For the first time in history, it will be all-Buffalo in the championship game of the National Amateur Baseball Federation Major World Series today in Battle Creek, Mich.
Orville's and Battistoni Diesel, both members of the New Era Muny AAA baseball league, got through the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds Saturday to advance to the NABF championship game at noon today at C.O. Brown Stadium. It's the first time two teams from the same league have played for the NABF championship.
It will be the third year in a row Diesel has reached the final game, winning in 2015 and losing to Brooklyn Sports Fever last year.
Each team had a perilous journey on Saturday. Diesel blew an early 7-0 lead but after falling behind took the lead with a run in the eighth and put it away with three more in the top of then ninth to defeat St. John's Leftys of Pittsburgh, 12-8, in its semifinal.
Manager Paul Wolf's team pounded out 20 hit in the win. Rob Luehrsen drove in the winning run in the eight Chris Kwitzer had four hits and scored three times for Diesel while Mike Wagner, Nick Jasinski and Neal DeMartin each had three hits. Former UB pitcher Kevin Hughes picked up the win and Wagner had the save.
Earlier Diesel avenged last year's loss to Brooklyn, eliminating the Fever, 10-6, behind a strong performance by Wagner, who pitched the nine-inning distance and chipped in with two hits and scored twice. Andrew Russo had three hits and Randy Moley, Kwitzer, B.J. Stack and Jim Spano each had two hits.
Orvilles rolled over three-time former champion Detroit Jet Box, 9-3, in the semifinals after a tense 8-7 semifinal victory over Hackensack (N.J.) Troasts, a team Orville's had routed 12-2 in pool play on Thursday. Orvilles, which has won all five of its games in the World Series, triumphed with a run in the bottom of the ninth. After having an early 4-0 lead, Orvilles had to rally from a 6-5 deficit in the eighth.
Zach Jordan will get the start for Battistoni in the championship game today. Orville's has not named a starter.