First, Buffalo had to best a field of some of the best amateur baseball teams in the country.
Then, the Diesel had to take on the weather.
The New York team was able to come out on top in both cases and the Buffalo Diesel became National Amateur Baseball Federation champions for the third time on Sunday.
In a rain-shortened contest, Buffalo defeated the Lombard (Ill.) Orioles, 4-3, in the championship game of the 108th NABF Charles Blackburn Major Division World Series at MCCU Field at CO Brown Stadium in Battle Creek.
“Our boys came to Battle Creek on a mission. We wanted this and the boys battled, it’s awesome. It’s been a little bit, but we finally got our third,” Diesel manager Paul Wolf said as his team also won in 2015 and 2017.
Buffalo broke open a close game in the sixth inning when Zach Jordan came up with a bases-loaded single to drive in two runs, followed by an RBI single by Corey Paige for a 7-3 lead.
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After an hour delay and with the field conditions decidedly unplayable, the championship game was called and reverted back to the last full inning, giving the Diesel the 4-3 win and the 2022 championship.
“It’s not how we wanted to win it, with the rain,” Wolf said. “But we had just gone up 7-3, we were beating them up pretty well at that point. We had 14 hits, they had just three. We had all of our pitching left. We felt like we had the game pretty much in control.”
Buffalo starter Joe DiLeo was the winning pitcher in the championship game. Max Giordano went 3-for-4 at the plate with two home runs and Max Schmarder had a two-run single in the top of the third inning.
Nick Jasinski and catcher Tom LaCongo shared tournament MVP honors.
Jasinski, who has been on all three national championship teams, recalls coming up short in the final last year to back-to-back champ Berea.
“We have been thinking about getting this chance again since last year. We were up 6-0 after two innings last year and then they put it on us. So we came back on a mission this year,” Jasinski said. “We have been here, been here a lot of times. We have veterans, we have the young guys. It’s not easy to win this tournament. It’s been a wild ride, but it never gets old. Never gets old to win a national championship.”
Buffalo had defeated the Chicago Clout, 12-3, in the semifinals to advance. Lombard defeated the Muskies, 4-1 in the other semi-final. The host team Battle Creek Merchants failed to get out of pool play and went winless on the tournament.