Elimination Round
Brewers defeat the Red Sox
Jays defeat the White Sox

Royals defeat the Jays 2-0
Astros defeat the Brewers 2-0
Yankees defeat the Dragons 2-0
Psychos defeat the Reds 2-1-1

Royals defeat the Psychos 3-2
Astros defeat the Yankees 3-0

Finals - Royals versus Astros
Astros win 3-0

The Astros pose with the SABL Trophy for the 4th time (5th time if you include their win as the Pirates).

Astros win the Championship

For the second consecutive year, the SABL finals would pit the top two ranked teams during the regular season, the Astros and the Royals, against each other.

Despite tough talk and dollar store clackers from the Royals, the Psychos proved to be anything but a push-over as they showed they wanted to return to the finals for the first time since 2006. In the end, although the series was extended to the full five games and each game was closely contested, the Royals came out the victors.

The Astros had a relatively easy go of it getting to the finals, sweeping both their opponents, the Mets in the quarter-finals and the Yankees in the semi-finals.

The opening games of the finals were played on Sunday with Rob Hehir starting for the Astros against Grant Brown of the Royals in game one. The game was close throughout, the Astros leading 3-2 late into the game. In the top of the 7th inning, the Royals scored two runs to go ahead 4-3, seemingly poised to deliver the first loss of the 2008 playoffs to the Astros. In the bottom of what is usually the final inning, the Astros pushed across a run to tie the game 4-4 and send it to extra innings.

Neither team scored in the 8th and in the top of the 9th with a man on 2nd base, the Royals hit a ball to medium right field toward the line that Astros rightfielder Mike Hersh laid out for and caught to end the inning when it looked like the Royals were assured to take the lead. In the bottom of the 9th, with Sohan Singh on 2nd base and stealing 3rd, Mark Klamot hit a single between 3rd and short to score the winning run in what was perhaps one of the best games in an SABL final. Dave Gemmell had relieved Rob and won his third consecutive 2008 playoff game.

Game 2 was a relatively typical Sohan Singh start, get a lead early, continue to chip away and add to the run total, play defense behind Sohan and let him do his stuff on the mound. In the top of the 1st inning with a man on third and two out, the Royals leftfielder clanked a chest high fly ball for an error allowing the first run of the game to score. Rob Hehir followed up with a 2 run homer for a 3-0 first inning lead and with Sohan Singh pitching, the Astros never looked back. The final score was 9-3 and the Astros were now poised to win consecutive championships as early as Thursday night.

In losing he first two games of the finals, the Royals put themselves in the position of needing to win 3 games in a row to become Champions.

The Game 3 starting pitcher for the Royals was no surprise as not only had Mike Barnett not pitched in the opening double-header, he wasn't even there. The Astros starter had also been absent for the first two games of the finals as his Indians team was being eliminated in the OSBA playoffs, but Chris Theodoru was rested and ready to make the start as he had also done in game 3 of the 2007 finals.

The game was very much like game 1 as the teams scored a couple of runs each in the early innings for a 2-2 tie score and in the middle innings neither team was able to add to their score although the Royals had the best opportunities to take the lead.

In the bottom of the 7th with the score still tied 2-2, in a horrific flashback to 2007 for the Royals (the bounce!!), Dave Gemmell lead off the inning with a ground ball to 2nd that took a funny hop and handcuffed Donnie Burke allowing Gemmell to get on base. After a single by Anthony Schiralli, Gemmell took off for 3rd base as the Royals defense looked for a bunt, Anthony followed and Gemmel slid into 3rd safely for a double steal. The Royals then chose to walk Ed Elford to load the bases and set up the force.

The Royals brought the infield and outfield in and Mike Hersh who had made a near miracle catch in rightfield in the top of the 7th inning in game 1 to help the Astros open the series with a win, hit a looping flyball that was caught by the leftfielder but would likely have fallen in with a regular defense. Chris Long, the Rook, came up next and he hit another looper, this time just over the pulled in 2nd baseman, it was just out of Burke's reach as he raced back to the edge of the grass and it fell just in front of the outfielder scoring Gemmell from 3rd base and winning the series in dramatic fashion for the Astros. There would be no clacking in Royalsville.

2008 would mark the 2nd time the Astros would win back-to-back Championships, as they also won in 1998 as the Pirates and then 1999 as the Astros, no other team has won consecutive titles twice. As a tribute to their competitiveness, 2008 was the 8th time in 11 seasons dating back to 1998 that the Astros had made the finals, by far the most in the league over that time period.

With the close of the 2008 season what remains is the league banquet, likely to be held at some point in November. Stay tuned for further details on the banquet as they become available.


The Astros went from defeating the Mets in the quarter-finals to a match up with the Yankees in the semi-final. In the opening game, the Astros went to town on Yankee pitching winning the game 11-0 but the weather proved to be problematic and the teams could only get in one game of the doubleheader.

Game 2 was played under less than ideal conditions as well and the Astros jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first inning only to give back 4 of those runs in the bottom of the first on a 3 run homer and a single shot off Dave Gemmell. The Astros continued to chip away and build their lead in the constant drizzle. The game was delayed as the tarps were pulled out on to the field.

After 6 innings the rain continued but the decision was made to play the 7th inning with time still remaining. After the Astros half of the inning the score was 14-7 and the Yankee lead off batter, Yarmo hit a sky high ball to left field that fell in for a triple and the game was suspended with a man on third, none out in the bottom of the 7th, Astros leading 14-7.

On Thursday at 6:00, Dave Gemmell finished what he had started in game 2 on Sunday by getting 3 straight outs to give the Astros the game 2 win 14-8 and a 2-0 lead in the series. Game 3 was started 5 minutes after the end of the suspended game and Dave Gemmell continued on the mound. It was also a lop-sided affair as the Astros won 8-2 to clinch the semi-final series in another sweep, this time 3-0 by a total score of 33-10.

Meanwhile, in the other semi-final, the weather had proved to be more co-operative and the Royals-Psychos series had played all their games on time. After a split in the first two games, the Psychos won game 3 pushing the Royals to the brink of elimination. The Royals won game 4 to force a 5th and deciding game on Thursday night. With Barnie on the mound for the Royals against Fensom "Prison Blues", the game was as close as the rest of the series. But with a 1-0 lead, the Royals scored a late run to go up 2-0 and held on for the 2-1 game 5 victory and the semi-final win three games to two.

Warren Booth, SABL scorekeeper extraordinaire.