By Josh Howald
The Kincardine Cubs couldn’t capture the clean sweep.
The Cubs claimed the Thames Valley Senior Baseball League regular season pennant, and then played near-perfect baseball two weeks ago to win a provincial OBA C championship. The only thing left to win was the Thames League playoffs.
Kincardine gave themselves a chance, scrapping back from a loss in the TVSBL A tournament opener Saturday morning to make Sunday’s championship game, but ran out of steam. The Cubs roster was cut short by injury and the return of college and university classes, and simply came up listless on the weekend.
The TVSBL playoff title belongs to the Listowel Legionnaires.
“You could say there was a bit of an OBA hangover,” said utility player Caden Allingham following his team’s 5-0 loss to the Oakridge Reds on Saturday morning in Mitchell.
The Mitchell Astros hosted Saturday’s A tournament, a double knock-out affair featuring the Cubs, Legionnaires, Astros and Reds. Those four teams finished first to fourth, respectively, in the TVSBL regular season standings, and then won a best-of-three series against the fifth through eighth place teams to earn a spot in Saturday’s tournament in Mitchell.
Kincardine and Listowel entered the playoff tournament with identical 12-6 records, but the Cubs had the first place nod due to head-to-head competition. Kincardine’s first game against Oakridge was not pretty, with the Cubs proclaiming their own performance as “awful.” John Dupuis threw a complete game in the rain, but got no offensive support. Kincardine managed just three hits in this one.
The action was delayed several times throughout the day on Saturday, and when Kincardine finally headed back to the diamond, they were significantly sharper against Mitchell, with both teams having one defeat and facing elimination. Ryan Fraser threw a gem on the hill, going the distance in a 5-2 Kincardine win that ended the Atros’ season.
“We played just well enough to win,” said Greg Stepaniak, “and no better.”
Fraser took the ball to the mound again later that night. He threw another seven innings as Kincardine exacted some revenge on Oakridge and toughed out a 3-1 win over the Reds. That left Kincardine and Listowel as the only teams left standing at the end of a rainy, miserable day in Mitchell. The clubs agreed to meet at noon, Sunday, in Listowel to determine a TVBL champion.
Game details were not available, but Listowel did win the pennant at home by an 8-6 margin, bringing an end to the TVSBL season. Three of the four teams left at the end of the season played in the same division – Kincardine, Mitchell and Listowel were all placed together as the league was split into two divisions this season to cut down on travel.