Twins Motivation Fuels Majors Division Championship!!!
By: Kelly Boehmer - Twins Manager
The 2018 Majors Division Twins journey to the championship really began after a hard fought 5-4 loss to the D-backs in the last regular season game. Our Twins had been playing better as of late, but once again, we lost in the bottom of the last inning. When the playoff seeding came out, we knew we would have to play 3 teams who had already beaten us to win the championship. After that game I told the kids that we would be playing the same team Monday night and our win/loss records were the same, 0-0.
When Monday night rolled around, the league commissioner delivered a box of trophies for the team that would be distributed at the end of our last game. We set the box above the first cubbie in the dugout where everyone could see it and said that we were not going to open that box tonight. As coaches we talked about being a leader, not a distraction, having a “next man up” mentality, playing hard and leaving it all on the field, win or lose. We faced the #2 seed D-backs again and after a hard fought, back and forth game we held a 4 run lead going into the bottom of the 5th inning. The D-backs scored 3 runs and with 2 outs, had runners on 2nd and 3rd with a good batter at the plate. Our pitcher recorded the third out with a strikeout to preserve the 8-7 win.
With the win, we moved on to face the Tigers, a team that had beaten us the 1st game of the year. We set the trophy box on the 1st cubbie in the dugout and reminded ourselves that we were not going to open it tonight. We started strong and pitched one of the best games of the year, giving up only 1 hit. This game exemplified our next man up mantra. Our pitchers would start off strong and strike out multiple batters then start to fade and give up walks. Every time we switched pitchers, they got us out of a jam and retired the Tigers. We won the game 5-2 and moved on to the championship game against the Phillies.
We were blessed with a beautiful May Saturday morning and the team was excited to have made it to the championship game. Before the game, we set the trophy box above the cubbie and said that yes, one way or another, we would open it today. Coach Chris spoke to the team about fundamentals and playing up to their potential. The Phillies had whipped us 18-2 in a previous game but we told the kids that didn’t matter. We told them that we couldn’t play the game for them and it was theirs to win or lose. Right before the player introductions, I told the team how proud I was of them and that they should be proud of each other for making it this far. The last thing I told them was to play hard, smile and laugh a little bit and enjoy themselves because this is where you want to be right now.
We battled the Phillies and they battled us. They were a well-coached team and we knew we couldn’t afford to give them anything easy. We got off to an early lead, but the Phillies cut into it. Most of the game, we were separated by 2 runs or less. In the end, with the tying run at the plate, our pitcher fielded a ground ball and ran to first base to record the final out. We won the game 9-7.
It was an honor as a coach to see the team celebrate and relish a victory that was all about them. Of course, after the celebrating and awards presentation, we had one more thing left to do. We grabbed the box of trophies from the dugout and said that now we could open the box, which we gladly did. A parent reminded me after the game that championships, whether rec league or anything else are hard to come by. That made me ponder the impact winning as a team could have on these kids. For some, it may be one of many championships that they will be a part of but for others it may be the first, as it was for this 54 year old coach.
Twins Roster: Manager Kelly Boehmer, Coach Chris Sasso, Aaron McMenamy, Matthew Tabor, Luke Boehmer, Cole Sasso, Ryan Sturm, Mike Soffian, Drew Goddard, Konley Pius, Mason Schwartz, Preston Wilkerson, Gavin Stopa, Jackson Hendrickson