they carry on the Goats fighting spirit in their next stages in life.
The team looks forward to running it back next season where new friendships and memories await! GO GOATS!