Three Lehigh Valley Men's Baseball League divisions will decide their championships this weekend.
The 43 American Division, 25 American Division, and 18 American Division all have titles up for grabs in three-game series.
The seven-time champion Hurricanes take on the defending champion Springtown Mudcats.
Each team finished the regular season 15-2-1. The Mudcats took the No. 1 seed by virtue of winning the season series over the Hurricanes, 2-1-1, and swept the Diamondbacks in the first round to reach the finals. The Hurricanes swept the Gorilla A's to reach the title series.
Both teams have deep lineups with eight hitters batting better than .400. Chris Beaver leads the 'Canes attack with a .577 batting average and a homerun, while Matt Hanson batted .508. On the Mudcats side, Keith Hawk has four homers and Jamy Ritter batted .622.
Mike Drago leads the Hurricanes in innings pitched by a wide margin, followed by Eddy Boyce and Beaver. A smattering of other pitchers to log innings for the Hurricanes includes late-season signing and former pro PJ Yoder.
The Mudcats had a mor even distribution of pitching innings. They were led by Jeff Ellis and Dave Palumbo, with Mike Pychinka, Julio Lebron and Chad Arnold also reaching at least 18 innings.
Game 1 is noon Saturday, Game 2 is 11 a.m. Sunday, and Game 3 if necessary is 1:30 p.m. Sunday, all at Limeport.
The Cyclones hope the second time is the charm as last years runners up take on the Royals, who are new to the division and making their first title series appearance in team history.
The Cyclones (14-4) and Royals (13-3-2) finished tied for first place in the regular season, with the Cyclones taking the No. 1 seed by virtue of a better run differential. The Cyclones swept the Pirates in the first round and and the Royals swept the Black Sox in the first round to reach the title series.
Steve Ghazi, Jake DeSane, and Yonel Fermin were the Royals batting average leaders, and Max Galarza registered his third LV MSBL homerun. Kyle Ladd, Franky Rijo-Espinosa, and Tony Betancourt led the Cyclones in batting average, and Scott McGowan added a homer.
Both teams have a two-headed monster at the top of the rotation. Ory Ball and Matt Kiak virtually tied for the Royals innings lead, and Mike Pastor and Ricky Siegmund virtually tied for the Cyclones innings lead. Dylan Tuliszewski and Vinnie Trivett of the Royals and Wil Flores of the Cyclones are the other pitchers in the series to log significant innings for their teams this season.
Game 1 is 10 a.m. Saturday at Pacchioli Field in Martins Creek, Game 2 is 1 p.m. Sunday at Cetronia in Allentown, and Game 3 if necessary is 3:30 p.m. at Cetronia.
The Kings seek their fourth championship, and first since a threepeat from 2011-2013, against Bushkill, who held first place in the division from wire to wire.
The No. 1 seed Bushkill (12-4-1) swept the N0. 4 seed Astros in the first round to reach the championship series. The No. 3 seed Kings (6-8 in a rain-shortened schedule) upset the No. 2 seed Pink Sox with a 2-1 series victory.
Tom Crimi, Brandon Talmadge and Nate Fritzinger led Bushkill in batting average, and Talmadge (2), Crimi, and Adam Recker homered this season. Luis Garcia, Edgar Garcia and Jose Lebron led the Kings in batting average, and Ramon Garcia, Zach Kantor and J Trexler added homeruns.
Nick Terleski led Bushkill in innings pitched, followed by Fritzinger. Six others took the mound but didn't register more than five innings. Trexler led the Kings in pitching innings, followed by Brandon Knipe. Of six others to take the mound for the Kings, only Luis Garcia had more than five innings.
Game 1 is 4:30 p.m. at Southside Bethlehem Little League, Game 2 is 1 p.m. at Bushkill Township Field, and Game 3 if necessary is at Bushkill.