Living and Loving Like Jesus Christ

LAST FINAL FOUR GAME – UnityOne vs ALRC

First Rd Playoff Game Results on 7/11:  St Pauls defeats UnityTwo, HeritageOne defeats Restore, ALRC defeats HeritageTwo, and UnityOne defeats Sixers
Second Rd Playoff Games on Tues 7/12:  Midland Park advances to Final Four by beating HeritageOne and UnityOne goes to Final Four beating Preakness
Second Rd Playoff Games on Wed 7/13:  Pompton Plains advances to Final Four by beating St Paul’s and ALRC goes to Final Four beating Faith Hill
Final Four Double Elimination Format – Two Games on Friday 7/15:
Midland Park defeats ALRC at NH2 and UnityOne over Pompton Plains at Lincoln in Wyckoff
Mon 7/18 – Two teams that lost on Fri (Pompton Plains vs ALRC) at HV4, ALRC wins, Pompton Plains eliminated.
Mon 7/18 – Two teams that won on Fri (Midland Park vs UnityOne) at NH2, Midland Park wins.
Midland Park automatically advances to championship at North Haledon.
Tues 7/19 – ALRC vs UnityOne at NH2, UnityOne wins to advance to championship, ALRC eliminated.
Thurs 7/21 – Championship Game at North Haledon Field2. Midland Park wins Championship!

CONGRATS to Coach Frank and all the players on Midland Park, especially Keith, as we all wish him well in this next journey of his life.  We don’t give out a League MVP trophy, but if we did, Keith gets my vote in 2016, he was the best this season.

2nd Annual Joint Fellowship Game – Friday 7/29 at Lincoln School in Wyckoff – Players must contact me directly if you want to play and represent your team.

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It’s the PERFECT possible ending to the 2016 Atlantic Stewardship Bank Inter-Church Softball League Season. It will be Midland Park and UnityOne on Thursday at North Haledon. The Botbyl family will certainly be there, as we simply wouldn’t want to miss out. Everyone that attends will get to experience great joy, based on the honor of watching these two teams. It should feel to each and every one of us, as if it seems like God is rewarding all 180 players of the league, by teaching us all that getting back to the roots was important this year, focusing on the core values of the league, the foundation of why it was built over 50 years, and no one can argue that after a difficult past 3 to 5 years for the league, God chose the two best examples, with the best leaders, the best players, and the two teams that truly represent what it is all about. Everyone should be grateful, and everyone should look to carry the example of these two teams into next week’s 2nd annual joint fellowship game at Lincoln School in Wyckoff on Friday July 29th.

Before we try to bring together a couple different players from all 12 teams on that day, let’s first recap what happened to get UnityOne into the Championship Game against Midland Park. After the emotional win on Monday, it seemed like ALRC had an early let down in the top of the first inning, as their top 3 hitters were sent down in order 1-2-3. In the bottom of the first inning, UnityOne jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead, thanks to the pair of Sietsma brothers showing off their strength, as Steve hit a 3-run HR and Scott hit an RBI double. Of course, runners needed to be on base, and Ray, Nordo, and Boonstra played their part as well. Coach Scott Botbyl says, “I probably should have felt disappointed with the start of the game that first inning, but I couldn’t, it’s just so much fun playing with those guys”.

ALRC answered back with some power of their own in the top of the 2nd inning. Brett Fritzsch hit a solo HR and Scott Botbyl hit a 2-run HR, his team leading 3rd HR of the post-season. Coach Botbyl says, “all the years watching playoff games, teams will tease me with questions about who I am cheering for, I should have done the same to Alison’s Aunt, lol, because I’m sure she was torn whether to cheer for me and her son-in-law or her husbands former team, but I’m sure she was just like everyone else that attended, just glad to see these two teams make it this far”. UnityOne got a pair of hits in the bottom of the 2nd inning, but they were unable to score. After two innings, UnityOne was leading 4-3.

Matt Ferri registered a lead-off walk in the top of the 3rd inning. Unfortunately, there were back-to-back very close plays at 2nd base, and both calls seemed to go against ALRC. After a two-out single by Jason Young, Brett Fritzsch hit an RBI single to tie the game at 4-4. Coach Botbyl says, “even though I think we could have scored more runs that inning, I feel like we had taken control of the game and momentum was on our side”. In the bottom of the 3rd inning, UnityOne had two outs and only one runner on base when Matt Boonstra came to bat. His two-out double kept the inning alive, and set the stage for Travis crushing a 3-run HR into right-centerfield. Coach Botbyl got to play with Travis in one of the joint-league tournaments he used to organize after each season and told him afterwards during the post-game shandshake, “that was the turning point of the game”. With over 200 games experience, Botbyl feels confident that if either of those young guys make out there, we win the game, I know it. Botbyl admits “I’ve seen a lot of young and talented players come into the league, but not all of them conduct themselves like these young men, I am very happy for both Matt and Travis, and they are very lucky too, because they have veteran leaders that have shown them the right way, I had the privilege of learning over there too, everyone over there at that church should be so proud, as when they see my team that I started 12 years ago, I hope they see a mirror image, because that’s what I want to create as well, an environment where young people can learn how to be the future leaders of their teams and keep passing the torch so to speak”.

Scott D’Alessandro hit a solo HR to begin the top of the 4th inning, which cut the UnityOne lead to 7-5. ALRC got two more hits that inning by Nick Schroeder (single) and Joe Bosgra (single), but ALRC was unable to bring them home to tie the game. In the bottom of the 4th inning, UnityOne tacked on two more runs to increase their lead to 9-5. Coach Botbyl has told his team for over a decade “in order to win, you have to get equal production from the bottom of the lineup, just as much as the top of the order”, which is exactly what UnityOne did in this inning. Clutch singles from Veenema, Jack, and Geo. Veenema hit very well, going 3 for 3, but Jack and Geo showed that they can still do it when their team needs it most.

Dave DeWaalMalefyt hit a lead-off triple to begin the top of the 5th inning. He then scored on an RBI single by Jason Young. It was 9-6 UnityOne. They put the game away in the bottom of the 5th inning with their best inning of the game, scoring FIVE runs! Again, perhaps a questionable call, but that’s a part of the game, and those guys capitalized, and as always, they all contribute in some manner, as the inning was capped off by an RBI triple by Dykman, as UnityOne now had a commanding 14-6 lead.

In the top of the 6th inning, ALRC was unable to score, as only Nick Schroeder had a hit (single). UnityOne tacked on another run in the bottom of the 6th inning. Jonathan Everett hit a lead-off single and then scored on an RBI single by Steve Noordeloos. Coach Botbyl says, “Jonathan has been playing for well over a decade, but he is still so fast, he makes things happen with his speed both defensively and at leadoff, and Nordo is timeless, as I feel like he rarely makes out, I probably should be feeling down at that point, my season is coming to an end, but again, with that team, they are fun to watch, so I can’t help but smile and be happy for them”.

In the top of the 7th inning, ALRC was unable to score for back-to-back innings, as only Dave DeWaalMalefyt got a hit (double). UnityOne gets the win 15-6.

It’s been said in my previews and recaps for many years, and it still holds true …. No team has handed the Green&White more losses than UnityOne. The Green&White are 0-3 all-time against UnityOne in the playoffs, and they are 3-9 against UnityOne during the regular season.

Congrats to UnityOne as they advance to this year’s championship game against Midland Park.
My theme this year has been conduct and character and ironically the two best teams in terms of that, both end up in this year’s championship game. It’s quite fitting. It’s actually PERFECT!
No one will ever question the rosters of these two teams.
No one will ever question the bats of these two teams.
No one will ever see poor sportsmanship from these two teams.
No one will ever see a player from these two teams getting ejected.
No one will ever see bad language used from players on these two teams.
No one will ever see fighting or arguing by these two teams.
No one will ever see these two teams not putting fun and fellowship first.
And no one will ever stop learning from the example these two teams set.
If every single team was like these two, we wouldn’t have to adjust rules or change anything.
I am still learning from them both, I will continue to learn from them.
They are quite simply the best!!
This was the 2nd time my team ever got this far in 12 years. The other time was 2012.
But I enjoyed this season more so than any other year.
I am so pleased and honored that so many of you were grateful for what I did last year.
I hope and pray to never have to do it again.
I still continue to pray that someday the entire league can have closure and move forward. And I will be so excited on the day that I can apologize to those select few that were hurt, but just like I said last year “just rather see it come from others first”.

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