The Zanesville Junior Pioneers’ historic championship run through the 72nd annual AAABA Tournament was capped by a memorable homecoming in the Ohio city.
The Monday after the Junior Pioneers clinched the championship with an 8-2 victory over Johnstown-2 Paul Carpenter Capital Advisors, Zanesville Mayor Jeff Tilton read a proclamation making Monday, August 8, “Zanesville Junior Pioneers Day.”
Junior Pioneers manager Dave Balo, who announced prior to the title game that he was stepping down as Zanesville manager, called the championship and the homecoming “a magical experience.” Zanesville had never won the AAABA Tournament title in the history of a franchise which made its first trip to Johnstown in 1947.
Zanesville advanced out of pool play with a 1-2 record, winning a tiebreaker with two other teams tied at 1-2.
The AAABA Tournament switched to pool play on a one-year trial basis in 2016, and the Junior Pioneers did their part by beating the defending champion New Orleans Boosters and 2014 champion Chicago Metro on the way to the title game.
A link to the Whiznews.com report on the homecoming follows: