Johnstown claims 2023 AAABA title with Saturday’s 3-2 win over New Orleans

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New Orleans Boosters

Johnstown-Mainline Pharmacy captured the 2023 AAABA National Title with a 3-2 decision over the New Orleans Boosters Saturday night in a battle of the tournament’s unbeaten teams in front of a capacity crowd at Point Stadium.

New Orleans struck first with a run in the first when Cade Pregeant reached as a hit batter to lead off the game, advancing on a walk by Giovanni Licciardi, stealing third, and scoring on a groundout by Jhonnatan Ferrebus.

Johnstown’s Devon Boyles answered with a two run home run over the leftfield screen in the bottom frame to give Mainline the 2-1 lead through an inning.

A single in the third inning expanded the game to 3-1. New Orleans would add a run in the sixth on a wild pitch and leave the bases loaded that inning before ultimately leaving a total of eleven runners stranded on the bases.

Starting pitcher Luke Barbier suffered the loss, pitching seven innings and striking out eleven, including three batters in the sixth inning. Grant Goodbee faced two batters in the eighth and Kaile Levatino closed the game in relief.

Barbier earned the tournament’s co-MVP honors after pitching a total of 13 innings in the week, going 1-1 and striking out a total of nineteen for a 2.77 ERA. Jhonnatan Ferrebus was the tournament’s RBI leader with 10 runs batted in over his six games.

The win marks the Johnstown franchise’s second AAABA crown, the first coming in 2018 when Johnstown-Martella’s defeated New Orleans. Saturday marked the fifth time that the two franchise’s met in a AAABA Title game and the New Orleans franchise’s thirty-first overall championship game, seventh in the past eight, and its 14th runner-up position in franchise history. In total, New Orleans holds 18 titles and was the tournament’s three-time defending champion, it’s previous title game loss coming to Johnstown-Martella’s in 2018.

This summer marked the 77th anniversary of New Orleans’ first AAABA Tournament appearance in 1946.

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