By Josh Howald
The Mitchell Astros gained a bit of ground on the first place Kincardine Cubs, but it isn’t enough. Nobody is likely to catch the Cubbies.
A pair of wins at the 3rd annual Mike McLelland Memorial Classic all but clinched top spot in the Thames Valley Senior Baseball League for Kincardine. The Cubs then spanked the Listowel Legionnaires 9-2 last Sunday, but were defeated 13-7 by the surging Mitchell Astros Friday night at Connaught Park in Kincardine. Sunday evening, Kincardine dropped two games in a row for the first time this season, losing 13-11 in Listowel.
Mitchell's Friday night and Listowel's win Sunday night moved the teams into a three-way tie for second place overall, six points back of the Cubbies. Kincardine, now 12-6, can be caught only by the Legionnaires, who have four games remaining. Listowel will have to go undefeated in it's final four games of the season to make that happen.
The Cubs Classic was a success, from several standpoints. Kincardine defeated the basement dwelling St. Thomas Cardinals 10-7 in an entertaining opening game, followed by a 9-2 drubbing of the Legionnaires. Large crowds were on hand to enjoy both games, and weather conditions were ideal for baseball. A large chunk of change was also raised for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
Whether Kincardine finishes first or second, they will take on the seventh or eight place team, which will be either St. Thomas or the London Giants in the opening round of the TVSBL playoffs. All first round series will be best-of-3 sets, with Kincardine having the extra home game. The four opening round winners will go the TVSBL A Playoff Tournament, which will be Sept. 6, 7 and 8. Kincardine is also preparing for the Ontario Baseball Association (OBA) tournament in September.