Vernon Orioles Make it Five Consecutive GHTBL Titles

The winner and STILL champion of the Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League: The Vernon Orioles.

Of course, who else would it be?

The Orioles continued their dominance over the GHTBL with another post-season tournament run that resulted in a fifth straight playoff championship last week.

The Orioles completed their 2017 title run with a 4-0 victory over the Meriden Record Journal Expos at Trinity College on Aug 12. The victory was Vernon’s fifth in five days and avenged a playoff round opening loss to the Expos in the double elimination tournament. The Orioles finished 2017 with a 28-2 record.

The top-seeded Orioles were led by starter Jared Hyde, who held the Expos hitless for five innings. Vernon opened the scoring in the bottom of the second, as Wes Hurty scored Alex Zachary with a sacrifice fly. It then opened up the game with a three-run fifth, as Jack Halpin and Paul Dougan smacked RBI singles and Halpin scored on a wild pitch.

In the sixth, the Expos tried to mount a comeback against reliever Tyler Pogmore. After placing runners on second and third with no outs on an error and double, Pogmore stepped up big time. The hurler induced weak contact on a pop-up and two ground balls, putting the Orioles in the championship column again.

“We were bolstered by Jared and Tyler, and our confident offense broke through against their ace Charlie Hesseltine,” Orioles head coach Jack Ceppetelli said.

Ceppetelli discussed how satisfying it was for their team to win a fifth consecutive championship, and what this success signifies about the program.

“It was very gratifying to be able to overcome our opening round playoff loss and come out on top.  The success we’ve had in winning our last five regular season titles is a testament to our veteran players, who set the tone for our younger players to make sure our focus remains on winning and playing the game right while having fun.”

Vernon opened the Tournament on the 4th with a 2-0 loss to the Expos. It quickly rebounded with 2-0 and 11-1 wins against the Marlborough Braves and Middletown Outlaws on the 8th and 9th. The Orioles recorded a second consecutive blowout win (11-1) against People’s United Bank the next day. They defeated the Expos 5-0 on the 11th in the best-of-three series.

“Throughout the tournament, Nick Roy and Dan Trubia led our offense, and Jack and Zach Donahue recorded clutch hits,” Ceppetelli said. “Our staff registered five consecutive dominant pitching performances by Tyler, Paul, Matt D’Orsi, Matt Purnell and Jared.”

During the regular season, the Orioles finished first with a 23-1 record. Roy was the team’s top offensive player, leading them in hits and runs with 30 and 28, and recording a .405 batting average and .689 slugging percentage. Trubia and Halpin tied for the lead in runs batted in with 20, with Halpin batting .431 and Trubia .389. Halpin led Vernon in on-base percentage at .505. As a team, the Orioles hit .329 with an OBP of .422.

On the mound, Pogmore had a monster season, going 4-0 with an 0.32 earned run average and striking out 22 batters in 22 innings. The trio of Dougan, Purnell and Kyle Ramsay each went 3-0, with ERAs of 1.00, 1.47, and 0.54, respectively. As a staff, the pitchers earned a 1.13 ERA and held opponents to a .185 average.

“The 2017 Orioles team will stand out to me as the most complete team we’ve had in all phases of the game, due in large part to our tremendous depth.  The team will be remembered as the first to win coming through the losers’ bracket after so many previous attempts and several near misses,” Ceppetelli said.

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