BATTLE CREEK, MI
Winner: Lombard Orioles, IL
Runner-Up: Brunswick Orioles, MD
Final Game Score: Lombard Orioles 16 vs. Brunswick Orioles 5
MVP - Rob Marinec, Lombard Orioles Batting Champion - Steve Ross, Berea Blue Sox (12-24, .500)
Lombard Wins the “Battle of the Birds” for the 2018 NABF Major Division Title
Historic Sixteen Run Sixth Inning Gives Lombard Their First NABF Crown
On a sunny Sunday afternoon, the 105th NABF Charles Blackburn Major Division World Series returned to the “Land of Lincoln”, as the Lombard (Illinois) Orioles defeated the Brunswick (Maryland) Orioles 16-5. The Brunswick Orioles reached the championship game as a wild card team and attacked Lombard to gain a 4-0 advantage after 5 innings. In the top half of the 6th inning, and with 1 out, Lombard put on a show that had never before been witnessed in the history of the NABF, as the Orioles pounded out 13 hits and were aided by 5 Brunswick errors to put 16 runs on the scoreboard, to capture their first NABF championship.
Veteran manager Jeff Vukovich’s team had reached the 2015 NABF championship game, only to fall to the Buffalo Battistoni Diesel 7-3. Lombard has also captured two AABC championships during Vukovich’s tenure as the skipper of the Orioles. This year’s NABF championship ended a season that saw Lombard win 65 games, while losing just 5 games on the season.
The surprising Brunswick Orioles had reached the title tilt after going 1-2 in pool play. They then proceeded to eliminate the Muskegon Blue Jays in the quarterfinal, and eliminated the hard-hitting Berea Blue Sox 8-6 in the semi-final clash on Saturday night.
Lombard’s path to the championship began with a loss to Muskegon of 7-4 in 11 innings to begin pool play. Lombard then proceeded to go on a five game winning streak, with wins over Brunswick and Hackensack in pool play; disposing of Fort Wayne in the quarterfinal game; and then edging the previously undefeated Beecher Muskies 4-2 in a classic battle between the 2 rivals from the Chicago Suburban Baseball League. The semi-final game was the third meeting between the 2 teams after each team had won a one-run decision in the regular season.
The eighteen game pool play schedule saw Fort Wayne, Muskegon, and the Beecher Muskies at the top after pool play. The Buffalo Battistoni Diesel, Lombard Orioles, and Berea Blue Sox finished second in their respective pools, with the 2 wild cards awarded to the Brunswick Orioles and the host team, the Battle Creek Merchants, who knocked off Joliet in game 18 to capture the second wild card and a spot in the 8 team, single elimination bracket.
The 105th NABF World Series was very memorable. Notable moments include raising $4,500 to Strike Out ALS on “Pack the Park” night, and the opening ceremony, which included recent Medal of Honor recipient Jim McCloughan. A special mention goes to the Hackensack (New Jersey) Troasts, who displayed tremendous sportsmanship, professionalism, and sacrifice to the success of the 105th NABF Charles Blackburn World Series.
And yes, Battle Creek is very proud that a record continued, as the “Cereal City” has hosted 6 World Series and has never had a rain delay. 125 games, and we hope to continue the record in 2019.
|All-Tournament Team Manager||Hackensack Troasts||Butch Bellenger|
|Catcher||Lombard Orioles||Rob Marinec|
|Catcher||Brunswick Orioles||Quinn Ambault|
|Infielder||Lombard Orioles||Kyle Fitzgerald|
|Infielder||Berea Blue Sox||Steve Ross|
|1B||Beecher Muskies||Zack Barkdull|
|1B||Muskegon Blue Jays||Andrew Bard|
|2B||Brooklyn Sports Fever||Bruce Valentin|
|2B||Beecher Muskies||Anthony Cocco|
|3B||Beecher Muskies||Colin Bedell|
|3B||Buffalo Battistoni Diesel||Rob Luehrsen|
|SS||Brunswick Orioles||Al Lee|
|SS||Fort Wayne Jackers||William Geeslin|
|OF||Berea Blue Sox||Darius Washington|
|OF||Berea Blue Sox||Jake Plata|
|OF||Beecher Muskies||Andrew Olszewski|
|OF||Brunswick Orioles||Syeed Mahdi|
|OF||Muskegon Blue Jays||Brendon Penny|
|OF||Lombard Orioles||Dylan Gilberts|
|OF||Battle Creek Merchants||Mickey Losey|
|Pitcher||Brunswick Orioles||Myles Gayman|
|Pitcher||Lombard Orioles||Jack Bellinger|
|Pitcher||Berea Blue Sox||Jeff Petkac|
|Pitcher||Beecher Muskies||Adam Panayotovich|
|Pitcher||Hackensack Troasts||Corey Feigenshaw|
|Pitcher||Buffalo Battistoni Diesel||Zach Jordan|