New Orleans wins AAABA

Members of the New Orleans Boosters celebrate after getting the final out in the 5-2 win over Martella’s Pharmacy in the AAABA championship game Saturday, August 10, 2019, at Sargent’s Stadium at the Point.

The New Orleans Boosters prevented Martella’s Pharmacy from repeating as champion in the 75th annual AAABA Tournament in front of an estimated 4,500 fans at Sargent’s Stadium at the Point on Saturday night.

The Boosters’ 5-2 victory also enabled the Louisiana squad to avenge a loss in the historic 2018 championship game won by Martella’s for the City of Johnstown’s first-ever AAABA crown.

“New Orleans, they’re an A-1 first-class ballteam,” Martella’s Pharmacy manager Jesse Cooper said. “They always come in with a great group of guys, a great coaching staff, a great franchise.

“I told our guys I was so proud of them,” Cooper added. “They really stepped up and played hard this week, every pitch, every game, with this crowd."

New Orleans’ Most Valuable Player third baseman Grant Schulz had two hits, two runs and drove in one run. Catcher Greg Thompson had a two-run single in the eighth inning as New Orleans overcame a 1-0 advantage Martella’s Pharmacy held until the late innings. The Boosters went 6-0 in the tournament.

“We had a few guys step up,” New Orleans manager Darrin Dares said. “It was nice to see the bottom of the order did a lot of that. It was good to see a bunch of different guys contribute.”

A perennial tournament power, New Orleans won its 16th AAABA Tournament championship in its 28th appearance in the title game.

Martella’s once again represented the city well during the special 75th anniversary event, rolling to a 5-0 start before losing to the Boosters.

Manager Jesse Cooper’s team reached back-to-back title games and was the fourth straight Johnstown team to reach the championship round. Paul Carpenter Capital Advisors finished as AAABA Tournament runner-up in both 2016 and 2017 as the Johnstown-2 squad.

Martella’s right fielder Omar Ward had three hits on Saturday. Johnstown pitcher Joel Colledge had another strong start in the setback.

Mike Mastovich is a sports reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5083. Follow him on Twitter @Masty81.