The AAABA League closed on Thursday night at Point Stadium, but the game that wasn’t played made for an unusual end to the regular season.
Citing injuries and the loss of several pitchers throughout the season, Delweld manager Chris DelSignore forfeited the scheduled late game at the Point to Martella’s Pharmacy.
Martella’s officially won 7-0.
Delweld (25-9) already had clinched first place. The forfeit win enabled Martella’s (22-12) to finish second based on a tiebreaker over idle Berkley Hills Renegades (22-12).
Laurel Auto Group (21-13) ended with a win over last-place First Commonwealth (4-30). Idle Ophthalmic Associates
(9-25) finished fifth.
“We’re kind of banged up after playing a lot of games in a short amount of time. We took a look at what our pitching situation was like and we’re pretty thin,” DelSignore said. “The game meant nothing to us. In the end, having two days off heading into the playoffs was more important to us. We acted in the best interest of our team.”
AAABA Director Denny Altimore alerted the media of the forfeit.
“Pitching. Injuries. He didn’t want to get anybody hurt. It’s combination of things,” Altimore said. “As a league director, naturally, I cannot condone what was done. I hope in the future it doesn’t happen again. But Delweld did what they thought was in the best interest of their team.”
DelSignore said he faced the prospect of using a patchwork pitching unit on Thursday.
“What we were left with was basically throwing position players as pitchers,” DelSignore said. “We’ve lost five players from our opening-day roster. We had a pitcher get drafted (Ian Stiffler). We had another pitcher go to play in another league (Bobby Carbaugh). We lost two other players to injuries. We’re not as deep as people might think right now. At the end of the day, I’m going to do what’s best for my players.”
DelSignore realized the decision probably didn’t sit well with Berkley Hills or Laurel Auto Group.
The Renegades would have finished a game ahead of Martella’s had Delweld won. Laurel Auto would have moved into a tie with Martella’s and won the tiebreaker had Delweld won.
“Having players out of position, we’re not going to risk any more injuries than we’ve already sustained,” DelSignore said, noting the likelihood of winning under such circumstances also diminishes. “We have college players and I don’t think their coaches would appreciate position players pitching in a game that has no bearing. Every game that we play counts. If we would have played tonight, it would have looked like we were throwing the game. I would have rather done what we did and give everybody a heads-up (Thursday) morning, which we did.”
Laurel Auto GM Casey Craig said his team had no comment on the forfeit. Attempts to reach Laurel manager Mark Thomchik, Martella’s manager Chris Pfeil and Renegades manager Larry McCabe by telephone late Thursday night were unsuccessful.
The AAABA League semifinals will begin on Saturday at Point Stadium. Laurel Auto will play Delweld at 5:30, with the Renegades and Martella’s meeting at approximately 8 p.m.
The semifinals will continue with games at the same times each night through Wednesday, if necessary. The teams in the early and late games will rotate each night, as well as who is home team.
Laurel Auto Group 7, First Commonwealth 6: In the season finale at Point Stadium, Laurel Auto Group won a back-and-forth slugfest against First Commonwealth Bank.
The lead changed hands five times. First Commonwealth took a 4-1 advantage in the top of the second, but Laurel tallied five runs in its final two at-bats.
Zac Heide doubled and drove in two runs, and Gordon Barr tripled and plated a pair for Laurel Auto.
Zaine Tomkowski doubled for First Commonwealth as the teams combined for 24 hits, including 13 by Laurel Auto.
Martella’s Pharmacy 11, Ophthalmic Associates 0: At the Point, Luke Williams was
2-for-3 including a two-run home run in the fourth and drove in four runs as Martella’s shut out Ophthalmic in five innings in Wednesday’s late game.
Tony Strasiser was 2-for-4 with two doubles, a run scored and a run batted in while Pat Gully was 2-for-4 with three RBI.
Ryan Vogt had a double for Ophthalmic’s lone hit.