Raritan Valley National Adult Baseball Association: History

history_logo.jpg

League History
The National Adult Baseball Association was begun in San Diego in 1986. The Raritan Valley, N.J. league began play in the Summer of 1992. That was an abbreviated season. It started late and ended in disarray. In 1993, with the arrival of league president, Rick Helman, Raritan Valley enjoyed its first full season. That year, Dean Messina's Woodbridge Pirates posted a perfect 17-0 record, defeating the Middlesex Bears 3-2 in a twelve-inning battle for the ages to take the league's first title. In 1994, Helman passed the baton to current league president, Matt Dosch. That season saw the Carteret Mustangs win the first of three titles. The other two came in 1997 and 1998. In between, Jay Braun's Mariner team, who also hailed from Carteret, took the flag in 1995 and 1996. In their fourth attempt at a title the Middlesex Bears finally took it all home in 1999. The year 2000 saw expansion as we separated into two leagues, an AA and an A league. The Old Bridge Cubs took the first A League title with a 10-0 shutout over the Liberty Athletics. In AA, the Middlesex Bears edged the New Brunswick Mets 13-12. They would later lose that trophy in a controversial challenge game against the North Essex Cardinals who took first place in the A League, but forfeited their first-round playoff game.
Things settled down in 2001, and the RVNABA played its two championship games at Newark Bears and Eagles Stadium. The Middlesex Bears retook their title by edging the first place Stirling Hawks 10-9. The Bridgewater Blue Jays took the second A League crown downing the Madison Brewers 28-6.
In 2002, new additions to the league garnered both Championship Titles. The Irvington Cardinals and Fords Pirates took home the AA and A League trophies respectively. Then for the first time the RVNABA champs travelled to Trenton to take on the Tri-State NABA champs at Trenton Thunder Stadium. Both returned home victorious.
Irvington repeated as league champions in 2003, with a come from behind 8-7 victory over the NJ Clippers at Lakewood's Blue Claws Stadium. The Carteret Twins, meanwhile, brought a championship trophy back to Carteret after a five year absence as they shut out the South Amboy Yankees 7-0 behind the pitching of TJ Hepworth.
Third time proved to be a charm for Bill Hynes' Sayreville Giants as they defeated the Irvington Cardinals in the AA Championship Game @ FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood. After championship losses in 2000 and 2002, the Giants beat the Cards 6-1 to earn their first title. In the A League, the newcomer Somerset Sundevils trounced the East Brunswick Dodgers at FirstEnergy to become league champions. The Sundevils would prove to be a one-hit wonder as 2004 was their only season.
In 2005, the Raritan Valley NABA voted to go to a best of three championship series. Both the A and AA leagues would go the full three games. Joe Lambert, who managed the Sundevils to their 2004 title, found himself playing for the South Amboy Yankees. Under manager Bill Policastro, those Yankees won their first title, outlasting the South Plainfield White Sox two games to one. Yankee hurler Chris Bott fired a no-hitter in Game One. The 1-0 gem was a NABA post season first. The AA saw the Irvington Cardinals rise to the top once again as they stole back the series from the NJ Clippers. As he did in 2003, Julio Velasquez used the long ball to turn around the deciding game. The Cardinals entered the bottom of the ninth trailing the Clippers by four runs, but Velasquez followed up a run scoring error with a walk-off grand slam.
2006 witnessed the return of the Sayreville Giants to the Championship series. But they faced a new adversary when the Paterson Phillies defeated Irvington 1-0 to take the North Division Crown. It was the Cardinals first absence from the 'ship' since they joined the league in 2002. The Phillies engineered a two game sweep employing the nine run sixth inning in both games as they coasted 10-6 and 16-4 .
In A Ball the Elizabeth Orioles played host to the Edison Astros in their championship series. And Joe Lambert was there again - this time with the O's. Edison took game one 1-0 as Greg Slavicek won this pitchers' duel at Blueclaws Stadium. Elizabeth evened the series to set up a game three showdown. And the Astros appeared headed to victory before the Orioles mounted their comeback from an 8-1 deficit to win 10-9 and secure their first Championship (and Lambert's unprecedented third A League Championship)
In 2007, the league voted to change the playoff format and a best of three series was adopted for each round. This proved fortuitous for the Middlesex Reds who capped an average regular season with a storybook playoff run, knocking off the first and second place teams in the A League West to earn their way to the Championship Series where they defeated the East Brunswick Dodgers in three games.
In the AA the Phillies defended their North Division title but surrendered the League Championship to the South's NJ Clippers in two games. It was the Clippers' third trip to the 'ship and their first title.
For the AA, the 2008 campaign produced the first championship rematch in consecutive years in more than a decade. Unlike the 1995-96 championships between Carteret's Mariners and Mustangs, which were swept by the Mariners, this rematch had the Paterson Phillies avenging their 2007 loss to the NJ Clippers. Paterson took the series in three games, losing game one before sweeping 2 games the following weekend. Our A League crowned a new Champion when the South River Bombers swept a pair from the Morris Brewers. The first game was a twelve inning, 4-3 gem at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood.
2009 was a season characterized by numerous rainouts and so, the longest on record. In the end, the NJ Bears who were primarily comprised of players from the defunct NJ Clippers with a handful of Middlesex Bears and some new talent, met up with the Paterson Phillies who were in their fourth consecutive championship series. The series saw the Phils win an 18 inning game two, to even the series. But in game three, Gus Guida's three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth turned a 9-7 deficit into the Bears' fourth League Championship. In A ball, the South Amboy Pitbulls swept the Middlesex Pirates 7-4 and 5-3 for their first championship.
The Sayreville Giants and NY/NJ White Sox filled the void when neither the Bears nor the Phillies returned in 2010. The White Sox who were reclassified as Northerners took first place and won the division crown, but fell in a two game set to the South's Sayreville Giants by scores of 4-2 and 6-5. It was the Giants' second Championship as they swept all three post season series. In A ball the Edison Cubs breezed through the early season and looked like they might improve on their 19-1 2009 record. The end of the season left room for doubt and they got by the Nemesis in three games in round one, before sweeping the next two rounds en route to their first Spring Championship. They had earned a Fall Ball Flag in 2009. They defeated the West's Red Sox 4-0 in game 1 at FirstEnergy Park. Game two also went to the Cubs but it took them thirteen innings to edge the Sox 5-4 at Torpey Athletic Complex.
2011 brought some challenges. Declining from 27 to 24 teams to start the season, the league took a hit when three veteran teams unexpectedly withdrew in mid-season. The Morris Brewers, Irvington Cardinals and NY/NJ White Sox all folded in the month of June. The A League weathered the loss of one team but the AA schedule was decimated and the playoff format had the South division Senators playing in the North division. Those Senators beat the Shockers in round one before losing 2 of 3 to the Phillies, who returned to the Championship after taking 2010 off. However the Phillies suffered a devastating blow just hours before their game 3 with the Senators when their teammate Rey Garcia was killed in a traffic accident. It was a somber squad that faced off against the defending champion Giants the following week. The Giants took that game one by an 8-1 score, and completed a sweep with a 5-0 shutout two weeks later. In A Ball, the South Amboy Pitbulls, who also took off the 2010 season, returned to the Championship Series, this time representing the East division. They got by a tough Monmouth County Twins team and an equally tough Amboy Angel squad to meet the Colt 45’s at Lakewood’s FirstEnergy Park for game one of the Championship. The ‘Bulls swept that series 5-1, and 6-4. In Fall Ball, Tim Ritchie’s Bulldogs, in their first year, took the title from the defending champion Kearny White Sox by a 5-1 score on November 20 at William Warren Park.
    If 2011 was the beginning of the end, 2012 was the end of the end …of the RVNABA, as it had been known. For the second time after winning an A League Championship, the Pitbulls failed to make the climb into AA, opting again to sit out the season. Our two most southern teams spun off to create the Jersey Shore NABA, and the AA endured an entire season with just five squads – and only a 16 game schedule – the fewest since 1993. At the end the last teams standing were Bill Hynes’ defending champion Giants and the NJ Cubs managed by former Giant Matt Gizzi. It took three games, but the Giants won their third straight title. After losing game one 9-7, on Saturday Sept 15, the Giants swept a doubleheader the next day. The A League, on the other hand, came within two makeup games of all ten teams completing a 21-game schedule. The Shockers ran away with the West posting an 18-2 record and advanced through the playoffs to square off against the Amboy Angels. The Angels, who finished in second, two games behind the Monmouth Twins, swept the Edison Cubs and the Twins en route to the Championship series, which they also swept by scores of 11-1 and 14-1. The new Jersey Shore NABA combined with the RVNABA to put a Fall Ball season together. The Championship featured the Monmouth County Thunder challenging the first place Harrison Blue Jays (formerly the Kearny White Sox), who were making their fifth straight appearance. The Blue Jays emerged victorious with a 4-0 shutout.

Click on History to the left for more in depth historical data such as records and stats.


Friday, November 5
League Champions
1992 No Post Season

1993 Woodbridge Pirates 3-2(12inns) over Middlesex Bears

1994 Carteret Mustangs over Middlesex Bears (2-0)
Game 1 Stangs 20, Bears 10, Game 2 Stangs 14, Bears 4

1995 Carteret Mariners 11-1 over Carteret Mustangs

1996 Carteret Mariners 10-8 over Carteret Mustangs

1997 Carteret Mustangs 8-6 over Piscataway Indians

1998 Carteret Mustangs 10-8 over Middlesex Bears

1999 Middlesex Bears 8-1 over Spotswood Pirates

2000 A Old Bridge Cubs 10-0 over Liberty Athletics
2000 AA Middlesex Bears 13-12 over New Brunswick Mets

2001 A Bridgewater Blue Jays 28-6 over Madison Brewers
2001 AA Middlesex Bears 10-9 over Stirling Hawks

2002 A Fords Pirates 9-5 over South River Black Sox
2002 AA Irvington Cardinals 4-2 over Sayreville Giants

2003 A Carteret Twins 7-0 over South Amboy Yankees
2003 AA Irvington Cardinals 8-7 over New Jersey Clippers

2004 A Somerset Sundevils 16-3 over East Brunswick Dodgers
2004 AA Sayreville Giants 6-1 over Irvington Cardinals

2005 A South Amboy Yankees over South Plainfield White Sox (2-1)
Game 1 Yanks 1, Sox 0   Game 2 Sox 4, Yanks 3    Game 3 Yanks 10, Sox 3
2005 AA Irvington Cardinals over NJ Clippers (2-1)
Game 1 Cards 3, Clips 0   Game 2 Clips 10, Cards 7    Game 3 Cards 10, Clips 9

2006 A Elizabeth Orioles over Edison Astros (2-1)
Game 1 Stros 1, O's 0   Game 2 O's 14, Stros 5   Game 3 O's 10, Stros 9
2006 AA Paterson Phillies over Sayreville Giants (2-0)
Game 1 Phils 10, Giants 6    Game 2 Phils 16, Giants 4

2007 A Middlesex Reds over East Brunswick Dodgers (2-1)
Game 1 Dodgers 6, Reds 2 Game 2 Reds 4 Dodgers 3 (10 inn) Game 3 Reds 14, Dodgers 6
2007 AA NJ Clippers over Paterson Phillies (2-0)
Game 1 Clippers 5, Phillies 2 Game 2 Clippers 8, Phillies 2

2008 A South River Bombers over Morris Brewers (2-0)
Game 1 Bombers 4, Brewers 3 (12 inn) Game 2 Bombers 10, Brewers 5
2008 AA Paterson Phillies over New Jersey Clippers (2-1)
Game 1 Clippers 15, Phils 8 Game 2 Phillies 2, Clips 1 Game 3 Phillies 10, Clips 5

2009 A South Amboy Pitbulls over Middlesex Pirates (2-0)
Game 1 Pitbulls 7, Pirates 4 Game 2 Pitbulls 5, Pirates 3
2009 AA NJ Bears over Paterson Phillies (2-1)
Game 1 Bears 13, Phils 7 Game 2 Phillies 4, Bears 3(18 inn) Game 3 Bears 10 Phils 9

2010 A Edison Cubs over Riley's Red Sox of Clinton (2-0)
Game 1 Cubs 4, Red Sox 0 Game 2 Cubs 5, Red Sox 4 (13 inn)
2010 AA Somerville Giants over NY/NJ White Sox (2-0)
Game 1 Giants 4, White Sox 2 Game 2 Giants 6, White Sox 5

2011 A South Amboy Pitbulls over Colt 45's (2-0)
Game 1 Pitbulls 5, Colt 45's 1 Game 2 Pitbulls 6, Colt 45's 4
2011 AA Somerville Giants over Paterson Phillies (2-0)
Game 1 Giants 8, Phillies 1 Game 2 Giants 5, Phillies 0

2012 AA Somerville Giants over NJ Cubs (2-1)
Game 1 Cubs 9, Giants 7 Game 2 Giants 11, Cubs 1 Game 3 Giants 6, Cubs 2


All-Time Team Records (thru 2003)
ACTIVE RECORDS 1993-Present               
Middlesex Bears         12 Seasons - 141-81
Postseason 12-10
Middlesex Reds/Yankees 10 Seasons - 73-134
Postseason 2-5
Sayreville Giants/Mets 6 Seasons - 68-48
Postseason 7-4
Bridgewater Blue Jays   4 Seasons - 38-37
Postseason 2-3
Liberty Athletics       4 Seasons - 27-46
Postseason 1-1
Old Bridge Angels\Titans4 Seasons - 39-39
Postseason 0-2
Beavers/Tigers          4 Seasons - 30-46
Postseason 1-2
Madison Brewers         3 Seasons - 19-32
Postseason 1-1
Scotch Plains Sand Gnats3 Seasons - 23-32
Postseason 0-1
South Amboy Yankees    3 Seasons - 22-36
Postseason 2-1
Irvington Cardinals    3 Seasons - 49-10
Postseason 7-1
Fords Pirates          2 Seasons - 25-14
Postseason 3-0
Rock Spring Rockies    2 Seasons - 28-9
Postseason 1-2
East Brunswick Dodgers 2 Seasons - 25-14
Postseason 1-2
South River Black Sox   2 Seasons - 23-16
Postseason 2-1
Perth Amboy Red Sox    2 Seasons - 22-14-1
Postseason 1-2
Linden Yankees          2 Seasons - 14-22
Postseason 0-1
Carteret White Sox      2 Seasons - 13-18
Postseason 0-0
South Amboy Tides       2 Seasons - 19-19-1
Postseason 0-0
Hudson County Royals    2 Seasons - 15-22
Postseason 1-1
Edison Astros/Lobsters 2 Seasons - 4-30
Postseason 0-0
INACTIVE TEAMS
Stirling Hawks          8 Seasons - 75-70
Postseason 1-4       (1994-2002)
Carteret Mariners       7 Seasons - 84-43
Postseason 7-5       (1995-2001)
Cubs/Braves/Bulldogs    6 Seasons - 58-54
Postseason 3-4
Carteret Stallions      4 Seasons - 38-35
Postseason 0-2
Garwood Indians         7 Seasons - 58-67
Postseason 1-3       (1994-2000)
Carteret Mustangs       6 Seasons - 72-27
Postseason 9-2       (1994-1999)
Spotswood Pirates       4 Seasons - 31-44
Postseason 2-1       (1998-2001)
Bash Brothers          3 Seasons - 27-25
Postseason 0-1       (1994,96&97)
Morris Yankees          3 Seasons - 25-26
Postseason 1-2       (1998-2000)
North Essex Cards       3 Seasons - 22-24
Postseason 1-2       (1998-2000)
Bound Brook Devils      3 Seasons - 21-31
Postseason 1-2       (1993,94&96)
Woodbridge Pirates      1 Season - 15-0
Postseason 2-0       (1993)
Team Puerto Rico       1 Season - 11-7
Postseason 0-1       (2001)
North Brunswick Pub    1 Season - 10-8
Postseason 0-1       (1996)
Bombers                1 Season - 8-7
Postseason 0-1       (1993)
Peapack Phillies       1 season - 9-8
Postseason 0-0       (1995)
Carteret Knights       1 Season - 9-11
Postseason 0-0       (2001)
Stealth                1 Season - 8-10
Postseason 0-0       (1993)
Black Sox               1 Season - 4-9
Postseason 0-0       (1993)
Amboy Astros            1 Season - 5-12
Postseason 0-0       (1999)
Fanwood Marlins         1 Season - 5-13
Postseason 0-0       (2000)
South Plfd Devil Rays   1 Season - 1-13
Postseason 0-0       (1997)
Devil Rays (N)          1 Season - 0-9
Postseason 0-0       (1998)
Elizabeth Sharks       1 Season - 0-17
Postseason 0-1       (1993)


Top 5: Best and Worst Records
BEST REGULAR SEASON RECORDS
1993 Woodbridge Pirates, 15-0
1996 Carteret Mustangs,   17-1
1998 Carteret Mariners,   17-1
2002 Fords Pirates,       17-2
2002 Irvington Cardinals, 17-2
1994 Carteret Mustangs,   16-2
2000 Middlesex Bears,    16-2


WORST REGULAR SEASON RECORDS
1994 Fords Yankees 0-18
1993 Sharks 0-17
1997 Devil Rays 1-13
1998 North Essex Cardinals 1-13
2002 South Plfd Lobsters 2-17


Top 5: Most Runs Scored in a Game
One Team:
8/20/95 Mustangs 30, Indians 14
5/18/97 Bears 30, Devil Rays 7
6/19/94 Bears 27, Yankees 2
6/28/98 Bears 25, Mustangs 19
6/09/96 Mustangs 24, Yankees 3
5/02/99 Bears 24, Cardinals 2

Combined:
6/28/98 Bears 25, Mustangs 19
8/20/95 Mustangs 30, Indians 14
6/22/97 Hawks 22, Bears 21
4/23/95 Bears 19, Hawks 18
5/18/97 Bears 30, Devil Rays 7
7/26/98 Hawks 19, Yankees (N) 18


Top 5: Biggest Shutouts and Blowouts
SHUTOUTS
7/13/97 Mariners 22, Yankees 0
6/29/97 Mustangs 17, Devil Rays 0
5/03/98 Hawks 17, Devil Rays (N) 0
6/13/93 Bears 16, Sharks 0
6/20/93 Devils 16, Sharks 0

BLOWOUTS                        
6/19/94 Bears 27, Yankees 2
5/18/97 Bears 30, Devil Rays 7
7/13/97 Mariners 22, Yankees 0
5/02/24 Bears 24, Cardinals 2
6/02/96 Indians 23, Bash Brothers 2
6/09/96 Mustangs 24, Yankees 3   


All Star Games
1999 Sixth RVNABA Summer Classic pitted the Blue team (Bears, Yankees, Mariners, Yankees, Braves and Mets) vs. the Red and White team (Pirates, Hawks, Cardinals, Indians, Astros, Mustangs)in the most uneven match of the half dozen all-star games, 19-1.

Scoring started in the top of the first inning off of Mustang, Chris Parkhill when Mariner, Mike Toth lost a ball in the Careteret sky. With two out, in the second inning, one run in and three singles later. Pirate, Glenny Fredricks come on to get the final out of the inning. Blue was up 5-0. Two more four run innings in the 5th and 6th
but the game on ice for the dominant Blue Squad.
The lone bright spot for the Red and White team was the eighth inning straight steal of home from Parkhill.
After the final out was recorded, Ken Heard of the Morris Yankees was named MVP, pitching 3 scoreless innings and going 3 for 4 with a pair of RBI. Fellow Yankee, Rob Pettigrew was right behind him with 2 scoreless innings, striking out 4 and going 3-for-3 at the dish. Dave Grimes recored 2 K's in two scroeless innings and also popped a three run dinger.