Centipedes, Dirtbags return to championship

The Maui Adult Baseball League’s Spring 2024 Championship Series gets underway at 10am on Sunday, May 26 at Maehara Stadium with the Kihei Centipedes and the Upcountry Dirtbags playing for the title for the third straight season. In a season where all six playoff teams had legitimate reasons to believe they could make it to this point of the season, the top two seeds found ways to fend off the competition and make it back to the ‘ship!

The Centipedes (2nd seed, 8-4 regular season record) came from behind twice in their semi-final matchup against the Kaanapali Coast Monarchs, while the Dirtbags (1st seed, 9-3) needed a 1-0 victory over the Lahaina Warriors in a decisive game 3 to advance. While the Dirtbags maintained control of 1st place for much of the season, two of their 3 losses came at the hands of the ‘Pedes. In fact, the Centipedes have won 8 straight games against the Dirtbags, with the ‘Bags last win coming over a year ago, on May 7, 2023.

Both teams feature a bonafide ace, with the Centipedes’ Ian Josh and the Dirtbags’ Tim Brown each having historically dominant seasons. Including the playoffs, Josh went 3-2 with a 0.71 ERA and 60 Ks over 51.0 innings. The reigning MABL Cy Young Award winner has held opponents to a paltry .121 batting average and a 0.55 WHIP. Not to be outdone, Brown is 7-1 with a 0.56 ERA and 67 Ks over 64.0 innings. His microscopic 1.7% walk rate is far and away the best in league history (for comparison, Greg Maddux had a 4.9% career walk rate), and he has held hitters to a .150 batting average and 0.59 WHIP.

The similarities continue as each team features dynamic offensive players atop their lineup. For the Centipedes, Callen Beeson (.400 AVG, 14 H, 1 HR, 11 R, 9 RBI, 7) and Ryan Swindle (.333 AVG, 18 H, 1 HR, 19 R, 17 RBI, 12 SB) lead the attack. Swindle’s 13.8 runs created is second in the league, while Beeson at 10.5 (in just 10 games) has been the MABL’s fourth biggest contributor in 2024. The Dirtbags’ offense is lead by reigning two-time MABL MVP Frank Lettieri. Lettieri won his 4th straight batting title this season, and, including the playoffs, is hitting .434 with 23 hits, 23 runs scored, and 26 stolen bases — all tops in the league, as is his 20.9 RC.

So the question is, can the Centipedes become the third team in the MABL’s 31 seasons to pull off a 3-peat? Or will the third time be the charm for the Dirtbags? Game 1 will be played this Sunday, with games 2 and 3 (if needed) played the following Sunday, at 10am and 1:15pm, respectively. All games will be streamed on the MABL YouTube channel (go subscribe, if you don’t already!) and Facebook page with real-time scoreboard overlays provided on these platforms. As always, games results, stats, and photos will be available on our website following the games.

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