Vienna Limps to CGL Title
By Chino Gupta
Friday, July 31, 2009
Shortly after the Vienna Senators clinched yet another CGL title with a 3-2 victory over the talented Carney Pirates on Wednesday night, the franchise was faced with an unfamiliar set of circumstances and questions about playing in the post season.
It seems as a rash of injuries in July has put in question whether or not the team would play for a National Championship as it has done for every year, but one (2005), since 1995. The Senators have competed in the NBC World Series in Wichita , KS since 2004 and they have fared well with tournament victories against other College Summer League championship teams such as representatives from the Jayhawk League and the Alaska League. They will not be going to Wichita this year; in fact they may not go anywhere.
The Senators fought a triumphant battle in CGL this season but it may be all they can muster for 2009. Key injuries began the first week of July when starting left fielder Nic Bollousa (Tulane) tore his meniscus in his knee, and then local hero Keith Werman (UVA) had a freak injury cracking a rib making a routine throw in the infield. After that the occurrence of season ending injuries snowballed over the next 2 weeks. Right handed pitcher Ryan Doiron ( Tulane) had shoulder tendonitis end his season, left handed pitcher Kyle Blank ( Marshall ) had a back injury, Victor Lara (Keystone) had a gum infection from his braces. Catcher Devin Walker ( Utah ) was flown back to Utah to find an inflamed tendon, Brandon Padula (WVU) was hampered by a quadricep pull; Greg Uzee ( Louisiana College ) a dominant starting pitcher has been shut down and flown to Louisiana to check out his sore elbow by Dr. Andrews. Even the ever present Austin Booker ( Cal ) who played in every game this summer, succumbed to injury as he broke his left thumb in the championship game.
What this means is the team is decimated and is a shell of its former self, and the chance for the team to continue a very successful season is at best a long shot.
Longtime Vienna Manager Chris Burr stated, I have never seen a team handle so many injuries, and still remain competitive. It is a tribute to this team that it kept it together enough to not only survive the season, but to triumph in the end. Burr thinks that so many injuries are not uncommon for any team, but what is uncommon to win with several key injuries.
The question remains for the Senators is there enough healthy players on their roster available to keep playing? Burr answered, We started this season with a lot of talent and depth, and we had five players on our roster whom had been previously drafted along with many all conference players. Now we are just trying to get by, it is tough to be at the defining point of a season and not have all your guns, but that is the way baseball goes sometimes.
The Senators were due to report to the NBC World Series in Wichita , KS on the 1 st of August. The team did not make the trip and has only one option for post season at this point. The AAABA World Series in Johnstown , PA begins August 10 th , the Senators are trying to solidify a roster for that tournament. The Senators have a storied history in Johnstown , they won that title 4 times in 5 years from 1998-2003.
According to sources close to the team, the Senators will meet next week and analyze their situation, if they have enough players eligible to play in the AAABA tournament, they will give it a shot