After Pizza Masters forced a decisive second game in dramatic fashion by defeating Verve 5-3 in 11 innings in what was the longest game in league history, Mike Miselis's team responded like true champions due to claim its second consecutive Major League title.
"Before the season started not too many people gave us any chance to do it again this year," said Miselis who just completed his 36th season as a youth coach in Bayonne. We lost 5 terrific 12 year olds from last year’s team so most people thought we would be rebuilding. What makes it most special is that we did it as a team. We did the little things, played great defense and got spectacular pitching by ace Joey DeChiaro, Ryan McNamara and rookie Teague Mulcahy on a consistent basis. Every single player on this team contributed in some way and the difference is that our kids stuck together and loved each other and all showed great character during the entire season through the tough times, that is what I'm most proud of, says Miselis.
Verve struck early on in the top of the first as their fantastic all star catcher Carlos Castillo smashed a line drive RBI single to give his team a quick 1-0 lead. Pizza Masters immediately responded by taking a 2-1 lead on an RBI single from Jake Vodrazka and a sacrifice fly from Xavier George.
With the two teams trading blows, Verve answered right back in the second. Rookie sensation Teague Mulcahy lined a leadoff triple just over the glove of the right fielder and would eventually come around to score on Thomas Pelliccio's RBI groundout which tied the score at 2-2. Verve would pull ahead for good in the top of the third inning when Joey DeChiaro stroked a double to lead off the inning before scoring on an Andry Lopez RBI groundout.
From there, McNamara was in control. With stellar defensive play behind him including the game ending catch by the outstanding rookie Thomas Pelliccio who went all the way into the outfield and dove to make an ESPN game-ending catch as Verve wins the title for consecutive years.
Manager Mike Miselis had nothing but praise for his entire team. "I have won championships before but this has to rank right up there with the best of them, said Miselis. Noone and I mean Noone picked us to win, except our coaching staff who knew we had something special with this group right from the beginning. They enjoyed practicing whether it was 30 degrees and snowing out in March or when it was 95 degrees during the dog days of summer, they all came to play each and every day. They showed their true character when they lost that earlier playoff game in 11 innings. They did not pout nor blame anyone else for the loss, they looked at each other and huddled up and promised to come back stronger the next day. Like true Champions, they did just that and for that I am as proud as I have ever been as a coach," says Miselis.