It’s been an up-and-down start to the 2017 Atlantic Stewardship Bank Inter-Church Softball League season for ALRC. The Green&White began the year with an offensive explosion Opening Day against HeritageTwo. ALRC played very poorly on defense in their loss to HeritageOne, making many uncharacteristic errors. And then, last week against UnityTwo, the Green&White didn’t hit very well, but played just enough good defense to hold on for a win. Inconsistent ALRC enters this game with a record of 2-1. However, if the Green&White continue their pattern of erratic softball, they would fall back to the .500 mark with a loss against St Paul’s of Ramsey. ALRC finds themselves facing a St Paul’s team that is desperate to get their first win of the season. The 2017 Schedule has been extremely unkind to St Paul’s, as their first four games this season were against: Faith Hill, Preakness, Midland Park, and Pompton Plains. Those four teams finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in the regular season standings last year. The Green&White finished the regular season in 6th place. However, better player attendance in the post-season meant a deeper playoff run, as ALRC had their best year in team history in 2016, recording THREE playoff victories and falling just one win short of the championship game. Irregular player attendance during the regular season continues to be a pattern for the Green&White this season. It will be no different today, as ALRC will try to figure out a way to win to begin Memorial Day weekend without Jason Young, Dave DeWaalMalefyt, and Joe Bosgra. Coach Scott Botbyl says that “the proof is in the results, we got by missing 2 good players against HeritageTwo, we got by missing 2 good players against UnityTwo, but having 3 key players out against HeritageOne, I guess that was just too much for us to overcome, so hopefully we all gained some experience from that, I want to believe that other guys have learned from it, and maybe we can come thru today and still get the win”. Time and time again thru the years in these types of situations, Botbyl will often remind his players of two things: “first, it’s an opportunity for some guys to go out there, play a lot more, and make some plays and contribute to the team, however, the second part is that we often see why the roster depth of the Green&White is put to the test, and it often validates why the missing players are so important”.
There have been several different types of games that these two teams have played during the past 10 years. There have been games that the Green&White won easily. There have been games that the Green&White were barely able to win. There have been games that St Paul’s should have won, but didn’t. There have been games that St Paul’s won, where the outcome was never really in doubt for them. There have been walk-off games, back-and-forth games, even a Free Hot Dog Game. These two teams have seemed to do it all, except one thing …. Poor conduct. Coach Scott Botbyl says “going on a decade now, and never had a single problem with these guys, not ever, such a tremendous group of people, they have gone thru a couple coaches thru the years, but all of them exhibit the same characteristics, the same class, the same respect, I really look forward to each and every game playing with these guys”.
If St Paul’s is indeed able to pull-off the victory today, it would be just like the 2014 season. That was the year that the Green & White suffered their first ever defeat to St Paul’s by a score of 11-5. After a scoreless first inning, where ALRC was sent down in order 1-2-3, ALRC took a 4-0 lead in the 2nd inning. ALRC got 2 HR’s from Scott Botbyl and Brian Churco. St Paul’s scored in every inning for the remainder of the game, while ALRC only managed one run in the last 5 innings. The St Paul’s defense held ALRC hitless in 4 of the 7 innings!!!!
It shows that the key today is for ALRC to hit well. It seems like when they hit well, they always beat St Paul’s, as the final scores for them are in the double-digits. However, in the game above, when ALRC didn’t hit well and St Paul’s played great defense, it was St Paul’s getting the victory. It’s only been 3 games, but 3 players have hit really well for ALRC in all 3 games. They are Brian Churco, Nick Schroeder, and Scott Botbyl. This trio is currently 27 for 35 (a .771 avg) with 11 singles, 7 doubles, 3 triples, 6 HR’s, 19 Runs, and 21 RBI’s. Botbyl admits that “the law of averages shows that it is highly unlikely these numbers can be maintained over the course of a whole year, therefore, the key to a team being successful is that maybe these 3 players can’t replicate these numbers in a game like today, but maybe 2 players that have struggled lately with the bat, maybe they turn it around and they carry us to a win”.
When these two teams met last year, the game was chosen to be the Outreach Committee ALRC Hot Dog game. And for the second consecutive season, the Green&White seemed to play their best game of the year because of that. ALRC played a complete game, both offensively and defensively. The ALRC hitting was constant and the defense was able to hold the opposition to single digits, as the final score was 29-8. The two best batters for ALRC were Nick Schroeder and Scott D’Alessandro, as this duo combined to go 10 for 10 (7 singles, 3 doubles, 6 Runs, 9 RBI’s). For a more detailed recap of that game, go by “Events”, but then click on “Past Events” and find the game dated July 6, 2016.
The 2015 game was clearly the best game ever between them, as they went back-and-forth throughout, with 6 lead changes, and ultimately a walk-off win for the Green & White. Botbyl says, “we were just lucky that the schedule had us as the home team, because if they batted last, they probably would have won, just one of those types of games”. The full recap of that game is also available under “past events”, which is located under the Events tab.
Saint Paul’s of Ramsey joined the Atlantic Stewardship Bank Inter-Church Softball League back in 2008. In their first ever meeting, the Green & White won 21-10. However, the game was much closer than the score indicated. Saint Paul’s actually led 8-0 thru 3 innings. The Green & White got back into the game thanks to a five-run 4th inning. But, the Green & White still found themselves trailing 10-6 after five innings. That’s when Matt Ferri showed why he won “The Captain Award” for Team Leadership that season. Ferri called the team together and delivered a quick speech to fire up the team, who had played very poorly up until that point. The Green & White responded with a 14-run 6th inning to take control of the game. Ferri finished that game 5 for 5, 3 singles, 2 doubles, 2 runs, and an RBI.
When these two teams met in 2009, ALRC defeated Saint Paul’s 18-12. It marked the second consecutive year that ALRC had to come from behind in order to get the victory against Saint Paul’s. History was made in that game as Jason Young hit for the cycle. It was the first ever cycle hit by an ALRC player.
2010 was one of the best defensive games in team history, as ALRC won rather easily 22-2, a drastic difference from the first two meetings. The Green & White scored in all 7 innings.
In 2011, St Paul’s and ALRC played another very exciting game. It was again one of those games between these two teams where the outcome was determined in the last two innings. The Green & White came storming out of the gate, as ALRC jumped out to a 13-2 lead. However, Saint Paul’s never quit and made it 13-10, bringing the run that would tie the game to the plate! That’s when a dramatic diving catch was made by Scott Botbyl to end the 6th inning that left him bleeding from both elbows, ALRC held on for a 15-10 win.
When these two teams met in 2012, it was the regular season finale for both teams. Saint Paul’s entered the game with a record of 5-5 and they were looking to make team history with their first ever winning season. However, it was the Green & White making their own TEAM HISTORY, as it was their LONGEST WINNING STREAK (7 games). ALRC took the lead in the top of the 1st inning and never looked back, cruising to a 25-10 victory. Brian Churco had the best box score that day, 6 for 6 (2 singles, double, 3 HR’s, 6 Runs, 8 RBI’s). Joe Bosgra was also perfect at the plate, 5 for 5 (4 singles, triple, 3 Runs, 5 RBI’s).
There was only one perfect box score when these two teams met in 2013. It was CF Matt Ferri, who went 4 for 4 (3 singles, triple, 4 Runs, RBI) to lead ALRC to an 18-6 win over Saint Paul’s.
These two teams have never met in the playoffs. The Green & White are 8-1 all-time versus Saint Paul’s during the regular season. ALRC won the first 6 games, then Saint Paul’s got the victory in 2014, and then ALRC bounced back wining the past two contests.
Career Stat Leaders versus Saint Paul’s:
AVG: Jason Young .762 – Brian Churco .737 – Scott Botbyl .714
Hits: Brian Churco 28 – Scott Botbyl 25 – Dave DeWaalMalefyt 24
Runs: Brian Churco 24 – Dave DeWaalMalefyt 20 – Dan Bosgra 17
Singles: Scott Botbyl 22 – Dave DeWaalMalefyt 21 – Joe Bosgra 17
Doubles: Scott D’Alessandro 7 – Brian Churco 5 – Jason Young 4
Triples: Jason Young 2
HR’s: Brian Churco 13 – Scott Botbyl 2
RBI’s: Brian Churco 35 – Scott Botbyl 18
SB’s: Dave DeWaalMalefyt 3 – 2 (Dan Bosgra, Nick Schroeder)