RVL Season Begins May 10th

April 19, 2010
The 2010 Rancocas Valley League baseball season will begin on Monday, May 10th. The 64th season welcomes back returning 7 teams: defending champions Cinnaminson, runner-up Burlington, Delran, Mt. Laurel, Pemberton, Willingboro, and Vincentown. In addition, a new team playing out of Riverside and sponsored by PJ Whelihan's will make their debut. This year the RVL will increase its regular season schedule to 35 games which will commence on May 10th and continue until Tuesday July 27th. The opening round of the playoffs will start on Saturday, July 31st at Southampton Memorial Field. Regular season schedules will be available online shortly.

RVL Poker Tournament Fundraiser

April 19, 2010
The RVL will host its 2nd annual Poker Tournament on Saturday, May 22nd at the Oneida Boat Club in Burlington, NJ starting at 1pm. All proceeds will help defray operating expenses for all participating teams. Please contact Mark Wickersham (mark.wickersham@yahoo.com) for additional information.

Annual RVL Golf Tournament

April 19, 2010
Click Here To Download
The RVL will hold its 6th Annual Golf Tournament on Friday, July 9th, 2010, at the Rancocas Country Club in Willingboro, NJ. Tee time will begin at 1pm. The $100 donation includes a round of golf with a cart and lunch buffet/beverages.

The tournament will follow a scramble format. Prizes will be awarded to the top three foursomes. Additional prizes include: "Closet to the Pin" and "Longest Drive". The registration form can be accessed via the link and can also be found under "RVL Forms".

For more information, please contact Rocky Petrone (rockypetrone@hotmail.com).

Burlington County Times RVL Preview 5-09-2010

May 12, 2010
BCT RVL 2010 Preview

Article courtesy of Bruce Johnson

Burlington County Times Article 5-10-2010

May 12, 2010
BCT RVL 051010

Article courtesy of Bruce Johnson

RVL Fundraiser on May 22nd

May 14, 2010
The RVL will hold its 2nd Annual Texas Hold 'em Poker Tournament on Saturday, May 22 at the Oneida Boat Club in Burlington, NJ. Start time is 1pm. The "Buy in" is $100.00 (75% goes to the pot, 25% to the RVL). Food will be provided for all participants. Cash bar will be available or $20.00 will provide refreshments for the duration of the tournament.

RVL Notebook - Bruce Johnson Burlington County Times

June 6, 2010

RVL Notebook - Bruce Johnson Burlington County Times

June 6, 2010

RVL Notebook - Bruce Johnson Burlington County Times

June 6, 2010

RVL Notebook - Bruce Johnson Burlington County Times

June 7, 2010
Article Courtesy of Bruce Johnson, Burlington County Times

Finding a tie at the fork in the road

After spending two hours in the stifling heat of Mercer County Park watching the final match in the state tennis Tournament of Champions, I came to that proverbial fork in the road when leaving the park: turn right and head home, to watch the Daily Show and the Colbert Report; or turn left, make a food stop at Classic Subs on Route 33 in Hamilton and head down to Life Center Academy for the Rancocas Valley Baseball League game between the Vincentown Merchants and the Burlington Mets.

As much as I love Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, it was an easy choice + and proved to be a wise one. Setting up my chair in the breezy shade under a tree down the first-base line, I downed the sub and Dr Pepper and awaited the action.

Ten minutes before the game's 6:15 start, Merchants manager Harry Thompson was wandering around, checking his watch, hoping an eighth and ninth player would show up so he wouldn't have to drag his 80-year-old body out to first base, or right field. Within minutes, there were 11 Merchants in uniform.

Down the left-field line, Ace Robinson was warming up, getting ready to start for the first-place Mets, who had lost their first game of the year on Tuesday night at Vincentown.

There was the usual pre-game banter and hugging umpires, then the teams got down to business.

Burlington got an unearned run in the first against Zeke Boren, who then shut them down until two outs in the seventh. Meanwhile, Robinson worked out of bases-loaded jams in each of the first three innings.

Early in the game the fans were nearly treated to a rare 9-3 putout, when Keith Babula charged a line drive to right and fired to Jon Reiner at first, with a hustling Vern Powell narrowly beating the throw.

Vincentown tied the game in the fourth on a ground-rule double by Mike Ferrara, and took the lead in the fifth without a hit. A walk and an error on a bunt put runners on first and second for Boren, who drilled a ball to deep right-center field, where Garrett Mull made a spectacular running over-the-shoulder grab as the lead runner moved to third. John Bujanowski Sr. then lined a shot to left-center, with Mull making another eye-opening grab, as the go-ahead run scored.

As darkness started to settle in, a walk and hit batter gave Burlington two runners on with one out. Boren battled back to get the dangerous Mull to foul out, but Paul Guerreri's single to left tied the game. When the ball took a bad hop, both runners moved up to second and third. Thompson elected to pitch to Jeff Vitale, rather than walk him to load the bases and face Babula, with a potential force at any base. Vitale lined one to short right field, but Bujanowski Sr. made a sliding grab and the game was over.

Mull and Stefan Kancylarz, the Merchants' slick young shortstop, made enough nice defensive plays to make that left-hand turn very worthwhile.

Games of the week

The big game of the week should be on Sunday, 4 p.m., when Burlington and Delran meet at Notre Dame Field. The likely pitching matchup for the battle of the league's current 1-2 teams will be Shaun Babula for the Mets and Jason Ronca for Delran.

But it's also a big week for the Jug Handle Inn team, which, because of making up rainouts, will play almost a quarter of its schedule between Sundays. Cinnaminson visits Notre Dame Field for a pair of key games against Delran, Tuesday and Thursday, both at 6:15. In addition to those games, the defending league champions had two games on Sunday, play a home twinbill on Wednesday at Memorial Park, and finish the week with two more on Sunday.

Willingboro @ Burlington - June 8, 2010

June 11, 2010
Summary and Game Photos courtesy of Mark Fletcher, Tri-County Sports Online

Burlington grabbed an early 4-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Willingboro quickly responded with two runs in the top of the third inning. Willingboro tied the game in the top of the seventh inning on a big two-out two-run hit off the bat of Kellen Peter. The Mets had the opportunity to win this game in their half of the seventh inning, but the game ended with the potential winning run thrown out at home plate. Starting pitchers Mike Hynes of Willingboro and Carl Taylor of Burlington pitched brilliantly at times, working out of jams, but neither was involved in a decision. Click here for the photo gallery.

RVL Notebook - Bruce Johnson Burlington County Times

June 21, 2010
Article Courtesy of Bruce Johnson, Burlington County Times

Even on West Coast, Kolwicz still involved

Today the Rancocas Valley League Notebook is unveiling the league leaders in 13 different categories:

Offense: At-bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, runs batted in, stolen bases and batting average;

Pitching: Games, complete games, innings pitched, strikeouts, wins and earned run average.

Before you think I sit around and do all that stuff in my spare time, it should be pointed out that most of the stuff on the RVL's outrageously good website is compiled by former RVLer Steve Kolwicz, with a lot of help from his friends, the eight managers/statisticians of the league's current franchises.

You should check it out. Either Google "Rancocas Valley Baseball League" or go to www.leaguelineup.com/RVLbaseball ... and you will see one of the best websites around. It has league history, phone numbers, e-mail address, rosters, standings, schedules and complete stats + and almost all of them are updated by the day following a game.

Before he was the league's webmaster, Kolwicz played a lot of baseball, for Willingboro High School (1990-92), Rutgers University-Camden (1993-96) and for the Willingboro Baseball Club (through 2007). In fact, he spent time as the team's manager in 2001 and '02 (Willingboro went 23-7 and won the regular-season title that summer).

By then Kolwicz had earned a Ph.D. at Temple and taken a job at Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston. That, of course, did not keep him from playing for Willingboro in the RVL. He'd fly back and forth on weekends, even throwing shutouts in a Boston league and the RVL at age 34!

Kolwicz is currently employed by the University of Washington, researching cardiac metabolism in hypertrophy and failure. But, to nobody's surprise, that hasn't kept him from continuing his role as the RVL's webmaster.

"The league's former 'SID' Brian Solomon did a great job with the RVL website for years," Kolwicz said recently via e-mail. "We had all the stats and league leaders until a few teams became disinterested with the stats part of things. We switched sites to save the league some money, but the current site is fine. I'd like to see more game summaries and stories, but the RVL has never been about that.

"Since I'm on the West Coast now, I'm a little removed from the daily life of the RVL, but I'm happy to see that the managers are finally entering their game stats."

One person Kolwicz would like to thank for his help, with the history section of the website, is Keith Babula, the player-manager of the Burlington Mets.

"He went back and researched the entire history through old newspapers," Kolwicz said. "We have the entire league standings from 1947, which will hopefully be up on the site soon. I'm sorry I couldn't be part of the research with Keith. We'd briefly mentioned doing something like that over beers at league meetings, but it never materialized until Keith carried it through."

Willingboro has been up and down over the past decade, but Kolwicz still follows the team + via the internet and with the help of his old friends.

"Mike Stumpf, Kellen Peter and Mike Gulli, I think those are the only guys still on the roster from when I started playing," he said. (Willingboro's) Jamie Schwantes and I have been friends since 1989. We played on the same team practically every year since then: high school, Legion, college, Tri-County and RVL. This is almost the first time in 20 years that we haven't played together."

Time's on their side

If you want to catch a good baseball game, and you're in a rush, you might want to catch the Delran team in action. Coach Rocky Petrone's guys played three tough games last week, two against Burlington and one vs. Mount Laurel.

Here's how long each game took:

Burlington 1, Delran 0: 5 1/2 innings (rain) in one hour, 10 minutes.

Delran 3, Mount Laurel 0: 6 1/2 innings in one hour, 30 minutes.

Delran 2, Burlington 0: 7 innings in one hour, 45 minutes.

Prorated over nine innings, the average time comes out to two hours, nine minutes. What's a normal Phillies game take? 3, 3 1/2 hours? Same three outs per innings, three strikes and you're out.

Of course the pitching matchups were, in order, Shaun Babula vs. Max Newill, Jason Ronca vs. Scott Cooper and Eric Gertie vs. Carl Taylor.

Games of the week

Delran heads east to Southampton Memorial Field on Tuesday night for a twi-night twinbill with the Vincentown Merchants, a matchup of the league's Nos. 2 and 3 teams in the current standings.

RVL Notebook - Bruce Johnson Burlington County Times

June 28, 2010
Article Courtesy of Bruce Johnson, Burlington County Times

An offer Mingin couldn't refuse

When the Rancocas Valley Baseball League playoffs start in another month, there will be something missing. Make that someone missing.

Ryan Mingin, the catcher for defending league champion Cinnaminson and one of the league's elite players, will be in Goodwell, Okla., by then. He is the new assistant baseball coach and recruiting coordinator at Oklahoma Panhandle State University.

"It's going to be weird, not playing in the tournament, but it was time to make this move," Mingin said Saturday night. "My ultimate goal was always to play professionally, but that didn't work out. But I still love the game and I wanted to give something back to it. I've always wanted to stick around the game, and coaching is a great way to do that.

"I had a great high school coach in Gary Herron. He loved coaching and he loved baseball. And he's still around the game, playing in the RVL."

The 26-year-old Mingin has been playing in the RVL since the summer of his sophomore year at Riverside High School. After playing college ball in Nebraska at Peru State and Bellevue University, and even some summer ball out there, he returned home. The last three years he's been a substitute teacher in Delran and an assistant baseball coach at Burlington County College.

When the job offer came up, literally out of the blue, he jumped at it.

"It's was strange how I got the job," Mingin said. "One of my Cinnaminson teammates, Geoff Gilbert, played college ball at Bridgeport (Conn.) with the Panhandle coach (Steve Appel). The guy told Geoff he was looking for somebody to coach and recruit. Geoff mentioned it to me + I called him + and the rest is history.

"It's a good salary, plus they're paying my tuition to finish up my degree. It was too good to pass up. I'm getting to coach baseball and they're paying me."

Mingin was hitting .394 into Sunday's game at Pemberton. And as good as he is offensively, he's just as well known for his solid defense, rifle arm and his, well, competitiveness.

"I'm gonna miss the RVL, for sure," said Mingin, who will head west next Monday. "The only time I didn't play for Cinnaminson was when I was playing summer ball in Nebraska. But even then I always managed to get in some games when I came home to visit my parents."

It will be especially weird for Mingin come July 31 and through early August, when the RVL's playoffs start. You know his mind will be 1,620 miles to the east, at Vincentown's Southampton Memorial Field.

"When it's (Cinnaminson) against Vincentown or Delran or Burlington, you always have that fire, even during the regular season," he said. "But when it's August, and it's the playoffs, it goes from playing for fun three nights a week to something more serious. Everybody turns it up, because you've got to bring your 'A' game or you're done."

One for the books

Vincentown lost all five games last week, giving up 60 runs.

"We'll be all right, but right now our pitching doesn't have it together," longtime coach Harry Thompson said after Thursday's 14-13 loss to Mount Laurel. "We're just walking too many people. If we can just get our pitchers to hold 'em to 3, 4 runs, and I think we have guys who can do that, than we're going to be just fine."

Thompson's coaching counterpart in that wild game, Mount Laurel's Dean Johnson, was still in La-La land two days later.

"We're starting to come together, after starting out 0-4," the veteran said. "We're 7-3 since then. And that game in Vincentown the other night + I just told my daughter and son, I will never forget that freakin' game, ever. And I'd have said that if we'd lost, too. It should've been a playoff game. It was unbelievable + sorta like an Ali-Frazier (boxing) match."

Sponsors needed

The sixth RVL Golf Outing will be held July 9, at Rancocas Country Club in Willingboro. The league's major fundraiser is still looking for sponsors ($100 per hole). The entry fee of $100 includes a round of golf with a cart, lunch and beverages.

The tournament will follow a scramble format and prizes will be awarded to the top three foursomes. Additional prizes include: "Closet to the Pin" and "Longest Drive." The registration form can be accessed via the link and can be found under "RVL Forms" at the league's website, www.rvlbaseball.com.

For more information, contact Rocky Petrone at rockypetrone@hotmail.com.

Games of the week

Although Mount Laurel is currently seventh in the eight-team league, coach Johnson's club is not an easy out. They face league-leading Burlington today and Tuesday, both 6:15 p.m. at Life Center Academy.

RVL Notebook - Bruce Johnson, Burlington County Times

July 5, 2010
Article Courtesy of Bruce Johnson, Burlington County Times

Batting seventh and playing left field ...

As he walked across the parking lot to the first-base bench at J.F. Kennedy Recreation Center, Harry Thompson was counting heads, "... four ... five ... six ... seven ... and Carty is on the way ... and Lydon will be here. We'll have nine."

The 80-year-old Thompson has spent most of the hot summer Sundays of his adult life counting heads, making sure he's got enough players for the Vincentown Merchants' next Rancocas Valley Baseball League game. Several players had Carpenter Cup practice, a couple others were down the shore. As the 5 p.m. starting time arrived, so did Kevin Carty. "Lydon is on the way," Thompson kept telling his players.

"You're batting leadoff today, Harry," veteran outfielder John Bujanowski Sr. said.

"Good, then you'll be batting ninth," Thompson countered.

"Harry + Harry + Harry + " the Merchants chanted.

Willingboro took the field and Thompson, who said he couldn't even remember the last time he actually started a game, took his normal spot in the third-base coaching box. As the Merchants put two runs across and were threatening for more, Thompson slowly walked through the sultry 95-degree heat into the dugout, got a batting helmet and headed to the batter's box to face Mike Hynes. With players on both sides hooting it up, Thompson questioned the plate umpire as two hummers were called strikes. The third pitch was a swing and a miss and Thompson, whose first hit for the Merchants came in 1947 and who has hits in six decades, struck out.

After an inning in left field, Andrew Lydon arrived and Thompson returned to his seat on the bench.

"Those first two pitches were a little high, didn't you think?" Thompson said, with a wink.

A two-horse race?

Well past the halfway point of the RVL's 64th season - 83 games down, 57 to go - several things have become apparent: 1) barring a total collapse, either Burlington or Delran is going to finish as the regular-season champion; 2) Jug Handle Inn (Cinnaminson) and Vincentown are both highly capable of winning it all with a hot streak; and 3) Mount Laurel, Willingboro and Pemberton are all capable of playing the spoiler when the playoffs start on July 31.

Burlington, after an 11-0 start, is the league leader with an 18-3-3 record. The Mets have two aces - Shaun Babula and Carl Taylor - and plenty of potential third pitchers: John Harvey, Ace Robinson and Brandon Elliott. Paul Guerreri leads the league in most offensive categories, and, with Babula, Dan Hennigan, Garrett Mull and Dave Jost, the Mets have speed to burn.

Delran (18-2-1) has three go-to pitchers - Jason Ronca, Eric Gertie and Max Newill. And Rocky Petrone at first, Matt Ulmer at second, Kyle Ballay at short and Mark Wickersham at third - and Steve Bejsiuk to fill in - is arguably the league's best all-around infield.

Jug Handle Inn, the defending champion, has won six in a row, while Vincentown is on a three-game win streak.

Right now the regular season is scheduled to end on Wednesday, July 28.

The playoffs - with the eighth-place team facing the regular-season champion, fifth place vs. fourth place, sixth place vs. third place and seventh place vs. second place - would begin the following Saturday, with all four games (and all the playoff games) at Vincentown's Southampton Memorial Field.

The first round is best-of-three, while the semifinals and finals are best-of-five.

Golf tournament

It's not too late for sponsors ($100 per hole) and players to get involved with the league's annual fund-raising golf tournament, which will be held Friday at Rancocas Golf Club, Willingboro. Players ($100, includes a round of golf with a cart, plus food and beverages) can sign up right up until they tee off.

The tournament will follow a scramble format and prizes will be awarded to the top three foursomes. Additional prizes include: "Closet to the Pin'' and "Longest Drive.'' The registration form can be accessed via the link and can be found under "RVL Forms" on the league website, www.rvlbaseball.com.

For more information, contact Rocky Petrone at rockypetrone@hotmail.com.

This and that

Southampton Memorial Field will be the site of a makeup doubleheader tonight, with Willingboro taking on Mount Laurel at 6:15, and Jug Handle Inn facing Vincentown at 8:30. It will give local fans one last time to see Ryan Mingin before Cinnaminson's standout catcher heads west on Tuesday for his new job as an assistant coach at Oklahoma Panhandle State University.

The first-year NJIBL entry has officially changed its name to Riverside.

A game pitting the RVL all-stars against the New Jersey Independent Baseball League all-stars will be held Saturday, July 17, at Vincentown's Southampton Memorial Field. In addition to the 7 p.m. game, there will be a Home Run Derby starting at 3 p.m. Rosters for both teams will be in next week's RVL Notebook.

2010 RVL All-Stars

July 11, 2010
The Rancocas Valley League has selected its All-Stars for the 2010 season. These players will compete against selected All-Stars from the New Jersey Independent Baseball League (NJIBL) on Saturday, July 17th, at Southampton Memorial Field starting at 7pm.

* Mike Gulli replaces Paul Guerrieri as starting catcher due to injury.

RVL Notebook - Bruce Johnson, Burlington County Times

July 12, 2010
Article Courtesy of Bruce Johnson, Burlington County Times

Stars will be out in Vincentown

The Rancocas Valley Baseball League will host the New Jersey Independent Baseball League in an all-star game Saturday, 7 p.m., at Southampton Memorial Field.

While the RVL is one of the state's oldest organizations - having started in 1947 and combined in 1952 with the old Burlington County League, whose roots go back to 1898 - the NJIBL is just in its second year of existence.


Delran has stormed into first place on the wings of a 10-game win streak, which improved its record to 21-2-1. The winning started after a 1-0 loss to Burlington.

Vincentown played through a five-game losing streak, when it allowed at least 10 runs in each game, and is on a six-game winning streak.

Mount Laurel has won four in a row, moving a half-point ahead of Willingboro into fifth place.

Pemberton has lost seven straight, and 10 of 11, since a three-game win streak.

Willingboro had won three straight before losing to Delran on Thursday.

'Strong up the middle'

The old baseball adage about being "strong up the middle" is true, whether it's on the Major League level, minors, college or semipro.

The Rancocas Valley Baseball League has some teams that are very strong down the middle. Which is the best? It's pretty arguable, for sure.

Here are your options:

Burlington: c Joe Mastrangelo, 2b Dave Jost/Ken Ridge, ss Dan Hennigan, cf Shaun Babula/Garrett Mull.

Delran: c Mike DeLellis/Rex Boardman, 2b Matt Ulmer, ss Kyle Ballay, cf Ryan McFadden.

Jug Handle Inn: c Matt Cann/Mike Wasco, 2b Greg Gilbert, ss Chris Murray, cf Mike Osborne.

Mount Laurel: c Dan Rella, 2b Joe Hydro, ss Bret Jenkins, cf Brett Baker.

Pemberton: c Justin Ferroni, 2b Alex Samuelian, ss Nick Henderson, cf Mike Lamola.

Riverside: (did not respond)

Vincentown: c Bubba DeFabio/Owen Boles/Eric Anderson, 2b Kevin Carty/Andrew Lydon, ss Stefan Kancylarz, cf John Bujanowski Jr.

Willingboro: c Mike Gulli, 2b Mark Stumpf, ss Mike Lofredo, cf Jon Wetzel.

So, who would you go with?

Games of the week

First-place Delran - which won ran its win streak to 10 in a row Sunday - has an interesting week ahead, with Burlington (Tuesday at Life Center), Mount Laurel (Thursday at home), Jug Handle Inn (Friday night at Memorial Park) and Vincentown (Sunday at home).

RVL stars notch 13-1 win

July 18, 2010
Willingboro's Kellen Peter (2-for-3) and Jamie Schwantes (2-for-3) each knocked in three runs on Saturday night as the Rancocas Valley League all-stars posted a 13-1 victory over the New Jersey Independent Baseball League all-stars at Southampton Memorial Field.

Mount Laurel's Bret Jenkins went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI for the RVL, which got outstanding pitching from Shaun Babula (2 innings), Eric Gertie (1), John Meadus (2), John Harvey (1 2-3), Corey Mingin (1 1-3) and Mike Cooper (1). They allowed just four hits while striking out 17.

In the Home Run Derby that preceded the game, Willingboro's Andrew Cisk was the winner, clouting six dingers in the final round. Runner-up was Schwantes and Mount Laurel's Kevin Diamond took third.

Summary Courtesy of the Burlington County Times

RVL Notebook - Bruce Johnson, Burlington County Times

July 19, 2010
Article Courtesy of Bruce Johnson, Burlington County Times

For a close finish, it's tough to top '52

As the 2010 Rancocas Valley Baseball League season winds down to its final 10 days - 112 games have been played with just 28 to go - there are some closely contended positions in the standings.

There's a battle for first place between Burlington (49 1/2 after Sunday's games), Delran (45 1/2, with three games in hand) + a battle for third place featuring Vincentown (42) and defending champion Jug Handle Inn (40) + a battle for fifth with Willingboro (35) and Mount Laurel (32, with three games in hand). The only thing certain is that Pemberton (20) and Riverside (13 1/2) are going to finish seventh and eighth, respectively.

But this isn't the tightest RVL pennant chase. When it comes to close, it's tough to imagine anything being tighter than the 1952 RVL regular season. That was the year the old Burlington County League "merged" with the RVL and created one giant county league.

There were 11 teams at the start of the season, but Fieldsboro and Juliustown dropped out. Indian Mills (13-17), Wrightstown (11-19) and Tabernacle (9-21) brought up the rear, but six teams battled down to the last week for the four playoff spots. Eventually Pemberton (19-10) and Columbus (18-11) came up just short of the final foursome.

How close were the top four? Burlington Township, Mount Laurel and Vincentown all finished 22-8, with Medford at 21-9. There had to be two rounds of one-game playoffs just to decide first place, with Vincentown beating B.T., but then falling to Mount Laurel.

After Vincentown topped Medford and Mount Laurel eliminated Burlington Township in the semifinals, it Vincentown and Mount Laurel in the best-of-five finals.

And what a championship series it was.

With Mount Laurel leading two games to one, it was time for some of the leagueead's legendary moments. In game four, Vincentown and Bob Taylor battled Mount Laurel and Danny Flagg to a 2-2 tie through 19 innings - and both pitchers went the entire 19 innings! When the game was replayed, in its entirety, Vincentown won 2-1 in 11 innings and Taylor - in those wonderful days before pitch counts - had thrown all 30 innings.

Taylor finally ran out of gas in the final game, with Mount Laurel, and Flagg, winning 8-4.

It was the second straight tough loss in the final for the Merchants, who lost to Pal-River in the final Burlington County League championship series in 1951. Taylor had pitched 1-0 and 2-0 victories in games one and three, but Pal-River won game four 6-5 with two in the ninth, then rode the pitching of Jake O'Donnell to win game five.

(Another fantastic finish happened in 2005, when Cinnaminson and Vincentown finished with 47 points, and Moorestown was just 5 1/2 points behind (41 1/2) in sixth place. In between were: Delran 44, Mount Laurel 42 1/2, and Burlington 42.)

Almost perfect

Shaun Babula was two swings of Dave Kittle's bat from a no-hitter last Tuesday, when the Burlington Mets beat league-leading Delran 12-0 in a 75-minute game at Life Center Academy field. The lefty retired the first 12 batters before Kittle sent a ground-rule double over the fence in right. Kittle also lined a single to left in the seventh. One other runner reached on an error.

Ironically, Delran had won 10 in a row since dropping a 1-0 decision to Babula back on June 13. The losing pitcher both times was Max Newill.

Playoff update

The regular season is scheduled to end on July 28. All of the playoff games will be held at Southampton Memorial Field, starting July 31, with games at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. The Aug. 1 opening-round starting times are noon, 2:30, 5 and 7:30.

The first round - the regular-season champion vs. the eighth-place team, No. 7 vs. No. 2, No. 6 vs. No. 3 and No. 5 vs. No. 4 - will be best of three, as will be the semifinals. The championship series will be best of five. There will be a day of rest after the first round is finished, and another day off after the semifinals are completed.

Recent playoff final results:

2009: Cinnaminson defeated Burlington

2008: Delran def. Cinnaminson

2007: Delran def. Mount Laurel

2006: Cinnaminson def. Mount Laurel

2005: Cinnaminson def. Delran

2004: Cinnaminson def. Burlington

2003: Vincentown def. Cinnaminson

2002: Delran def. Riverside

Game of the week

Delran and Vincentown square off Tuesday, 8:30 p.m., at Southampton Memorial Field. The teams met Sunday with Vincentown winning 7-6. Delran also visits first-place Burlington on Friday at Life Center Academy.

2010 RVL Playoffs

July 30, 2010
The 2010 season came down to the wire as 6 teams were battling for positioning in the RVL playoff tournament that will begin on Saturday, July 31st. After a season long battle for the regular season title, Burlington edged Delran on the second to last day of the season to earn the #1 seed. Vincentown held off Cinnaminson for the #3 seed. Mt. Laurel and Willingboro changed spots daily over the last two weeks before Mt. Laurel finally took over the #5 seed.

But starting at 10am, it starts all over as the 8 teams will compete against each other in a best-of-three series. The schedule will be as follows:

All games will be played at Southampton Memorial Field

Saturday, Jul 31
Riverside @ Burlington 10:00am
Pemberton @ Delran 1:00pm
Mt. Laurel @ Cinnaminson 4:00pm
Willingboro @ Vincentown 7:00pm

Sunday, Aug 1
Burlington @ Riverside 12:00pm
Delran @ Pemberton 2:30pm
Cinnaminson @ Mt. Laurel 5:00pm
Vincentown @ Willingboro 7:30pm

Sunday, Aug 2
Riverside @ Burlington If necessary
Pemberton @ Delran If necessary
Mt. Laurel @ Cinnaminson If necessary
Willingboro @ Vincentown If necessary

Burlington wins close one in RVL action

August 5, 2010
Courtesy of: Tom Rimback, Staff writer, Burlington County Times

SOUTHAMPTON — If you’re looking for a slugfest, the Burlington-Jug Handle Inn Rancocas Valley League semifinal series isn’t the place to be. If you’re looking for great baseball where every play and pitch is magnified, then you’ll want to be at Southampton Memorial Park for Game 2 on Friday.

A wild pitch, an infield single and a bases-loaded walk. That’s how the runs were scored in Burlington’s tense 2-1 Game 1 win Wednesday night. Mets pitcher Shaun Babula scored both runs and went pitch-for-pitch with the Cinnaminson squad’s Chris Murray.

“Chris pitched well against us all year,” Babula said. “I pitched well against Cinnaminson all year. I had a feeling it would be close and it was.”

Babula gave up five hits, three in the second alone, including the infield single that scored Murray for the only Cinnaminson run. Murray allowed just three hits but gave up six walks and hit two batters, starting with Babula who led off the first by taking an inside pitch that grazed his jersey. Babula would score on a wild pitch, after moving to second on a wild pitch and stealing third.

Babula scored the winning run in the fifth. He singled with a man on, moved to second on a fielder’s choice that got the lead runner, then came home after a hit batter and Matt Fischer’s RBI walk.

“Burlington’s the No. 1 team in the league for a reason,” Murray said. “Babula’s a great pitcher and when he’s on the mound you really have to be on top of it. They scored their two runs on mistakes and walks. That’ll get you every time.”

The Cinnaminson dugout was understandably angry after a frustrating night of chasing Babula’s heat and wicked assortment of curveballs. There’s was a definite sense that they’d missed a golden opportunity with Murray on the mound. There was no sense that this best-of-three is close to being over, though.

“One thing I know about this group of guys is that nobody’s going to quit,” Murray said. “These guys are used to winning and they’re looking forward to getting right back out there.”

After a day off for the opener of the other semifinal between Vincentown and Delran tonight, the teams return for the 6:30 early game of the RVL Game 2 semifinal doubleheader Friday night. Game 3 of both series, if necessary, will be on Saturday.

The Mets are focused on advancing to the best-of-five championship series. Burlington’s dugout was quite a bit happier than the one on the third-base side but there was no mistaking that there is still some work to do.
“They’re angry, good,” Babula said. “They should be. We’ve got one more game to win here and four more to win it all. Carl (Taylor) is pitching tomorrow. He pitches well (2-0 this season with two complete games) against Cinnaminson. We’re confident that we’re going to win Friday. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be.”

RVL Semi-Finals Game 1: Cinnaminson @ Burlington

August 4, 2010
Summary and Photos Courtesy of Mark Fletcher, Tri-County Sports Online

Burlington took the first game in this best-of-three semifinal matchup against Cinnaminson by the score of 2-1. The Mets scored their first run in the bottom of the first inning when Shaun Babula raced home following a passed ball. Cinnaminson knotted the score 1-1 on an infield hit in the top of the second inning. Starting pitchers Shaun Babula and Chris Murray settled down and held their opponent scoreless until a walk to Burlington's Matt Fischer with the bases loaded forced in the eventual winning run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Shaun Babula picked up the win for the Mets while Cinnaminson's Chris Murray took the hard luck loss. Click here for photo gallery.

RVL Semi-Finals Game 1: Vincentown @ Delran

August 5, 2010
Summary and Photos Courtesy of Mark Fletcher, Tri-County Sports Online

Vincentown erased a 2-0 deficit and won this Rancocas Valley League semifinal matchup 6-2 by plating six runs over the final two innings. The Merchants scored three runs in the top of the sixth inning, capped by an RBI single by Dan Hayduk. Vincentown added three more runs in the top of the seventh inning on Jesse Pappler's three-run home run. Alan Hasher picked up the win for Vincentown while Delran's Eric Gertie was tagged with the loss. Gertie was a perfect 8-0 during the regular season. Click here for photo gallery.

RVL Semi-Finals Game 2: Cinnaminson @ Burlington

August 9, 2010
Summary and Photos Courtesy of Mark Fletcher, Tri-County Sports Online

After spotting Cinnaminson a 1-0 lead in the first inning, the Burlington Mets erupted for eight runs in the top of the third inning. Garrett Mull had the big hit with a three RBI double. Dave Jost followed with a two run home run. The Mets added one more run in the top of the fourth inning and went on to win 9-2. Carl Taylor picked up the win for Burlington while Ryan Varga sufferred the loss for Cinnaminson. Burlington will now advance to the Rancocas Valley League Finals for the second year in a row. Click here for photo gallery.

RVL Finals Game 1

August 10, 2010
Summary and Photos Courtesy of Mark Fletcher, Tri-County Sports Online

Delran led 3-2 after the first inning on the strength of Mike Delellis' three-run home run. Thanks to some great pitching and great defensive plays, it appeared as if the 3-2 lead would hold up. However, Burlington tied the score 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning following a misplayed pop up down the third base line. The Mets won game one of this best-of-five series in the bottom of the eighth inning when Dan Hennigan's sacrifice fly scored Matt Fischer. Shaun Babula went the distance to pick up the win for the Mets.
Click here for photo gallery.

RVL Finals Game 2

August 11, 2010
Summary and Photos Courtesy of Mark Fletcher, Tri-County Sports Online

Delran scored the first run of the game in the top of the second inning when Matt Ulmer's RBI hit scored Rex Workman. Delran then exploded for ten runs an inning later to grab an 11-0 lead. Matt Ulmer knocked in two more runs with a double in that third inning. Burlington came back and scored seven runs over the final five innings to make the final score a more respectable 12-7. Winning pitcher Jason Ronca allowed two runs in four innings before yielding to Mark Wickersham. Delran's win knots this best-of-five series at one game apiece. Click here for photo gallery.

RVL Finals Game 3

August 13, 2010
Summary and Photos Courtesy of Mark Fletcher, Tri-County Sports Online

Delran scored in three of the first four innings to build a 7-1 lead and then held off a late rally by the Mets to win game three of this series by the score of 7-5. Rocky Petrone hit a two-run home run as part of a three-run Delran first inning. Delran added three more in the third inning and a single run in the fourth. A four-run sixth inning by Burlington cut the lead to 7-5, but the Mets would come no closer. Winning pitcher Max Newill pitched into the seventh inning before handing the ball over to Jason Ronca. After losing game one of this best-of-five series, Delran now leads the series 2-1. Click here for photo gallery.

RVL Finals Game 4

August 15, 2010
Summary and Photos Courtesy of Mark Fletcher, Tri-County Sports Online

Sean Gusrang led off the second inning for Burlington with a solo home run. The Mets added two more runs in the fourth inning and three more in the sixth to defeat Delran 6-0 in game four of this best-of-five final. After four games, this series is all knotted up at two wins apiece. Shaun Babula went the distance to pick up the shutout victory for the Mets. Babula had to work out of a bases loaded jam in the sixth inning and also got a double play to erase a leadoff runner in the seventh inning. Click here for photo gallery.

Burlington Wins 2010 RVL Championship

August 15, 2010
Burlington defeated Delran, 10-3, to win the best-of-five RVL championship series, 3 games to 2. Jeff Vitale was named the MVP.

RVL Finals Game 5

August 17, 2010
Summary and Photos Courtesy of Mark Fletcher, Tri-County Sports Online

The Burlington Mets scored a single run in the second inning and then exploded for five runs in the third inning as they went on to defeat Delran 10-3 and claim their first RVL championship since 1951. Burlington starter Carl Taylor surrendered single runs in the first and second innings, but then settled down and kept Delran off the scoreboard until the seventh inning. Burlington third baseman Jeff Vitale was named the series MVP. Delran, who won the RVL championship in 2007 and 2008, was attempting to win their third championship in four years. Click here for photo gallery.