Disco Turkeys' trip to Johnstown builds team's reputation
The Carolina Disco Turkeys left for the historic AAABA Tournament in Johnstown as winners of 5 of their last 7 regular season games, and their performance at the tournament this past week only went further to cap off a strong end to the season.
Carolina went 2-2 overall in their first national tournament appearance, beating the Creekside Crocodiles (Youngstown franchise) and the Brooklyn Cougars (Brooklyn franchise) to make it out of pool play before finally falling in the quarterfinals to the top host city team, Johnstown's Paul Carpenter Capital Advisors.
"It was a strong showing that earned our new team some national credibility in an area of the country that hadn't seen us before," said Greg Sullivan, co-owner and team president of the Disco Turkeys. "We struggled in our first game, a loss to Maryland State, then settled in and earned two hard-fought wins against good teams from Youngstown and Brooklyn and looked very good in the process.
"To be honest, I think that the team participating in the parade on Monday night after our opening loss and seeing the atmosphere of Johnstown's main stadium put our team in an incredible mindset to rally for a couple wins."
Opening Night at The Point brought out roughly 5,600 fans. The Disco Turkeys made fans of the crowd that first night and the next few days even brought in local bat boys to help out and further endeared themselves to the community.
Disco Turkeys starters John Owen and Matthew Scavotto threw gems in the two victories and the team was able to make creative use of its roster to overcome lack of depth at a few key field positions for the late-season tournament.
The quarterfinal against favored Johnstown was also close much of the way, with starter Hayden Setzer looking strong through four scoreless innings before Paul Carpenter eventually found rhythm on offense and skewed the margin in the last couple innings with a 12-1 final score. The New Orleans Boosters, a perennial power, were the winners of this year's 76th Tournament.
"Even in that loss to Johnstown we were able to see what we need to do as a program to close the gap with the most elite teams there," Sullivan said. "Overall, this trip was a tremendous success. We got to play in front of roughly 2,500 fans in the quarterfinal game and many of them were there to see us or were curious about us, evident by there being fewer fans for Johnstown's semifinal game the next day."
The Disco Turkeys were covered heavily by the Johnstown area media and the main stadium even blared disco songs much of the night for the team's quarterfinals game.
"We knew the tournament had the potential to be a lot of fun for our guys, but it truly surpassed our expectations," Sullivan said. "Our players embraced the environment, and the city of Johnstown really embraced them back. We can't wait to come back next season and try to win the thing."
Below are just a few of the stories covered in the local paper, the Tribune-Democrat:
Photos by Phil Andraychak