The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Mike Mastovich

July 30, 2010

MIKE MASTOVICH | Turnout strong for AAABA playoffs

JOHNSTOWN — The fact that both regular-season champion Martella’s Pharmacy and runner-up Delweld each have locked up spots in the upcoming AAABA Tournament didn’t curb interest in their championship series.

A crowd estimated at more than 500 – some in the press box guessed the attendance was closer to 700 – watched Delweld’s 10-0 win in Game 1 of the best-of-5 series at Point Stadium on Wednesday.

Throughout the stands were groups of fans wearing the colorful t-shirts and hats associated with their respective team, orange and blue for Martella’s and gold and blue for Delweld.

Martella’s and Delweld established themselves as the class of the now five-team league and their fan bases mirror that success.

With both teams representing Johnstown in the 66th AAABA Tournament beginning on Aug. 9, those same fans will have two opportunities to see a local team through at least the first two days of the tournament.

There is one downside to having the top two teams in the tournament though.

As mentioned in this space back in March, the local playoff winner won’t be able to pick up players for the tournament from the runner-up squad.

If Delweld repeats as playoff champ, manager Chris DelSignore won’t have any Martella’s players on his roster. If Martella’s comes back to claim the title, manager Chris Pfeil won’t have a Delweld presence in his lineup.

The two managers will have the option to select as many as four players from the three remaining teams, none of which won more than

12 games. That doesn’t mean there aren’t worthy pick-ups out there. In fact, there are members of the Berkley Hills Renegades, Roxberry Creamery and Principle Development who would fit nicely on a tournament roster.

But that doesn’t diminish the fact that either a Delweld champion or a Martella’s champ would be much stronger with a few of the league’s top players from the other front-runner’s roster.

That’s the trade off for having two spots in the 16-team bracket.

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Mike Mastovich
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