The playoffs are over. It seemed to take forever to get here and then it was over in a blink of an eye. Before we get too far with our poetic waxing, I need to thank some people for getting us through this weekend.
First our partnership with the JAK Fund has been fantastic over the last two year and I’m hopeful that they’ll continue on through future years. While they don’t want to be mentioned, I would be remiss to not call attention to Rochelle and Paul Keogh who did tons of work to pull off another great weekend.
Additionally, we have a number of our players, volunteers and families that were part of this hugely successful weekend. My apologies in advance for anyone I may miss. My sincere thanks to: Roman Dasek, Jason Jack, Tony Rhea, Dave Raymond, Jim Andriano, Eric Hall, Alan Lacey, Robert Jordan, Jerry Muirhead, Brad Young, Dan Chiasson, Jens Lepa, Kevin Lepa, Gina Heisz, Jason Frezell, Calvin Steeves, Bev Steeves, Neil Pendlebury, Tim Schrank, Steve Brooks, Brian Richards, Rick Cudnik, Keith Beechey, The Heisz family, the Chiovitti family, the Bergin family, the Hagar family, the Connolly family, the Lacey Family, the Sallustio family, the Boyter family and Keogh family. Your spirit of community and volunteerism is not lost on us.
Thanks as well to our elected league executive. Much of the work that Scott Peters and Dave Fleming do is behind the scenes and contributes to our tournaments and playoff weekends, but we wouldn’t even make it to the playoffs without them. And ‘in-tournament’ operations are deftly supervised and controlled by Pete Hayward and Tim Osmond. Their contributions cannot be measured.
Even with that lengthy list, I’m sure there are people I’m missing. The point is; even though you may only see a few faces, it takes the contributions of many to pull off an event like this.
Now we still have a banquet and an AGM to come, but the baseball is sadly over for this season.
And what a season it was. We welcomed two new teams this season who combined to win 34 games! We also had 35 players play their first game ever in the league, easily our largest single season introduction of rookies. I tried to get to all the rookies over past couple of weeks for feedback and whether they project as 1’s or 2’s; or 11’s or 12’s; or anything in between, their comments on the league and their teammates was 100% positive. Well done folks!
Despite our league population growth, despite near constant rain, despite 32 canceled games, despite new games times and new fields and new people at the Town to work with and new umpires …… it kind of all worked out. And as great as the season worked out, the Post-Season was that much better. Randy Hipkin kept pitching great. Will Goodin kept hitting great. Doris Casullo fielded like a 27 year old Jeter and Rob Hayward was doing his best Devon White act with the glove. Candy (both of them), Phelan, and Sagert hit bombs as we've become accustomed to seeing. But they were joined by new heros in Chiovitti, Banks and Smith who picked this year's playoffs to hit their first career homeruns.
I looked back at my “what to watch for” in the playoffs write up that I did a few weeks ago and while I never pick a winner I do like to highlight dark horses. This season it was noted that #15 Dodge City and #17 Draft Kings got the best schedules possible for them to make some noise. By virtue of their regular season records, they should have been out after the round robin. Teams 8 & 9 both had .500 records against the competition but negative plus/minuses. While teams #8 and #9 didn’t make it out of the Round Robin, the upstart Dodge and Draft Kings did make some noise and saw their way, somewhat unexpectedly, to a Saturday night elimination game.
Eliminated after the Round Robin were the Sliders, Gruesome Devils, Inglorious Batsters, Dusty Cleats and the Hot Tub Woody’s who came within a single run of moving on. In fact, heading into the last games at 3:15 on Saturday afternoon, sixteen of our seventeen teams were very much alive!
At the end of the Round Robin the Rusty Rebels had finished 1st, Dog Catchers 2nd, Tap Masters 3rd and Sons of Pitches 4th which earned each of these teams an automatic birth to the Quarter Finals.
Making their way to an early Saturday night elimination game were the Twisters Vs. Draft Kings; Bat Flippers Vs. Master Batters; Hurtin’ Units Vs. Beer Bros.; and Grisslies Vs. Dodge City.
The Grisslies (25-18), Hurtin’ Units (12-10), Bat Flippers (16-7) and Twisters (14-6) would advance to the quarter finals on Sunday morning.
Moving to Sunday and the quarter finals
At 9am, the Tap Masters and Grisslies played what I thought was a fantastically close and defensive game that ended 7-3 in favour of the Tap Masters. Jamie Allan’s 3 for 3 with 3 runs scored was the difference maker offensively in this one. And as good as that game was, it turned out to be tied for the most lopsided score in the Quarter Finals.
Also at 9 o’clock, the Bat Flippers and Sons Of Pitches went at it. SOP took 7-2 lead after two innings and held off the Flippers the rest of the way to come away with a 11-7 victory and a berth in the Semi – Finals. Mark Clapham, Paul Gyori, Dave Polny, Brad Wadden and Wayne Willcott all went 3 for 3 in the win.
The quarter finals finished with two games at 10:15 and the results got even closer. The Twisters and the Rusty Rebels played a thrilling game with the Rebels getting the tying runs on base in the bottom of the 7th, only to drop a 10-8 decision to the Twisters. Rob Jordan, Paul Koolhaas and Paul (Lumpy) Taverner were all big in this one for the Twisters at 3 for 3 with a run scored, as the expansion Twisters saw their way to the Semi Final.
And the final Quarter Final game was the closest of the bunch with the Dog Catchers playing the Hurtin’ Units. The Dog Catchers led 11-7 after 5 innings but the Units got one in the 6th and 2 more in the 7th before running out of gas and losing 11-10. David Potocki led the charge in this one going 3 for 3 with 3 runs to push the Dog Catchers to the Semi Finals.
In the first Semi, the Tap Masters bats woke up and they made victims of the Sons Of Pitches. In a 21-4 victory, it was the Captains and the Italian connection that had the heavy bats. Jason Bowers (4/4, 2), Tim Schrank (4/4, 2), Doris Casullo (4/4, 3), Anthony Mastrangelo (4/4, 3) and Tito Presenza (4/4, 2) were all perfect at the plate.
The second Semi saw the Twisters visiting the Dog Catchers. After four innings the score was 11 to 8 in favour of the Dog Catchers, largely on the strength of Brian Richards’ 3 for 3 and 3 runs scored over the first four innings. Tom Hollmann and Dave McGovern also chipped in with 3 for 3 days, but unbelievably, Richards wouldn’t see another turn at the plate but the Twisters could only count a single run over the last 3 innings in dropping an 11-9 decision.
The Tap Masters were making their 2nd ever appearance in the final while the Dog Catchers were making their 3rd appearance in the past four years! The Dog Catchers scored one in the first inning for an early lead, but the Tap Masters stormed back with 4 in their half of the 1st and would go on to score 13 unanswered runs before the Dog Catchers counted two in the top of the 7th for a 13 – 3 final. Doris Casullo was 4 for 4 with 3 runs scored, but the story of the game was Tim Schrank. Tim had 5 RBI through the first 2 innings and 7 RBI and 2 runs scored for the game while going 4 for 4.
And the last team standing was......
Another season is behind us, but we have a lot to still look forward to. The last executive meeting is on September 27th and your captains will be submitting ratings and ratings committee will begin working on it through the winter. Then we have a banquet on October 14th and the AGM on November 18th. We plan to have registration open for 2018 on January 1st. I hope to see everyone back for another fantastic season!