Mitchell wins Thames League title

Kincardine has OBA letdown

By Josh Howald

Perhaps the Kincardine Cubs should lobby for an earlier league playoff tournament, or to have the Ontario Baseball Association tourney moved back.

Jason MacDonald dives back to second safely during a game against Oakridge earlier this summer. The expansion Reds upset the Cubs in the first game of the Thames League playoff tournament and made a run all the way to the league's championship game against Mitchell. (Independent file photo)

Just like last year, the Cubs left their hearts at the OBA tournament in Sarnia, and were left doubly disappointed after a poor performance at the Thames Valley Senior Baseball League championships.

Kincardine was eliminated from the OBAs by Barrie two weeks ago, and regrouped for the Thames League playoffs, which were held on the weekend in Mitchell.

“You could feel the letdown (after OBAs),” said infielder Greg Stepaniak.

Kincardine finished third overall in the Thames Valley League with a 14-6 record, and met the expansion Oakridge Reds in the opening game Friday night. The Reds, who defeated a shorthanded Cubs team 10-5 in the final regular season game of the season, scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning to snap a 4-4 tie and pull off an upset. The Reds finished 10-10 in the regular season, and ended up advancing all the way to Sunday’s championship final.

Rain wreaked havoc on the tournament all weekend, with several games delayed and rescheduled. Stepaniak said the Cubs tip their hats to tournament convener Doug Wolfe. The Mitchell coach worked tirelessly all weekend to keep the diamond in top shape, and deal with a constantly changing schedule.

Kincardine defeated the sixth-place Byron Bulldogs 9-4 Saturday, but dropped a 7-5 game to the seventh place Forest City Barons on Sunday. A 1-2 record wasn’t enough to move on, and Kincardine’s season came to a close.

"We were down to pretty much a skeleton crew," said Ryan Enright, "and it showed in some pretty lackadasical play all around."

Oakridge lost a 5-4 squeaker to Listowel, but then defeated St. Thomas 11-8 to land in the championship game. The Mitchell Astros used home field advantage to upset the first place Legionnaires before defeating the Reds 5-2 in the championship game.

"We were never really able to hit mid-season form," said Enright, adding that the season did have several positives, including the Mike McLelland Memorial Cubs Classic, which raised more than $5,000 for the Heart and Stroke Association.

"We'll regroup, hopefully add some younger players and some more depth to the rotation (next year)," said Enright. "Hopefully our current players can come back as healthy as possible and make a serious run at both the TVSBL title and the All-Ontario championships."