BUFFALO, N.Y.-Since Canisius hired Bryan Tenney in 1991, the Crusaders had won eleven Georgetown Cups. After defeating St. Joe's 2-1 on Tuesday, however, championship number 12 just might be the sweetest yet for Tenney.
It happens to be the last time he will have one of his sons (Colin) on the team.
"He is the last kid I can coach," Tenney said. "It meant the world to me that Colin was part of this team. It's a great feeling as both a coach and father. And with two older brothers, it definitely makes sitting at the dinner table easier for him now that he's won a Cup."
Colin is now a Georgetown Cup Champion. His brothers, Sean and Brendan, have won three and one, respectively.
Colin Tenney played quite arole in Canisius' fourth Georgetown Cup Championship in the last six years. The senior was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and singled for one of Canisius' four hits at Coca-Cola Field on the day.
Hits were hard to come by for both teams, as Tyler Howard threw a complete game for St. Joe's and gave up only one earned run while striking out four Canisius hitters.
Sophomore Dan Dallas pitched five innings for Canisius and also gave up one run (an RBI double in the third inning by Derek Penman). Senior Andrew Skomra relieved him the last two innings, and struck out the side in the sixth and allowed only one hitter to reach base in the seventh.
In the seventh and final inning, with the game knotted at 1-1, it appeared Canisius would go down quietly. Instead, with two outs and no one on, John Conti walked and got things started for Canisius. Conti, with either his legs or his bat, has been his team's sparkplug the entire season (He will play next year at Canisius College).
"He is by far the fastest kid I've ever coached," Tenney said.
Howard then hit catcher Brendan Kaplewicz with a pitch, putting men on first and second for Canisius' best hitter, Richard Miller, who promptly roped a line drive into right center field.
Conti rounded third, and as soon as he touched home plate, his Canisius teammates mobbed him.
Canisius reclaimed the Cup from St. Joe's, which won it the last two years. After the trophy ceremony, Tenney reflected on how his team was able to win the championship for the fourth time in the last six years, and play in the championship round in eight of the last nine years.
After their season got off to a rough start, the Crusaders never lost sight of the ultimate goal.
"We have such a close team," Tenney said. "We started the season 1-4 after a tough Florida trip. We had a real challenging schedule. But the kids ran with it and worked hard. They never took a day off. We won 19 of our last 22 games and finished with a 20-7 record. We have five sophomores, nine juniors and nine seniors, but this team was so close-knit."
"The kids bonded really well," Tenney said. "Team unity goes much farther than people think."
It is the fourth meeting for Canisius and St. Joe's this season. St. Joe's won both regular season meetings, and Canisius won both Georgetown Cup games.
"They executed," St. Joe's coach Paul Nasca said. "They got hits with men in position, and we didn't. We couldn't push across the run when we needed to – they did."
No matter the amount of success, Tenney gives the credit to his assistant coaches, Trey Gardner and Dave Rosenhahn.
"They fly under the radar, but the team wouldn't be where we are without them," he said." "I couldn't be happier to have two great assistant coaches in those guys."
Thomas Brummer, Howard and Gavin Borkowski added the other three hits for St. Joe's, while Philip Wells reached on three walks.
Once the celebrating dies down a little, Tenney hopes the brotherly harassment will also quiet.
"There will most likely be more peace around the house now that all my sons have won one Cup."