OLEAN, NY - From the beginning of the 2016 season, the aura of the entire Oilers team was that which a championship team carried. Fresh off their first New York Collegiate Baseball League championship in the 2015 season, manager Bobby Bell and the returning players expected nothing less than what they accomplished last season, and it was obvious that they would not settle for less.
Two months after their first game they were celebrating for the second year in a row in front of a record crowd of more than 2,500 fans with Drake’s hit "Back-to-Back" bumping triumphantly through the speakers at "the Brad."
After winning 26 games in last year’s regular season, the Oilers improved on that mark, setting a league record with 39 regular season wins and losing only seven games all year. After winning the NYCBL championship game Sunday night the Oilers tallied up their 42nd overall win on the year, a mark no one saw coming.
"The difference between this year and years past is every one that has came to play for us was already in mid-season form,” Bell said. “We didn't have to get guys in the routine of playing everyday because a lot of our guys finished their college season and came straight here without much of a break."
The Oilers are the first team to repeat as NYCBL champs since the Amsterdam Mohawks did it in the 2003 and 2004 seasons.
The title came with many post-season awards, including Coach of the Year to manager Bell whose team had been well below .500 before he took over in 2015. Over the course of two seasons, Bell has a winning percentage of over 85 percent with 73 games won. But Bell was quick to give credit to his players for their accomplishments, stating that their work ethic and their approach to the game that are responsible for their success.
Two St. Bonaventure University baseball players were honored with post-season awards: Cole Peterson earned his second Defensive Player of the Year award and Aaron Phillips earned the Pitcher of the Year award. All five SBU players on the Oilers were pivotal to the team’s success all season and throughout the championship series as the unheralded star Dave Vaccaro earned the MVP award in the championship matchup with the Syracuse Jr Chiefs.