2016 Minor League Baseball Champions

As we approach October, most of the minor/independent leagues have crowned their champions.  The independent Atlantic League is still in postseason play.  There were five teams winning their first title (El Paso, Bradenton, Great Lakes, Ottawa and Tucson) and two repeat champions (Midland and Myrtle Beach).  

The Scranton-Wilkes Barre RailRiders were crowned AAA champions.  

Minor League Champions

  • International League: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
  • Pacific Coast League: El Paso Chihuahuas (first title)
  • AAA National Championship: Scranton-WB RailRiders 3, El Paso Chihuahuas 1
  • Eastern League: Akron RubberDucks (first title since 2012)
  • Southern League:  Jackson (MS) Generals
  • Texas League: Midland Rockhounds (third straight title)
  • California League: High Desert Mavericks (final game in the California League)
  • Carolina League:  Myrtle Beach Pelicans (second straight title)
  • Florida State League:  Bradenton Marauders (first title)
  • Midwest League: Great Lakes Loons (first title)
  • South Atlantic League: Rome Braves 
  • New York-Penn League:  State College (PA) Spikes
  • Northwest League:  Eugene Emeralds (first title since 1975)
  • Appalachain League:  Johnson City (TN) Cardinals (fourth title in seven years)
  • Pioneer League: Orem Owlz (first title since 2009)
  • Arizona League:  Mariners 
  • Gulf Coast League:  Cardinals
  • Mexican League:  Pericos de Puebla

Independent Leagues

  • American Association: Winnipeg Goldeyes 
  • Atlantic League:  Long Island Ducks vs. Sugar Land Skeeters
  • Canadian-American League: Ottawa Champions (first title)
  • Frontier League: Evansville Otters (second title)
  • Pecos League: Tucson Saguaros (first title)

College Leagues

  • Alaska League: Mat-Su Miners
  • Cape Cod League: Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox
  • Coastal Plain League:  Savannah (GA) Bananas
  • Futures Collegiate Baseball League: Nashua (NH) Silver Knights
  • Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League: Hamilton (OH) Joes
  • New England Collegiate Baseball League: Mystic (CT) Schooners
  • Northwoods League: Wisconsin Rapids (WI) Rafters
  • Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League: Amsterdam (NY) Mohawks
  • Prospect League: West Virginia Miners
  • Texas Collegiate League: Brazos Valley (TX) Bombers
  • West Coast League: Corvallis (OR) Knights
  • Western Major Baseball League: Swift Current Indians

Georgia High School Football Review: Week 6

There were some interesting matchups this week throughout the state as most teams reached the midway point of the season.  Some teams are into region play while others will be there in the next week. 

Colquitt County 45, Valdosta 24:  For the first time in several years these teams are not in the same region.  The Wildcats came into the game undefeated and the Packers trying to gain momentum after a slow start.  With the Packers leading 31-24, Shawn Shamburger returned an interception 100 yards for the touchdown that broke the game open.  QB Jay Saunders was 16-of-25 for 248 yards.  The Packers also had two 100 yard rushers in the game.  

Grayson 38, Ramsay, Al 6:  The Rams humbled the #3 ranked team in Alabama’s Class 6A with 210 yards passing from QB Chase Brice.  LB Breon Dixon had six tackles for loss to lead the defense.  

Lee County 37, Thomas County Central 7:  Lee County clamped down on the Thomas County Central offense as they held them to 85 yards rushing.  DL Aubry Solomon had 17 tackles.  This was game that many thought would be close but Lee County dominated with 373-157 in total yardage.  Lee County will host Houston County in two weeks in a #1 vs. #3 matchup.  

Harrison 43, Allatoona 19:  In their first meeting, the Hoyas knocked off the defending champions as QB Justin Fields was 17-of-20 for 241 yards passing and 107 yards rushing.  He scored three touchdowns.    

Hiram 38, Villa Rica 25:  The Wildcats had hoped to go 3-0 in region play but turnovers betrayed them in their first region loss.  The loss snapped their three-game winning streak against Hiram.  

Islands 35, Johnson Savannah 6:  The Sharks won their first region game in team’s three-year history.    They were 13-point underdogs.  

Clinch County 48, Wilcox County 6:  In past years this was a huge game but the Panthers put up 41 points by halftime.  Key Grady had a 95-yard run and an 80-yard kickoff return.  

Stratford 36, Lincoln County 19:  Stratford scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to get their first win against Lincoln County in school history.  

Top Teams:

  • Class 7A – Roswell (4-0)
  • Class 6A – Houston County (6-0)
  • Class 5A – Buford (3-1)
  • Class 4A – Cartersville (5-0)
  • Class 3A – Greater Atlanta Christian (4-1)
  • Class 2A – Fitzgerald (4-0)
  • Class 1A (Public) – Macon County (3-1)
  • Class 1A (Private) – Eagle’s Landing Christian (5-0)

Friday Flashback:  1938 Nashville Rebels

Long before the Tennessee Titans called Nashville home, there was another professional football team that played in the Music City.  The year was 1938 and the National Football League (NFL) was still a teenager, having become the NFL in 1922.  There were still several “professional” leagues playing across the country including the Midwest Football League.  In 1938 they changed their name to the American Football League (not the same as the AFL that would later merge with the NFL) which included a team in Nashville called the “Rebels” along with five other teams (Chicago, St. Louis, Louisville, Cincinnati and Dayton).

The Rebels were coached by Johnny Lynch and finished the season at 2-2-1 and lost a thrilling playoff game to St. Louis 19-13.

1938 Schedule:

  • 9/28/38 – at Cincinnati (Lost 34-0)
  • 10/9/38 – at Chicago (Lost 20-0)
  • 10/16/38 – at St. Louis (Tied 7-7)
  • 10/23/38 – Dayton (Won 22-0)
  • 10/30/38 – at Louisville (Won 10-0)
  • 11/27/38 – Playoff at St. Louis (Lost 19-13)

The Rebels played their only home game on October 23, 1938 at Sulphur Dell against the Dayton Rosies.  Ticket prices were $1.50 with end zone sections for 55 cents.  Segregation during those days also had a special section for African-Americans.  Less than 2,000 spectators witnessed the game and sat through “three hours of miserable football weather” as the Rebels won 22-0 with three touchdowns from Rock Reed and Marty Slovak.

Nashville qualified for the playoffs when Cincinnati folded.  This created a rematch between Nashville and St. Louis.  The Gunners trailed 13-12 when halfback Ray Johnson scored the winning touchdown in the closing minutes.  St. Louis would lose the championship game the following week to Louisville 3-0.

In spite of their successful home game and showing in the playoff game, the Nashville Rebels dropped out of the league.

Team of the Week: Rome Braves

The parent team may be having one of the worst seasons in recent history but the Class A Rome Braves of the South Atlantic League (SAL) did the organization proud when it rebounded from an opening game loss to the Lakewood Blue Claws and won three straight to capture the title in a 6-1 win in game four.

This was Rome’s second league title.  They won the 2003 title in their first season in Rome.  Rome was the only Atlanta Braves’ affiliate to win a league title this season.

Alejandro Salazar had three hits, scoring two runs as pitcher Max Fried struck out 13 batters to start the celebration. Fried was also the winning pitcher when the Braves eliminated Charleston in the Southern Division playoffs.  

Rome spotted Lakewood a 1-0 lead but scored three runs in the fifth inning as Salazar and Anfernee Seymour scored for the Braves.

The Braves were only 70-69 overall but their 43-27 second half finish clinched the Southern Division by 2 1/2 games.  The Braves were 58-82 last season.

Outfielder Ronald Acuna led the team in batting with a .311 average.  Patrick Weigel led the pitching staff with 10 wins and was promoted to Class AA Mississippi in the Southern League to finish the season.



Georgia High School Football Review: Week 5

Although there is a gas shortage affecting Georgia, there was no shortage of offense this weekend on the gridiron.  Several big games had high scores and lots of offense.   Here are just a few that caught my attention this weekend:

Clinch County 39, Irwin County 19 – In a rematch of last year’s Class A (Public) title game, the Panthers rallied from a 13-0 deficit led by Shannon Young’s three touchdowns and Trezman Marshall’s two touchdowns.

Northside Warner Robins 48, Ware County 7 – In their first meeting in the regular season, QB Tobias Oliver rushed for 200 yards and passed for 98 yards and two touchdowns as the Eagles dominated the Gators.  This was the first win over Ware County for Northside since the 2007 state championship game.

Houston County 63, Warner Robins 28 – Jake Fromm continued his aerial assault on opposing defenses with 394 yards and six touchdowns in leading the Bears to a rout over their county rivals.  The Demons are now 0-4 and given up the most points since 2014 when they lost to Houston County 62-30.   In case you wondered, the most points Warner Robins has ever given up with 67 in 1966 when they lost to Lanier (Macon), 67-13.

Valdosta 56, Thomas County Central 39 – In one of the highest scoring games in the series, the Wildcats broke the game open on a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with five minutes left in the game.  The teams combined for 84 points in last year’s meeting (Valdosta 59-35).  Valdosta has now won 12 straight in the series.

Coffee 49, University Christian (Jacksonville, Florida) 21 – Junior defensive back/received Jarquavious Jefferson broken open a tight game with Coffee leading 21-14 in the second quarter when he returned a punt for a touchdown then on the next offensive series for University Christian, Jefferson intercepted a pass as the Trojans took a 28-14 lead into halftime.  Coffee coach Robbie Pruitt formerly coached University Christian before moving to Georgia.

Grayson 39, Deerfield Beach (Florida) 14 – In a battle of top ten-ranked teams in their respective states, #3 Grayson topped #8 Deerfield Beach as QB Chase Brice was 12-of-16 for 160 yards and three touchdowns.  

Villa Rica 41, Woodland (Cartersville) 0 – Villa Rica jumped out to an early 27-0 lead as RB Elijah Fluker had runs of 26 and 30 yards.   The defense held Woodland to 10 yards rushing in the first half.  
Top ranked teams:

  • 7A – Roswell (3-0)
  • 6A – Houston County (5-0)
  • 5A – Buford (2-1) although Stockbridge and Carrollton are undefeated.
  • 4A – Cartersville (4-0)
  • 3A – Greater Atlanta Christian (3-1)
  • 2A – Fitzgerald (3-0)
  • 1A (Public) – Commerce (3-0)
  • 1A (Private) – Eagle’s Landing Christian (4-0)

A Gas Leak In Alabama Causes This?

This weekend our area was hit with a sudden gas shortage when a pipeline in Alabama sprung a leak.  This problem caused panic for thousands of drivers in the Nashville area.  I was wondering how this could happen?   It was a sobering thought to realize what a delicate balance we have in our society when a leak in a pipeline could totally disrupt our lives.

According to oil refinery resources:

  • Oil from the Gulf of Mexico supplies mostly to the Midwest and part of the East Coast
  • Oil from foreign sources supply the majority of the East Coast
  • Oil from Alaska and Russia supply the West Coast
  • Canada and Mexico also supply oil that is spread throughout the U.S.

Oil comes from the source through pipelines, supertankers or barge.  For landlocked areas, the main sources are pipelines.  Once the crude oil is refined, the refineries ship the fuel to terminals and the most efficient way is using barges or pipelines.  Millions of gallons are pumped every day through pipelines.  Most pipelines are constructed above ground so they can be easily inspected.  Once the refined oil is in the pipeline, it moves constantly until it is pumped into a receiving tank at the terminal.  This is where the various companies buy the products and have trucks to transfer the product gasoline from the terminal to their retailers (i.e. gas stations).

There is some information available with maps of certain pipeline routes available to the public at the National Pipeline Mapping System site but details are not precise for national securities reasons.  As you can imagine, the publishing of exact locations would make us vulnerable to terrorists.

In our situation, it is clear that with Nashville being landlocked that pipelines are the source of transportation of our gasoline.  A section of the Colonial Pipeline, which runs from Houston to New York, has been closed since Sept. 9 after a spill of roughly 250,000 gallons was discovered in rural Shelby County, Alabama.  The major pipeline, one pipe of which has been severed, provides gasoline for an estimated 50 million people on the East Coast each day, according to company estimates.

Apparently, the Colonial Pipeline is one of the major pipelines we are dependent upon here in Tennessee as you can see on the map below:

Personally, this disruption is yet another wake-up call that we should continue to develop alternate methods of fuel but with the big money in oil production, the progress of alternative fuel methods are not being developed enough.  This system of fuel distribution seems to be too delicate.  This one leak has weakened the security of three states directly.  

Both our governor and mayor have released statements that we should not panic.  We are to continue our normal pattern of purchasing fuel.  They are a bit out of reality or clearly have not had to get their own gas.  It isn’t possible to get gas like normal when pumps are closed.  

Friday Flashback:  Continental Football League

Several leagues have been formed in hopes to become a developmental league for the National Football League (NFL).  One of the first leagues to do this was the Continental Football League (CFL) which was formed in 1965 with the merger of several regional minor leagues. In the beginning, teams were averaging nearly 15,000 per game.  The Norfolk Neptunes led the league and had a single-game record of 22,050 fans.  

The league lasted from 1965-1969.  In 1967, the league was troubled with instability as several teams moved or folded.  

During their existence, the league did stay true to their “continental” name with franchises in Canada (Montreal, Toronto) and Mexico (Monterrey) as well as teams spread throughout the United States.    The league had 22 teams during their five years of existence.  The most successful teams were the Norfolk Neptunes, Orlando Panthers, Charleston Rockets and Indianapolis Capitols.

The league was never able to become the “farm system” for the NFL-AFL.  With the eventual merger between them NFL and AFL, the league was not able to remain stable.  The Indianapolis Captiols tried to bid for the services of O.J. Simpson but there was little financial strength left for the league to survive.

Some of the league’s most notable players and coaches were:

  • Bill Walsh coached the San Jose Apaches in 1967.
  • Ken Stabler was the quarterback for the Spokane Shockers in 1968.
  • Coy Bacon played for the Charleston Rockets in 1965-67.
  • Otis Sistrunk played for the Norfolk Neptunes in 1969.
  • Sam Wyche played quarterback for the Wheeling Ironmen in 1966.
  • Kicker Garo Yepremian played for the Michigan Arrows in 1968.

Championship Game Results:

  • 1965 – Charleston Rockets 24, Toronto Rifles 7
  • 1966 – Philadelphia Bulldogs 10, Orlando Panthers 3 (ot)
  • 1967 – Orlando Panthers 38, Orange County Ramblers 14
  • 1968 – Orlando Panthers 51, Orange County Ramblers 10
  • 1969 – Indianapolis Capitols 44, San Antonio Toros 38 (ot)

In 1969 the Alabama Hawks played a pre-season game against the Atlanta Falcons’ rookies and lost 55-0.