The Junior Baseball League of Nassau (JBLN) crowned champions in all seven divisions this past week, officially ending its 30th season of youth baseball with an added softball component. Highlighting the festivities of the playoffs and championships were a pair of undefeated teams.
The Green Parrot Bears finished off an undefeated season in the Tee Ball (six-and-under – 6U) Division, and the Dairy Queen Distributors ended the 2019 season unbeaten in girls softball (15-and-over – 15O).
“The 2019 JBLN baseball and softball season was a smashing success. As expected, the championship series were epic and everyone was thrilled by the play this season,” said league president Jeffrey Walcott. “We are very excited about our plans for next year and we look forward to putting on an even better season. On behalf of the board, I would like to thank the players, coaches, parents, spectators and more importantly, our committed volunteers who are the catalysts of our league. I can’t wait for 2020 season – expanding and continuing our commitment to youth sports in this beautiful country.”
As for the Bears, they were the best in the Tee Ball Division all season, and ended it that way with a convincing win over the Snapple Thunder Cats in the championship series. Behind a strong defensive effort, the Bears took vout the Thunder Cats, 17-5, in game one and then erupted for 28 runs in game two, winning that game easily, 28-13, to sweep the best-of-three championship series two games to none.
In the single elimination playoff game, the Thunder Cats took down the two-time defending champions, Island Wholesale Hot Fries, 20-17.
In total, the pennant-winning Bears finished the season with 11 wins, no losses and one tie. They even won all five of their preseason games and two scrimmage games against the top Tee Ball team from the Freedom Farm Baseball League. The Bears were truly dominant as they won 10 of their 11 games in the regular season by the mercy rule, and both games in the championship series by the mercy rule.
“It’s just a testament to the hard work that those boys put in all season long,” said the team’s head coach. “We knew we had the best team from the beginning but we still had to go out there and work for it. We started the season off with just one player who could catch a line drive and ended the season with about six to seven players who could catch a line drive. That’s progress. I couldn’t be prouder of them. Sometimes, winning could get a bit boring and monotonous but those boys showed up for practices on a regular basis and brought the same level of excitement to all of the games. Kudos to them. Thanks to all of the coaches, parents, and of course the players themselves for making it possible. I believe this might just be the best Tee Ball team in the history of JBLN. They achieved the ultimate goal of finishing off an undefeated season, and we will certainly celebrate their accomplishments.”
The Super Value Rays avoided an upset in the Coach Pitch (eight-and-under – 8U) Division as they came from one game down in the the best-of-three championship series to prevail two games to one over the Tropicana Pirates. That was the only championship series in the JBLN this season that went to a third and decisive game. The Rays lost game one, 9-8, easily won game two, 11-1, and then won a thriller in the decisive game three, 8-7.
The Rays won the pennant with a 14-1 win/loss record, losing their only game of the regular season by default. The Pirates actually ended the season in the third position, but took down the second place Tropical Shipping Cubs in the single elimination playoff game, 13-10.
In the Minor (10-and-under – 10U) Division, the pennant-winning John Bull Astros finished off the Fidelity Bank Diamondbacks in two games to repeat as champions. They won game one, 22-12, and then took game two, 28-20. The Astros finished the regular season with a 12-1-2 win-loss-tie record.
The second place Diamondbacks took down the third place Blue Bird Royals in the single elimination playoff game, 17-12.
The Solomon’s Athletics reigned supreme in the Major (12-and-under – 12U) Division, finishing off the FYP Marlins in a two-game sweep. The Athletics won game one, 6-5 and easily took game two, 10-2. The pennant-winning Athletics finished the regular season with a 14-4-2 win-loss-tie record.
The Marlins outlasted the third place ERA Real Estate Yankees in the single elimination playoff game, 4-3.
In the Junior (14-and-under – 14U) Division, the Scotiabank Phillies repeated as champions, upsetting the pennant-winning Equity Trust Dodgers in the championship series. The Phillies swept the Dodgers two games to none, winning game one, 20-5, and squeezing past the Dodgers in game two, 4-3.
The Dodgers won the pennant with an 11-5 win-loss record, but was no match for the Phillies in the championship rematch from a year ago. In the single elimination playoff game, the second place Phillies took down the third place Pinder’s Customs Orioles, 7-1.
There was also an upset in the Senior (15-and-over – 15O) Division, as the second place Multi Discount Brewers knocked off the pennant-winning Snack Pack Rangers in the best-of-three championship series. The Brewers won the series two games to none, taking game one, 9-7, and outlasting the Rangers, 8-7, in game two.
The Rangers won the pennant with an 8-3 win-loss record. In the single elimination playoff game, the second place Brewers defeated the third place Caribbean Landscape Braves, 9-3.
In girls softball (12-and-over – 12O), the Distributors ended an undefeated season, taking down the McCormick Spice Girls in two games in the championship series. The pennant-winning Distributors squeezed past the Spice Girls in game one, 19-18, and then erupted for 20 runs in game two, to easily win that game, 20-4. They won the pennant with a 17-0-1 win-loss-tie record.
In the single elimination playoff game, the second place Spice Girls outlasted the third place Academic Skills Crushers, 6-5.
“Effort, Attitude, Teamwork (EAT) is the mantra which we played by and have done the entire season,” said Distributors’ Head Coach Shane Albury. “We set several goals, one of which was to win the pennant, hence giving us an automatic championship berth and avoiding the single game elimination playoff game. Once we got to the championship it was important to keep the team humble yet confident, focused and hungry for postseason battle. Winning the pennant made us a bigger target, but once we executed the way I knew that we could I had no doubt that we would be victorious.”
Albury said it was not until their pre-game huddle before game two that they talked about having an undefeated season.
“We went into game two with one goal in mind – finish them with a knockout punch. I showed the team a seven-second video clip of a boxing match with a knockout punch. With that, we went to the plate and on the field with an attitude that was focussed, fierce and fiery – determined to win the championship that night,” said Albury. “I’m extremely proud of the team. They all bought in to my philosophy. Quite honestly, before the game, several players mentioned that they were ready to EAT. I loved the energy and deep down, I had a good feeling going into the game. Our ace pitcher Sari Albury, albeit battling the flu, was focused and ready to lead the team to victory. The entire Dairy Queen family including sponsor Derek Osbourne, who was in attendance at both games, former players, parents, family and friends celebrate the Dairy Queen Distributors championship.”
Ace pitcher Albury is the daughter of the head coach.
Next up for JBLN is the awards ceremony set for Saturday, June 15 at the JBLN Field of Dreams Complex at St. Andrew’s. Also, the league’s final fundraiser for the 2019 season, the ‘Havana Night’ event, is tentatively set for June 15. The original date was May 18, but it was postponed. According to league organizers, the new date will be confirmed in short order, and tickets sold will be honored on that date.
The league released a statement which read: “Players, coaches, administrators, volunteers and parents should all be proud and grateful as the 2019 season which began in September 2018 and just ended resulted in eight months of organized youth baseball and softball with a commitment to the youth of the nation.”
Online registration for the new season is expected to be opened in September.