CHAMPION-- Buffalo Battistoni Diesel
RUNNER-UP -- Lombard Orioles
MVP's--Tom LaCongo, Nick Jasinski
BATTING CHAMPION-- Jax Kalemba
Championship Final Score-- Buffalo Diesel 4 Lombard Orioles 3
|Tariq Suboh||Chicago Clout (IL)||C|
|Marty Coyle||Beecher Muskies (IL)||C|
|Tom LaCongo||Buffalo Diesel (NY)||C CoMVP|
|Josh Bowers||Hattiesburg Black Sox (MS)||1B|
|Vantrel Reed||Hattiesburg Black Sox (MS)||2B|
|Giovanni Diaz||Brooklyn Sports Fever (NY)||SS|
|Jessie Zellner||Team Deb (NY)||3B|
|Neal Demartin||Buffalo Diesel (NY)||UTIL|
|Matt Wietlispach||Buffalo Diesel (NY)||UTIL|
|Jake Finkbeiner||Manistee Saints (MI)||UTIL|
|Danny Passinault||Manistee Saints (MI)||OF|
|Jax Kalemba||Chicago Clout (IL)||OF Batting Champion|
|Max Giordano||Buffalo Diesel (NY)||OF|
|Carson Roberts||Lombard Orioles (IL)||OF|
|Larry Mark Dye||Beecher Muskies ((IL)||OF|
|Andy Gayton||Lombard Orioles (IL)||OF|
|Max Downs||Chicago Clout (IL)||OF|
|Nick Jasinski||Buffalo Diesel (NY)||DH Co MVP|
|Kashif Hill||Brooklyn Sports Fever (NY)||DH|
|Darius Wright||Hattiesburg Black Sox (NY)||P|
|Nick Walczak||Lombard Orioles (IL)||P|
|Connor McLaughlin||South Bend Royals (MI)||P|
|Tre Hobbs||Hattiesburg Black Sox (MS)||P|
|Zack Milsap||Beecher Muskies (IL)||P|
|Charlie Klemm||Lombard Orioles (IL)||P|
|Tate Herman||BC Merchants (MI)||P|
Battle Creek, MI – The 108th Charles Blackburn Major Division World Series was hosted by the Southern Michigan Amateur Baseball Association (SMABA) for the ninth time in the past ten years with all 31 games being played at Bailey Park. Like last year, 16 teams were placed into pools of four where the top two teams from each pool advanced to the quarterfinals. Teams were from the Midwestern, Northeastern, and Southern United States coming from seven states. Addison Braves, Beecher Muskies, Chicago Clout, and Lombard Orioles represented Illinois, and Fort Wayne Blues and South Bend Royals were from Indiana. Michigan was represented by the Battle Creek Merchants and Manistee Saints, while Mississippi had the Hattiesburg Black Sox. Hackensack SoX and Hackensack Troast and Brooklyn Sports Fever, Buffalo Diesel and Team Deb were from New Jersey and New York, respectively. Lastly, Berea Blue Sox and Mahoning Valley Buckeyes represented Ohio in the World Series.
The 2022 edition of the NABF Major World Series was one of the most competitive in recent memory, where the tournament featured nine one-run games with four in the quarterfinals alone, which didn’t feature the two-time defending champions in the Berea Blue Sox. After losing 6-1 to Team Deb to finish Pool D play, they entered a tiebreaker against the Clout, who each gave up a total of 9 runs in games except ones against Addison. Runs scored in the same games went next, and Chicago scored 15 to Berea’s 5, sending the Clout to the quarterfinals and the Blue Sox home.
Team Deb won Pool D and faced the Lombard Orioles in the first extra-inning quarterfinal, which saw Lombard win 8-7 on a walk-off walk, advancing to the semifinals. The Pool C winner, Beecher Muskies, faced Brooklyn Sports Fever and the former won 7-6 in come from behind fashion. In the first semi, the Orioles took care of the Muskies in a 4-1 defeat and headed to Sunday’s championship game.
The Pool A winners were the Hattiesburg Black Sox, who took on an experienced Buffalo Diesel squad which ended on a thrilling game-winning hit to left, giving Diesel the 4-3 victory in 10 innings. In the final quarterfinal, the 3-0 Manistee Saints fell to the Chicago Clout, the Pool D runners up, 10-9 in a contest that went 11 innings. The last semi saw the only blowout of bracket play with the Diesel scoring 12 runs, its highest output of the tournament, in a 9-run win over the Clout.
In the championship, the Orioles were seeking their second title while Diesel looked for a third in seven years. Lombard manager Jeff Vukovich gave the baseball to left-hander John Veselick who allowed a leadoff home run to Max Giordano but sent down the next three to retire the side. Joe DiLeo took the ball for Diesel, who retired the Orioles 1-2-3, where he struck out Jack Sheri and Nate Mieszkowski.
Veselick kept Buffalo off the scoreboard after having a clean inning despite allowing a one-out single to Max Schmarder. Lombard took a 3-1 lead in the home half on one swing by Carson Roberts. Kyle Fitzgerald and Jake Novak were hit by a pitch and walked, respectively, and then two batters later, Roberts launched a three-run homer putting his club in front.
The Orioles’ lead didn’t last long as in the very next frame Diesel scored three runs with a pair coming with two outs. Giordano blasted his second home run of the game to the same spot, left field, making it now 3-2 Orioles. Matt Wiestlispach, Nick Jasinski, and Mike Wagner reached on three consecutive singles to load the bases. Schmarder laced a single to left center field that scored Wiestlispach while an error by Lombard centerfielder Andy Gayton on the play also allowed Jasinski to cross the plate.
With the Orioles behind 4-3, they needed a rally that looked promising after Gayton singled and stole second, however, was picked off by Buffalo catcher Tom LaCongo. Scheri followed with a double, and instead of it being tied 4-4, there was a runner at second and one out. Mieszkowski flew out to Giordano in center field, and two batters later, Novak grounded out to Neal Demartin at first.
Veselick threw up a zero in the four where he faced the minimum despite allowing a Ryan Baroudi one-out single, who eventually got caught in a 1-3-6-4 run down. Lombard’s bats went quiet in their half as DiLeo generated weak contact, keeping it a 4-3 Diesel lead.
Buffalo had a chance to add on in the fifth when Jasinski and Wagner collected back-to-back two-out base hits, but Veselick struck out Schmarder swinging. All Lombard could muster in the bottom half off DiLeo was a walk that didn’t advance on Mieszkowski’s at-bat since he lined one right back to the mound that the Diesel right-hander snagged.
At the start of the sixth inning, the clouds started getting darker as Buffalo scored three times to increase its lead to 7-3. DiLeo only faced Fitzgerald in the home half, who he punched out before the rain started falling hard at C.O. Brown Stadium. The teams went to their respective dugouts, and fans looked for cover. Roughly 40 minutes later, the game was called and declared Buffalo Diesel the winners over Lombard Orioles 4-3 in five innings.
Buffalo began to celebrate on the wet field while being drenched by the rain where they were awarded the NABF Charles Blackburn Major Division World Series Championship trophy.