Giants Win 17th Division Title. Fourth in Five Years
Regular Season Summary
The 2016 Giants went wire to wire starting with an undefeated May and culminating in a best of 3 championship series win over the Indians for their 17th division championship. The Giants season started off great with an undefeated 4-0 start in May. Then they went 4-1 in June to position themselves as the front runner in the Dunn Division. The Giants finished the year with a 16-3-1 regular season record. Then the Giants completed their playoff run to put an exclamation point on their 2016 championship season.
Even though the Giants lead the division wire to wire, the competition was formidable. The Giants had 5 walk-off wins and 1 walk-off loss. The walk-offs were not your standard variety - Walk-off Hit by Pitch, 2 Walk-off Wild Pitch (one win and one loss), and a Walk-off Base on Balls. The regular season included an 8-run comeback win, a 5-run comeback win, a tie, and 6 wins with a margin of victory of 2 runs or less.
Just like previous seasons, the Giants strength was their pitching and defense. Houston Hibberd, Mike Denevi, Jon Cannon, Chris Chambers, Noah Sweeters, and Donnie "Baseball" Chambers all threw the ball great all season. Even with injuries to Giants starters Sheldon Perry and Erick Raich before the season started, the Giant's pitching staff was the backbone of the Giants success. During the regular season the Giants allowed only 78 runs in their 20 game regular season - 23 less than the next best staff.
In the playoffs the pitching was even better! Giant's pitchers only allowed five earned runs in five games for a team ERA of 1.00 - including 3 shut-outs, a one-hitter, a No-Hitter, and 28 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings.
The Giants Offense was led by lead-off hitter Matt Zuvella and our number 3 hitter Chris Chambers. Matt consistently got on base with both hits and 23 walks. Chris supplied the power and led the team with 4 home runs and 26 RBIs.
The Giants lost 3 key contributors from the 2015 championship team due to injury. Spencer Maltbie, Sheldon Perry, and Erick Raich were all injured during or before the season. The Giants once again brought in several newcomers to compliment a veteran team which included Mike Denevi, Rich Zuvella, Jon Cannon, Mike Boesch, Huck Hibberd, Don Chambers, Nick Caravelli Jr, Chris Denevi, Noah Sweeters, Nick Caravelli Sr, Scottie Grimm, Spencer Maltbie, Jared Aochi, Dave Evans, Mark Sarpa, Matt Zuvella, Chris Chambers, Nate Harbarger, Sheldon Perry, Mike Oliverio and Paul Tomini.
This year's Giant rookie class included 3 talented players - Houston Hibberd, Phillip Thrappas, and Thomas Meals.
Semi-Final Series - Game 1
The top seeded Giants faced the upstart Marlins in the semi-finals of the Playoffs. The Marlins played the Giants tough all season - losing 2 one-run games and handing the Giants their worst defeat of the season. The crafty veteran Mike Denevi, the heart and soul of the Giants, got the start. Mike would not disappoint - throwing a complete game no-hitter to beat the Marlins 12-0. This was Mike's first no-hitter of his illustrious career. Mike Denevi has always stepped up when the Giants needed him over the years. Even at 64, he continues to deliver incredible performances. The Giants scored 4 runs in the 4th, 2 runs in the 7th, and then 6 runs in the 8th - capped off by a Jon Cannon 3-run bomb. Chris Chambers had 3 hits and Mike Oliverio chipped in with 2 RBIs to lead the Giants attack.
Semi-Final Series - Game 2
In Game Two, Jon Cannon nearly matched Mike's performance in Game 1. Jon threw 8 shut-out innings giving up just 4 hits. Chris Chambers came in for the 9th to complete the 7-0 Giants win. Once again, Chris Chambers was the Giants spark on offense with a 2-hit performance including a Big Fly to ice the game in the 7th. Jared Aochi had a big double in the 4th to drive in 2. The win eliminated the Marlins and allowed the Giants to advance to the Championship Series for the 4th straight year.
Championship Series - Game 1
In the championship series opener, Houston Hibberd continued the Giants pitching dominance. Houston threw a complete game 1-hit shut-out to giver the Giants a 7-0 win and a 1-0 lead in the series. Hibberd took a no-hit bid into the 8th when the Indians DeRosa broke up the no-no with a clean double. Houston got the next 5 outs for the shut-out and struck out 11 Indians along the way. Mike Denevi lead the way with 2 hits while Chris Chambers and Mike Oliverio delivered big hits to drive in 4 runs. The shut out gave the Giants pitching staff 26 consecutive scoreless innings throughout the playoffs.
Championship Series - Game 2
In Game 2, the Indians finally broke through with a run in the 3rd inning to break up the Giants pitching consecutive scoreless streak at 28 1/3 innings. The Indians struck again in the 5th and the 6th to build a 4-0 lead. The Giants bounced back in the 7th with 2 runs of their own to cut the lead in half but the Giants gave up 2 more in the bottom half to extend the Indians lead back to 4. The "never say die" Giants tried to mount a final comeback in the 9th when they scored 2 runs and had the go-ahead run at the plate, but the Giants couldn't score and lost 6-4 to even the series at 1 game apiece. The loss set up a winner take all final game the next week at Gavilan College.
Championship Series - Game 3
In the deciding game, Giants ace Houston Hibberd took the mound. Houston started off well, retiring the Indians in order in the 1st. Then the Indians rallied in the 2nd inning with 3 hits and a walk, but was only able to push one runner across the plate. The Giants finally got on track in the 3rd when Houston Hibberd doubled to drive in Don Chambers to tie the game. Hits by Huck Hibberd, Matt Zuvella, and a walk by Phil Thrappas loaded the bases and then Chris Chambers delivered a 2-out 2-RBI single to give the Giants a 3-1 lead. That was all the Giants needed as Houston Hibberd settled in to deliver a 5-2 Giants victory. The win clinched the 2016 San Jose MSBL Dunn Division Championship - for a Giant 3-Peat. The championship was their 17th overall Championship, 3rd in a row, and 4th in the last 5 years.