Members of the Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers celebrate with their championship trophy Sept. 9 at Jimmy John’s Field. The Beavers knocked off the Eastside Diamond Hoppers 9-3 to win their second straight USPBL title.

Members of the Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers celebrate with their championship trophy Sept. 9 at Jimmy John’s Field. The Beavers knocked off the Eastside Diamond Hoppers 9-3 to win their second straight USPBL title.

Photo by Donna Agusti


Birmingham-Bloomfield repeats as USPBL champs, league names MVPs

By: Jason Carmel Davis | C&G Newspapers | Published September 13, 2018

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UTICA — The United Shore Professional Baseball League wrapped up its third season Sept. 9, and it could potentially have a dynasty brewing.

The Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers knocked off the Eastside Diamond Hoppers 9-3 in the championship game. The win gave the Beavers (27-21) a second straight title. The Utica Unicorns won the league’s inaugural championship in 2016.

 

Solid outing
Birmingham-Bloomfield starting pitcher Kevin Matthews stood out in the title game, striking out eight in 5.2 innings of work. Infielder Thomas Roulis laced a double that drove in two runs. The performances by the duo earned them championship game co-MVP honors.

Beavers outfielders Nicholas Campana and Ryan Smith both recorded two hits and an RBI in the final. Meanwhile, relief pitcher Gerry Salisbury didn’t allow a run in 2.1 innings of work for the squad. 

Salisbury came up big in the sixth inning, getting out of a bases-loaded jam with the Beavers holding on to a 4-2 lead.

Eastside infielder Gunnar Buhner went 1 for 5 in the game, driving in two runs. First baseman Cameron Coons drove in the team’s other run. Eastside outfielder Pat Adams went 2 for 2 with two walks.

In all, the Beavers used five pitchers, striking out nine and allowing 10 walks. Eastside used six pitchers, recording four strikeouts and eight walks.

 

League hands out awards
Utica Unicorns infielder Dan Ward and Westside Woolly Mammoths outfielder Ethan Wiskur both had strong seasons. Those campaigns helped give Ward and Wiskur a share of the USPBL MVP Award.

The award is voted on by USPBL coaches and league operations staff.

Ward, from Garfield Heights, Ohio, finished his first USPBL season with a league-leading 12 home runs and finished third in batting average (.293) and fourth in RBIs (32). 

Ward also received the Harvey Red Bluhm Champion Spirit Award, which is a new award given to a player who has battled adversity to become a professional baseball player. The award is named after former Boston Red Sox player Harvey Red Bluhm and presented by the Anderson Bluhm Freedom Foundation. The group will donate $500 to a charity of Ward’s choice.

Wiskur, of Clio, led the league with 34 RBIs and finished second with 10 home runs while hitting .304. Wiskur, in his second season, also hit 11 doubles and notched 14 multi-hit games.

Woolly Mammoths pitcher Josh Mason earned the USPBL Pitcher of the Year Award after going 8-2 with a 2.87 ERA. Mason, who was also in his second USPBL season, led the league with 78 strikeouts in 94 innings of work over 16 games. 

Coons, in his first USPBL campaign, earned the league Sportsmanship Award. 

Coons, from Albertville, Alabama, “exemplified gamesmanship at all times and represented his team and the league at the highest level,” according to a press release.

Utica Unicorns pitcher Michael Scimanico, in his second season, earned the Most Improved Player Award. After appearing in five games in 2017, Scimanico made 31 appearances in the 2018 regular season and led the league with seven saves. Scimanico struck out 71 batters and allowed just 17 hits.

Diamond Hoppers shortstop Kevin Whatley, who was in his first season with the league, earned the Defensive Player of the Year Award. Whatley, from Port Orchard, Washington, led the league with 130 assists.