The Niagara Power are enjoying the most successful season in their history.
The Power clinched the NYCBL regular season title Thursday when they took the first game of a doubleheader at the Mansfield Destroyers, a continuation from July 5, 12-10.
It's the first time the Power have won the regular season title. The win was their 28th, a franchise record.
"I didn't see this happening," head coach Arthur Stenberg admitted. "I knew we had some really good players. At the end of the day, the potential was there. ... If the guys come to summer ball treating it like typical summer ball, this doesn't happen."
The talent level was evident early. Team president and director of operations Patrick Tutka knew it back in June, before the Power even played a game.
Returning players who starred for the Power in 2018 were going to have to fight for at-bats this season, Tutka said at the time.
"If you believe in (NCAA Division I), D-2, D-3 as a sign of a level of talent, this is most definitely the most talented roster the Power have had probably in their history," Tutka said Thursday, crediting Stenberg and general manager Jeff Ziemecki with putting together the group. "There's competition at every position."
Talent, of course, does not always win out. Stenberg said the group's energy and buy-in has been incredible.
The Power are made up of players from 13 states, coming from as far away as California. Tutka said the group gelled almost immediately.
"The biggest thing this team has had, they have been together from Day 1," he said. "The common theme I've heard from every player from the very beginning was they all just got along ... and tried to buy in to the common goal of trying to get better and buy in every day."
"We had a team meeting (before the season), right before we started practice, and I said, 'Hey, what I want you to do is bring energy and be coachable,'" Stenberg added. "A couple players in the dugout took that energy role to a whole new level."
The Power started 5-6-1, and after dropping the second game of Thursday's doubleheader, they now sit at 28-11-1. That's 23-5 in their past 28 games.
Stenberg credited players like Billy Blair, a St. Charles, Michigan native who pitches at Division II Concordia University, with leading the turnaround.
"His energy, his personality in the dugout is pretty much unmatched," Stenberg said.
The Power rank in the top 10 in batting average and ERA across all 12 leagues in the National Alliance of College Summer Baseball. They've posted a run differential of plus-93, outscoring opponents by over 2 runs per game.
They have home field advantage for the NYCBL divisional round, hosting Game 1 at 6 p.m. Tuesday and Game 3 at the same time next Thursday, if necessary. If they advance, they'll have home field advantage in the league championship series, with games 2 and 3, if necessary, at Sal Maglie Stadium during a doubleheader starting at 4:30 p.m. July 27.
The Power have only played for the NYCBL championship once before, and they were swept.