Disco Turkeys look to finish strong at home and in Johnstown
The Disco Turkeys finish out their inaugural regular season slate this week with a trip to Virginia for a doubleheader at the Martinsville Ponies on Tuesday and a final home stand with matchups on Thursday and Friday nights at Truist Stadium.
Following the home stand, the team will do something unconventional for summer collegiate teams in the area—they’ll trim their roster down to a maximum of 20 players and hit the road for a national postseason tournament.
Held since 1945, the AAABA (All American Amateur Baseball Association) Tournament has already sold roughly 4,000 tickets to its Opening Night game at The Point in Johnstown. Some games at the tournament will sometimes sell up to around 8,000 tickets when local teams reach the final rounds. This year's tournament will be held from Aug. 2 - 8. The Disco Turkeys will take on a field that includes 15 other elite wood bat teams from across the US. They learn where they land in the bracket on Sunday night.
This year’s teams will include two representatives from the host city Johnstown, Paul Carpenter and Martella’s. Altoona (Pennsylvania) and Brooklyn each will have two teams in this year’s tournament, as well.
The field also will include 2019 champion New Orleans, the winner of the 75th AAABA Tournament. COVID-19 wiped out the 2020 tournament, which means the Boosters are still defending champions. Also in the field with the Disco Turkeys are: Buffalo, Cleveland, Columbus, Maryland State, New Brunswick, Philadelphia, Youngstown and Zanesville.
The Opening Night festivities will include the return of a popular Johnstown tradition as the Flood City Corvette Club will transport the AAABA Ambassadors, young women who volunteer for the tournament from the area, into the Point alongside players from the 14 teams not participating in the official opener on Aug. 2. Miss Pennsylvania, Meghan Sinisi of Altoona, will throw one of the ceremonial pitches before the opener.
“This is an opportunity for our players to participate in something a little bit different and represent the Disco Turkeys and North Carolina on a brand new stage,” said Disco Turkeys president and co-owner Greg Sullivan. “Our players have been excited about the trip and it’s often been some of our best players and leaders who have been the most excited. We can’t wait to go up to Johnstown and compete and have a blast and hopefully win some games against good teams.”
The team leaves Winston-Salem on Sunday and will partake in a tournament banquet that night. Tournament play opens on Monday with pool play running through Wednesday to trim the 16-team field down to 8. The championship is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Aug. 7.
The AAABA counts MLB Hall-of-Famers like Barry Larkin, Reggie Jackson, John Smoltz and others as alumni. More locally, Wake Forest's head baseball coach Tom Walter, a Johnstown native, is included in the AAABA Hall of Fame. The Disco Turkeys will represent North Carolina in the tournament and by rule will have the majority of their roster made up of in-state players.