Team Gold of the Executive Baseball League is locking up a reputation of dynasty after winning its second championship in a row.
Finishing in third place with a 12-8-1 record, most people knew the team would fair well in the playoffs, centerfielder Robbie Cooper said, but two other teams finished ahead of them.
Cooper gave credit to standout pitcher Adam Hennick.
“Our pitcher was outstanding and he went 5-0 last year in the playoffs … and he went 5-0 this year,” Cooper said. “He wound up winning the playoff MVP award for the league.
“He’s not a massive strikeout pitcher but he’s a left-hander and a real pitcher,” he added. “He moved the ball around and kept them off balance.”
After last season’s first-place 15-4 record, and first championship title, it was decreed that key players Stan Cappe, Norm Nefsky and Larry Teitel would be traded for Andy Silverstein and septuagenarian brothers Laurie and Greg Garbe.
When it mattered most, Laurie, 75, got two key hits at crucial times in the finals.
“You’d think the lion’s share of the work would be done by the younger guys but in the playoffs in particular our 75-year-old came up with the bases loaded twice and both times doubled off a hard fastball,” Cooper said.
Coached by catcher Lorne Bloomberg and buoyed by the championship experience of three-time winner David Eisenstadt, Gold shrugged off naysayers and swept Navy Blue in two games, winning 14-5 and 10-2.
Navy Blue finished second at 13-4-2 while Red squeaked into first with a 15-5-1 record.
“It wasn’t as though we dominated, we just played really good defence,” Cooper said.
Also contributing to the run was lead-off hitter Jeff Krupski, Mike Krestell, league MVP Steven Yermus, pitcher Larry Krupski, Rick Meslin, Jeff Marcus, Andy Silverstein, Walter Gula and Al Mervyn.
Next on the agenda: A three-peat.
“You have to go for it,” Cooper said. “The league tried to water down our team from last year as much as they could.”
Obviously to no avail.