New Orleans falls to Johnstown, 3-2, in AAABA title game

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JOHNSTOWN, Penn. – The New Orleans Boosters fell to Johnstown 3-2 Saturday to allow the host city its first All-American Amateur Baseball Association in its 74-year history.

Johnstown’s three run second inning came on the heels of four singles and a fielder’s choice to give Martella’s the early 3-0 lead. The score remained until the seventh inning when Blake Freeman’s solo home run over Point Stadium’s center field wall put the Boosters on the board and cut the Johnstown lead to two.

The Boosters threatened in the ninth following singles by Grant Schulz and Ross Scelfo. Schulz advanced on a wild pitch and Blake Freeman walked to load the bases with two outs. Pinch Hitter Hayden Fuentes reached as a hit batter with bases loaded to score Schulz and cut the Johnstown lead to a run before a strikeout ended the game.

Booster starting pitcher Chris Turpin went the distance, holding Johnstown scoreless in all but one inning, allowing only two hits after Martella’s breakout third inning. Turpin fanned ten Johnstown batters. Johnstown’s Brady Walker pitched 8.2 innings to earn the win with TJ Adams earning the save for retiring the Boosters’ final out with the bases loaded.

New Orleans’ Brandon Briuglio was named Most Valuable Player of the 2018 AAABA National Tournament. Briuglio enjoyed a stellar week at the plate, batting .545 in six games with six runs in 22 at-bats, including 12 hits (5 singles, 4 doubles, 2 triples, and 1 home run) and three RBIs. As a perk of Briuglio’s selection, his name will join his tournament MVP predecessors in being engraved on the AAABA display at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

With the loss, New Orleans goes 4-2 in the 2018 AAABA Tournament, marking the New Orleans franchise’s 12th national runner-up position. Saturday’s game marked the franchise’s 27th overall appearance in a AAABA title game, having captured 15 national championships spanning from 1948 to 2017. This year marked the franchise’s third appearance in the tournament finals in the last four years.

Tonight’s championship marks the Johnstown franchise’s first national title in the AAABA’s seventy-four year history. Of the seventy-four national tournaments, seventy-two have been hosted in Johnstown. This marked the eighteenth meeting between Johnstown and New Orleans in tournament history.

This year marks New Orleans’ 72nd summer as a franchise of the AAABA. The 2018 squad features players from local programs such as Delgado, Tulane, LSU, Northwestern State, Southeastern, UNO, and the University of Houston.

For more information about the tournament, visit aaabajohnstown.org

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