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2017 COBA Major League Mid-Season Recap

July 2nd, 2017 by

With the calendar ready to flip over to July, the COBA Major Senior Baseball League has already reached its halfway point with most teams sitting at 14 games played or more depending on how kind mother nature has been to them. The next few paragraphs will be an in-depth look at both divisions and how teams are fairing thus far into their season.

Johnson Division

Team Wins Losses Ties Pts. RF RA
Milton Red Sox 9 7 0 18 115 112
Niagara Metros 7 9 0 14 92 99
Burlington Brants 6 7 0 12 85 95
Oakville A’s 2 14 1 5 54 177

MILTON RED SOX – 1st Place
The Milton Red Sox currently find themselves in first place of the Johnson Division. The Milton crew led by “El Morro” George Moore, Matt McCandless and Mike Austin had a pretty rough start to the season losing their first three games pretty handily but have been able to right the ship over the past few weeks. They have had the odd blip on the radar but have now been settling into more of a consistent style of play.

The Red Sox have added a few pieces to the puzzle this year to go along with the veteran cast of regulars that have donned the blue and red over the past number of seasons. Some of the new additions include Nick Feren, Brendan Power, Brett Cameron, Dan Apostoli, Ryan Wood, Javed Baksh and Jason Schneider. Matt Lahn has also returned after a year off from the league last summer. As far as players not back, RHP Justin Volpato is with the team but has thrown limited innings this year due to injury and LHP Jeremy MacDonald has not been back since last season.

Milton has been getting a number of big contributions both on the mound and at the dish this season. Lahn (.396, 6 2B, 1 HR, 19 RBI) currently leads the team in batting average and RBIs. He has been a huge anchor for the middle of the Sox batting order. Veteran 3B Kevin Greer (.322, 7 2B, 1 HR, 12 RBI) has also been having a great season as well as 1B Kevin Cooper (.333, 4 2B, 1 HR, 10 RBI) who has been versatile in the field as well again this season. On the mound, Ian Zettle (2-1, 0.74 ERA, 8 K) has been the teams ace so far this year. Schneider (3-1, 5.26 ERA, 18 Ks) has also been solid on the mound after a five-year break from pitching. Dan Todoschuk (3 SV, 2.57 ERA, 10 K) has been a solid arm out of the pen as well as Lahn (2-0, 1.42 ERA, 9 K) who has two wins in six innings this year.

NIAGARA METROS – 2nd Place
The Niagara Metros have been playing a bit below their level compared to the last few seasons. The Senior Elims semi-finalist from last season has had some ups and downs so far this year and have struggled to be the consistent force they are used to being overall. That being said the team lead by head coach Kerry Hedden and assistant coach Rick Pillitteri still have a solid line-up and can still break out if given the opportunity to do so.

Niagara added and lost some pieces to their team this season. Added this year are pitchers Rhys Tapper and Nick Submaraniam who both come to the Niagara club via the Brock Baseball program. Andrew Cartaginese, another hurler, was also added to the roster as well as recent addition OF Danny Beaver from Oakville. C Troy Findlay shifted to Niagara from Milton and LHP Taylor Boyle has also returned to the team after a few years off. Notable absences from last year’s squad are OF Anthony Vacca, C/INF Evan Baglieri, RHP Rob Nixon, and 1B Will Nitransky

Veteran SS Jordan Grant (.315, 4 2B 1 HR, 17 RBI) has been solid offensively this season for Niagara has he leads the team in hits, doubles and RBIs. Findlay (.327, 4 2B, 6 RBI) has shown his versatility playing a few positions for his new club while veteran OFs Ricky Ferri (.349, 3 2B, 3 RBI) and Dave Davidson (.318, 2 2B, 2 HR, 11 RBI) have also been coming on strong as of late. On the mound, Dylan Perego (2-0, 2.00 ERA, 7 K) has been very good thus far while Justin Ayles (1-1, 4.29 ERA, 21 K) and Tapper (1-2, 6.27 ERA, 7 K) have also been solid for the Metros as well. In the pen, Submaraniam (1-1, 1 SV, 2.75 ERA, 23 K) has been a great addition while spot starter Dan Proctor (1-0, 2.25 ERA, 15 K) has also given the team some great innings.

BURLINGTON BRANTS – 3rd Place
The Brants have been having a steady season so far as they have been bouncing back and forth between 2nd and 3rd place in the division so far this year. The club, coached by Rick Ellis and Peter Lambert are currently sitting a game below .500 right now but that could change in a hurry with the Brants who have been swinging it well this season.

The team added a view pieces this year adding Andrew Pierce to their roster for the 2017 season. Gone from last year’s roster is veteran 1B and COBA Major journeyman Justin Czorny.

Offensively this season, the Brants have been getting a ton of output from veteran OFs Tim Sogan and Corrie Morrison; both of whom have already won the COBA Major League Player of the Week award once this season. 3B/SS Luke Posivad as well as C/2B Brock Marshall have also been having good seasons while OF Mike Westlake and 2B Darryl Pierce has also been swinging it well in the first half thus far. On the mound, Cam Ryerson has been a big bright spot for the Brants collecting a few wins thus far. Westlake along with Atasushi Urata have also been throwing well while Evan Krykowski and Jordan Rienzo have both shown well for Burlington both out of the pen and in spot start situations.

OAKVILLE A’S – 4th Place
The Oakville A’s have been struggling a bit this season and currently find themselves in last place in the Johnson division. The squad, who is run by Alex Hawley and Marc Walton, have been having issues this season as their home field Oakville Park has been shut down for the summer because of construction forcing them to play their whole schedule this season basically on the road.

The A’s lost a large part of their roster from last season. Gone are veteran players Courtney Morrales, Gord Robertson, Conrad Bach and Jeff Jarcokis. Also gone are Brad Hill, Nathan Lewko, Nic Burnell, Michael Vanderlaan, and Alex Kupchak. C Pat Griffin just departed the team as well to take on a new role within the Vancouver Canadians Baseball Team. The coaching staff was out scouting though and were able to add a number of bodies including Noah Ivanyi, Chris Grittani, Blake Donaldson, Nick Boyd, Sean McLean, Travis Rumney, as well as brothers Humsa and Ismail Patel. The A’s have a number of bodies on their roster and some great talent but the issue for coaching staff has been getting everyone to the park at the same time.

Veteran Thomas Biskup (.347, 17 H, 2 2B, 7 RBI) currently leads the team in hitting, hits, and RBI. Julian Richards (.308, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI) has also been swinging a great stick. Curtis Braun (.300, 1 2B, 2 RBI) has been helping out offensively while junior call up Troy Lacoste (.350, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI) has also been a nice addition to the line-up when he can get out. On the bump, Braun (2-0, 1.20 ERA, 13 K) has been very solid collecting both wins for the team thus far. Grittani (0-2, 7.47 ERA, 7 K), Ivanyi (0-2, 10.16 ERA, 13 K) and Donaldson (0-2, 5.62 ERA, 13 K) have all been getting their bearings in the league while veteran Matt Chisamore (0-1, 10.95 ERA, 13 K) has been good out of the pen for Oakville.

Andrews Division

Team Wins Losses Ties Pts. RF RA
Etobicoke Rangers 11 4 1 23 157 100
Erindale Cardinals 10 4 0 20 146 106
Mississauga SW Twins 7 6 0 14 94 76
Brampton Royals 6 7 2 14 121 99

ETOBICOKE RANGERS – 1st Place
The Etobicoke Rangers once again find themselves atop of the heap in the COBA Major League again at the midpoint of the season. After a bit of a slow start, the team has now started to roll again as they are currently riding five game unbeaten streak. Long time manager Steve “Whitey” Breitner, as well as coaches Jon Kielb and Bill Thompson, seem have to the team clicking on all cylinders this season as they possess a very dangerous hitting lineup and can roll out some very strong pitching again this season.

The Rangers have pretty much returned the core of their 2016 squad. New to the team in 2017 are Alex Thrower, Brendan Lyons, Brent Cleland, and Brandon Costa. Gone from last year are RP Bryan Vardzel, OF Justin Gianfrancesco, LHPs Gary Rose and Max Clarke. SS Kevin Cleland has also played a very limited amount of games this year.

Veteran OF Daniel Murphy (.478, 7 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 23 RBI) currently leads the team in average, doubles, home runs and RBIs. Thrower (.475, 19 H, 5 RBI, 8 SB) is right behind Murphy in average and has been a great stick at the top of the order. 3B Ryan Panas (.387, 4 2B, 14 RBI) is having another solid year so far while veterans Mark Capone (.351, 5 2B, 4 RBI) and AJ Iafrate (.351, 4 2B, 1 HR, 14 RBI) continue to contribute year after year with the club. On the mound, 2016 Pitcher of the Year Kyle Breitner (1-0-1, 2 Sv, 1.74 ERA, 28 K) continues to anchor a very deep pitching staff. Both Adam McBride (2-0, 4.67 ERA, 9 K) and Kyle Angelow (2-0, 6.32 ERA, 14 K) have also been throwing well so far this year while Tyler Whealy (2-1, 5.68 ERA, 5 K) as been filling in the rotation nicely. Andrew Hyde (1-1, 7.65 ERA, 15 K) and rookie Lyons (1-1, 7.65 ERA, 17 K) have been contributing as well while Brent Cleland (2-0, 0.61 ERA, 16 K) has been solid out of the pen for the Rangers.

ERINDALE CARDINALS – 2nd Place
The Erindale Cardinals have made some big strides since last season as they are currently sitting only three points back of Etobicoke for top spot in the COBA Major Senior League. They Cards came out hot this season winning their first five games in a row and five of their last nine contests. The club, managed by Greg Cranker and Tim Gasparotto, have been hitting the baseball a ton as evidence by their .353 team batting average. Pitching and defense have also been good but like every team could be better from night to night.

The Cardinals have done some re-vamping to their roster over the past few seasons and did the same again this past year. They returned a good core of their players from last year but also had some major holes to fill as well. New to the club this season are brothers Kevin + Sean Alp, Josh Marson, Ricardo Marin, and Trevaun Smith. Also, back after a bit of a hiatus is Alex Perez. As mentioned the veteran Cardinals lost some big pieces to their club as slugger Geoff Cullen, Frankie Coccia, Ian Bala, Andrew Petruk, and Damien Eccelton all packed it in at the end of 2016.

Powerhouse Chris Novia (.431, 4 2B, 6 HR, 19 RBI) currently leads the team in batting average, runs and home runs. Jay Woodfrod (.403, 4 2B, 6 HR, 23 RBI) has been keeping pace with Novia putting up another great season as well. Aaron Palmer (.415, 3 2B, 11 RBI) adds some depth to the potent Erindale offense while veteran John DeWolfe (.393, 7 2B, 11 RBI) and newcomer Kevin Alp (.361, 5 2B, 2 HR, 11 RBI) have also been piecing together great years so far. On the mound, big lefty Andrew Mullin (2-0, 1 Sv, 2.28 ERA, 25 K) leads the team in ERA and strikeouts to this point. Veteran Dan Nauth (5-0, 7.50 ERA, 13 K) has been throwing well as well as DeWolfe (1-0, 0.00, ERA, 5 K) in limited action so far. Dan Estey (0-2, 2 Sv 7.17 ERA, 13 K) leads the team with two saves out of the bullpen.

MISSISSAUGA SW TWINS – 3rd Place
The Mississauga SW Twins have been having a bit of an up-and-down year so far in league play. The Twins have been one of the more feared teams in the province these past few years but were a bit slow of the gate this season. That being said, the club coached my Mike Smith and Dave Paish have been picking it up as of late as they are currently riding a four-game win streak and are out of the basement of the Andrews division.

The Twins have pretty much carried the same roster over the past few seasons with not many changes to their everyday lineup. They still possess one of the best pitching staffs in the province and can hit when needed. They have only added one player to their roster this season in Sid Elford. Gone from last year’s team is catcher Adam Chong.

Jamie Smith (.457, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR) is listed as the team’s top hitter by average. Brother Jerome Smith (.396, 6 2B, 3 HR, 10 RBI) leads the team in doubles and walks and is tied with Mike Cardinale (.333, 4 2B, 3 HR, 15 RBI) for the lead in home runs. INF Josh Federico (.375, 3 2B, 3 RBI) and Brendan Emmett (.303, 1 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI) have both performed while in limited action. Big righty Jordan Petruska (3-0, 1.57 ERA, 21 K) has been the team’s most effective pitcher so far this season. Both Kyle Porter (2-2, 5.14 ERA, 9 K) and James Byrnes (2-1, 5.02 ERA, 9K) are right behind Petruska with two wins a piece. Billy Hurley (0-0, 4.71 ERA, 35 K) has yet to record a decision yet this year but has shown he is still one of the premier power pitcher in the province and Billy Martin (1-0, 1 Sv, 4.50 ERA, 5 K) has been good in limited innings.

BRAMPTON ROYALS – 4th Place
The Brampton Royals are sitting just under .500 at the mid point of the season this year. The Royals have been playing some good baseball this year but have just come up on the short end of a few close games otherwise they could be higher up in the standings then they are now. The team made a few changes in the off season including their coaching staff which is now comprised of GM Dave Flannagan and coaches JR Pinlac and Joe Ferreira Sr.

Along with the coaching staff, there were some changing on the playing roster as well. Added to the Royals roster this season were Keegan Murphy, Brandon Habibulah, Christian Hopski, Adam Velocci, Eric Ferreira, Barnes O’Neill and Brandon Manley. The team also just recently added Daniel Campos to their roster as well. Gone from last year are veterans Brandon Habibi and Joey Nonis as well as Ricky James and Garrett Ferguson.

Murphy (.467, 4 2B, 19 RBI) currently leads the team in average and is tied for 2nd on the team in RBI with Joe Ferreira (.378, 5 2B, 2 HR, 19 RBI) who is also putting together another solid season. Veteran C/3B Marco DiRoma (.460, 4 2B, 2 HR, 22 RBI) is right behind Murphy in batting average and leads the team in RBIs. Manley (.379, 2 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI) is also having a good year while 1B Vic Speciale (.352, 3 2B, 1 HR, 9 RBI) is off to a good start as well. On the mound, southpaw Mike Burke (2-0, 2.31 ERA, 7 K) currently leads the team in ERA and is tied with Ferreira (2-0, 4.50 ERA, 10 K) and RJ Page (2-1, 6.41 ERA, 30 K) for most wins on the team. Steve Hough (1-1, 8.68 ERA, 15 K) and Brad McLaughlin (1-0, 6.75 ERA, 11 K) have also given some good innings while lefty O’Neill (0-0, 1 Sv, 4.38 ERA, 12 K) has been good out of the pen for Brampton.

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