By Steven Gerardy
It was a gorgeous day for the conclusion of the South Florida Collegiate Baseball League at Little Fenway Park in Delray Beach, Florida on Sunday.
All good things must come to an end and the West Boca Snappers won the 2018 championship series defeating the Palm Beach Diamond Ducks in thrilling fashion two games to zero in a best of three match-up.
The three seeded Snappers won both Friday and Saturday to secure their place in the championship round, while the Diamond Ducks won Saturday defeating the Palm Beach Xtreme after a first round bye as the number one seed of the SFCBL playoff tournament. West Boca won on Friday night against the Delray Beach Lightning, then advanced to Sunday's action by beating the the two seeded Pompano Beach Clippers. Francisco Urbaez (Florida Atlantic University) took home the championship series Most Valuable Player award.
Both games of the championship series came down to the final at bat as the tying runs were on the base paths in the final inning of each game.
The 4-2 first game victory for the Snappers was due in large part to the gem pitched by left handed starter Colton Tyson (Southeastern University). Tyson threw one knockout punch after another as the Diamond Ducks did not have an answer for the crafty and precise lefty. When the game was in the balance in the last inning it was Coby Smith (Anderson University) who slammed the door on the beaks of the hard charging Ducks comeback attempt.
Snapper shortstop Derek Cartaya (Florida International University) continued to impress as he had all season long, throwing his body around the infield to make one stellar play after another, taking runs away from the opponent from the beginning of the season until the championship plaque was lifted into the setting sun in Delray, Florida Sunday night. John Pichman (University of Tampa) showed why he is highly regarded as one of the best prospects in the state of Florida, flashing the leather at his first base position and hitting bomb after bomb into the night, including a solo shot in the clinching game that seems as though it was attached to a SpaceX rocket.
Thursal White (Lynn University) patrolled the outfield like a man possessed, and his glove is where alley-way triples went to die. It was White's three RBI double in the fifth inning of the decisive contest that helped pave the way for the Snappers championship victory 9-7.
The Diamond Ducks were valiant in their effort nearly making two comebacks to force a final game that would have been played Monday if necessary.
It was third basemen Kohl Gilmore (Florida Gulf Coast University) whose duck bill shined brightest for the Palm Beach ball club. Gilmore used the Green Monster at Little Fenway Park for target practice as he took his thirty-four inch rifle out to put dents in the left field scoreboard without regard. Gilmore flashed the leather taking numerous hits away from the Snapper hitters at his hot corner position on the diamond.
Benito Varela (Stetson University) was a stone wall behind the plate all season long and showed off his arm to gun down would be opponents looking to take the extra base.
Robert Machado (Palm Beach Atlantic University) and Keith Stevens ( Florida Gulf Coast University) were solid for the Ducks defensively as well as at the plate. Stevens collected three hits in the final game and reached base four times while Machado was an anchor up the middle making the difficult putout seem routine.
The players for both teams shined brighter than the South Florida sun this weekend showing truly why commissioner Vince Farfaglia said day after day "This league is all about the players. We will continue to treat them like friends and family, and that is how we have become the premier wooden bat league in the country."
The West Boca Snappers are the 2018 South Florida Collegiate Baseball League Champions. Hoist the trophy high in the air manager Dylan Wolchik, hitting coach Ross Smith and general manager Ryan Lamb, the championship is the Snappers, and to the champions go the everlasting memories of an unforgettable summer playing in the sun.