Coral Gables A's win 2nd straight MABL Disney Holiday ClassicUpdated Thursday February 18, 2016 by AUBL Miami.
As has become their annual tradition, the Coral Gables A's traveled to Disney's Wide World of Sports to play in the MSBL 18+ Disney Holiday Classic. The A's have now played in 14 of these events which are held on MLK weekend in the Atlanta Braves' Spring Training Complex. During this span, the A's had won 3 of the tournaments and made playoffs in all but 4 of them. In 2016, the A's were looking to defend their 2015 championship and go back to back for the first time in the team's history.
The tournament got off a little crazy as the A's first game on Friday morning was pushed back to 10:40pm due to weather delays. In the first of four round robin games, the A's defeated the Chicago Riptide 3-2 in a 7 inning game. Led by tournament ace Jason Privett, the A's were able to take advantage of some miscues from the Riptide and win 3-2 as Privett went the distance for the A's. George Hassell, Robinson Cancel and Willy Mizrahi drove in the 3 runs. In Game 2, Mizrahi pitched a 9 inning complete game gem to lead the A's over the Brandon Bombers in a 4-2 win. Game 3 witnessed the A's bats cool down in critical moments as they tied the Tainos 5-5. With a playoff birth already at hand, the A's went into Game 4 needing the win to avoid a Semi Final and advance directly to the Championship. Unfortunately, the A's ran into a Tampa Thunder team who mashed out 18 hits en route to a 13-7 win. The only highlight for the A's was a 2 run bomb from Eric Perez in the 1st.
With a 2-1-1 record, the A's clinched the 2nd seed in the division and squared off against the Bombers for the 2nd time this weekend. The Bombers started Esteban Yan who was the closer for the Tampa Rays in 2005-06. The A's matched Yan with their ace Alex Arteaga who pitched a complete game shutout to earn the championship birth with a 1-0 win. The lone running coming off an Ulpi Puente RBI single in the 6th.
In the Tournament Championship Game, the A's faced the Riptide who had gone 3-1 in the round robin, their only defeat being at the hands of the A's. The Riptide came out firing scoring 2 in the first. After the A's scored in the 2nd to make it a 2-1 game, the game went quiet for 4 innings as both pitchers were tough to hit. On the mound for the A's was Josh Strawn who ended up going 6 strong innings striking out 8. The Riptide added to their lead in the 6th with another run but the A's quickly answered and scored 4 runs in the final 2 innings to end up with a 6-3 win. Privett came back out and pitched the final 3 innings to collect the win.
The win marked the A's 4th Disney Classic Championship, their 7th National Tournament Championship!