Tuesday, November 20, 2012
KINGSTON, N.Y. — Another amateur baseball World Series title was the reward for the New York Mariners as the Hudson Valley-based team won its second championship in the past four years earlier this month.
The Mariners defeated the defending National Adult Baseball Association champion Florida Cardinals 10-4 to claim the 2012 crown.
“Winning again was very special for us,” said player/manager David Prince. “We put a lot of time into making the trip and it’s really a 365-day event for us.
“Most of us have been friends for 15 or more years and it was very gratifying to win our second championship.”
Prince said the friendship between players on the team made it even more exciting against teams who aren’t necessarily built the same way.
“A lot of the other teams are all-star teams,” he said. “We’re are basically the same group of guys who play the entire Hudson Valley (NABA) season together.
“You won’t find any hired guns here.”
Prince said most of the players on the Mariners roster are from Ulster, Dutchess and Orange counties, and many wanted to find a way to continue playing competitive baseball after graduating from college.
Many played high school baseball in Marlboro, Highland, Newburgh and at a number of Dutchess county schools.
“We started around 2005 playing in other leagues and got into the NABA in 2008,” he said. “Since then, our record is 125-15-2 and besides the World Series titles, we’ve won three league championships, too.”
The Hudson Valley league currently has 14 teams split into two divisions, with the majority of teams concentrated in southern Ulster and Dutchess counties, and around Orange County.
“We have a very competitive league and want to keep it that way,” Prince said. “It’s no fun beating up on weaker teams that don’t get you ready for the next level.”
At the championship tournament in Florida, the Mariners grabbed the No. 1 seed after victories over the Montreal A’s, South Florida Beach Bums, the Cardinals, Tampa Bay Thunder and Virginia Beach Snipers.
They beat South Florida 9-0 in the semifinals before facing their main rivals at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla.
“They have a lineup filled with players from South America, the Caribbean and Puerto Rico,” said team member Steve Aurigemma. “They’re a talented team, but we grinded it out and worked hard.
“It was a great feeling to win again.”
Aurigemma, one of the Marlboro High graduates on the roster, was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament after batting .846 (22-for-26) in the seven games played.
“I didn’t try to do too much with the ball, just hit it where it was pitched,” Aurigemma said. “I found the holes and hit it in the gaps.
“It’s the way I was taught to hit.”
Aurigemma and his teammates scored 47 runs in the tournament, while pitching and defense limited opponents to just 22 runs.
Isaac Hess fanned 19 batters in the win over South Florida, while Jessie Smith had 10 strikeouts in the championship game.
The Mariners also got solid pitching from Marlboro grad and former Toronto Blue Jays farmhand Jason Monti.
“Our pitching was as good as it has been all season, we played good defense and got timely hits,” Aurigemma said. “It was a great effort, we showed a lot of heart and got good coaching.
“We were a well-oiled machine.”
Prince agreed it took everything falling into place to seal the victory.
“Players are well developed and you’ve got pitchers throwing in the 90’s,” he said. “We want to play the best of the best, we want the challenge.”
With the basically six-month season behind them, Aurigemma said the Mariners players still find time to get together.
“We’re friends, so of course, we’re going to hang out,” he said. “Come January and February, we’ll start to get back into it, especially the core group, and head to Extra Innings to do some hitting.
“We’ll be ready when April rolls around and the new season gets going.”
The rest of the Mariners roster includes John Morrissey, Jake Slate, Dan Slate, Adam Prince, Eric Kantner, Lee Roush, Matt Roush, Joe Berte, Sven Jenkins, Jared Bahnsen and Dan Miller.