McLelland Cubs Classic set for Saturday


By Josh Howald

Call it the McLelland Memorial, the Cubs Classic or Baseball Day in Kincardine.

Regardless of what you call it, it is a heck of a good day down at the ball diamonds.

This Saturday will mark the sixth annual Mike McLelland Baseball Classic, hosted by the Kincardine Cubs at Connaught Park. The event has morphed into an entire day of baseball fun for the with the family with a full schedule of Kincardine Minor Baseball Association games in the works, a licensed beer garden and a double-header for the three-time defending OBA champion Kincardine Cubs.

The beer gardens will open up at 1 p.m., and the Cubs will prepare to take on the Senor A provincial champions from Listowel. The last time Kincardine hosted the Legionnaires at this event, it ended in a 15-12 slugfest for the visitors. Following that, the Kincardine OBA peewee team will entertain Saugeen Shores on Tout Field. This is the third year the peewee Cardinals have hosted Saugeen Shores on the main centre diamond. Then, at 7:30 p.m., the Cubs will play the St. Thomas Cardinals in the main event of the day, a rematch from last year's Classic. The Cubbies will be aiming at a similar result to their blowout win last season.

In the five previous events, Kincardine has gone 7-3. The Cubs are currently in third place in the Thames Valley Senior Baseball League with a record of 6-2, thanks to a Saturday split of home games.

Kincardine was knocked off by the London Area Angels in the first of two games for the Cubs on the weekend. It was an ugly one, with the Angels coasting to a 7-2 win. The Cubs then took that frustration and aimed in directly at the Forest City Thunder in their second game of the day. Kincardine ripped apart the Thunder with a 18-2 decision later in the afternoon.

Buzzcutz Studios will be on hand to host the event and Knuckles BBQ will be manning the grill. There is no admission charge - it is entry by donation.  In the event's first four years, nearly $25,000 was raised for the Heart And Stroke Foundation. More than $4,000 was raised for local youngsters interested in playing baseball with funds that were allocated for local ball players who might not have had the means to participate in minor ball.

The KMBA will receive money from the Cubs for new equipment at some point during the day.

If nothing else, the Classic brings out every baseball player's best game.

"Come out for some great entertainment," said infielder Greg Stepaniak, "some great baseball and to enjoy the weather. Head over to the beer garden for a cool drink and raise your glass to a great person and friend as we remember Mike McLelland."

Stepaniak said in the first five years the event was held, a total of 42 different players had suited up for the Cubs under four different coaches.