Cubs win Port Lambton tourney

Also hammer Hanover at home
Section: 
Sports

By Josh Howald

After a couple of false starts, the baseball season has officially arrived for the Kincardine Cubs.

Ryan Fraser drives the ball to left field during a Kincardine rout of the Hanover Hitmen last Wednesday night at Connaught Park. (Josh Howald photo)

 

The Cubs finally got the regular season started last Wednesday with a lopsided win at Connaught Park, and then went 4-0 on the weekend in Port Lambton to capture a tournament championship.

"It was a great weekend for ball," said infielder Greg Stepaniak. "Considering how early in the season it is, and (that we) had only played one game, the team was on top of its game. Defence, pitching and hitting all came together to win the tournament."

Chris Inkster pitched a one-hit shutout Sunday afternoon in Port Lambton to clinch the tournament for the Cubbies. He went the distance and walked just one batter in a 4-0 win over the Wyoming Cattlebarons, and was named the most valuable player.

In the fourth inning, Ryan Fraser dropped a soft liner into centre field, which scored Scott Austin and Brian Maas from second and third to make it 2-0 Kincardine. Dylan Sayle scored in the fifth inning on an RBI double from Curtis Cobean to make it 3-0. Cobean then scored on a looping liner into centre from Maas' bat.

The Cubs had opened the tournament Friday evening with a 7-2 win over the host Port Lambton Pirates. Nate Kramer went to the hill for Kincardine and got the win in a game that was closer than the score indicated.

Dane Dunlop and Dylan Sayle had scored in the third and fourth inning before Port Lambton replied. Kramer allowed a single, walk and single for a bases loaded situation. He struck out two batters, but then allowed a blooper down the left field line that scored two and tied game. It remained 2-2 until the sixth.

Inkster scored Cobean with a base hit. Tyler Marcinko walked to score another run and leave the bases loaded for Fraser. Fraser hit a sac fly to centre to score another run. Dave Robinson then smashed a two-run double to right centre to make the final 7-2.

Kincardine's second game of the weekend came Saturday afternoon against the Welland Chiefs.

Tyler Middleton went to the hill for Kincardine and was stung for three quick runs in the first inning. The Cubs tied things up in the bottom half, however. Cobean tripled to right centre and scored on a Scott Austin single. Dave Robinson scored Austin and Inkster with a base hit.

Sheldon McBride hit a one-out single in the second inning, and Austin scored McBride and Cobean with a double. Austin scored on an error to make it 6-3. Welland answered back in the top of the third. A walk, hit and error loaded up the bases and Middleton walked in two runs and a third scored on a sac fly to tie the game.

In the top of the fourth, Adam Marseilles took over for Middleton on the mound. The first batter he faced hit a soft liner in front of second. Austin dropped to his knees to smother the short hop and tossed a no-looker over his shoulder to Dunlop. Dunlop came across the bag and threw off-balance to first. It bounced once and was scooped by Stepaniak for a highlight-reel double play that ended the inning.

Kincardine took the lead for good in the fifth. Paul Boyadjian ripped a single to the gap to score Inkster and move Robinson to third base. Maas grounded out, which scored a run and advanced Boyadjian a base. Fraser scored Boyadjian with a single.

The Cubs drew the St. Thomas Cardinals, league mates with Cubbies, in a semi-final game Sunday morning. Ryan Fraser allowed just one hit in a game that was halted after five innings because of the mercy rule. Kincardine was holding a 14-0 lead at that time.

"Everybody hit," said Stepaniak. "A complete blow-out."

He was talking about the semi-final against St. Thomas, but he could have been talking about Kincardine's first regular season game last Wednesday night at Connaught Park against Hanover.

The Cubs controlled that game from the get-go. Kincardine scored three times in the top of the first inning and never relinquished control.

After Hanover scored once in the third inning, Kincardine responded with a two-out rally in the fourth inning that cashed three more runs. Ryan Fraser smashed a hanging breaking ball to left field that likely should have been caught, but ended up an RBI double. The next batter, Greg Stepaniak, scored a man from third and Fraser from second base with a hard shot to right field.

That gave Sayle a 6-1 lead to work with on the mound. He pitched a gem of a fifth inning, facing just four batters and striking out two.

The Cubs added another run in the fifth inning to make it 7-1.

Hanover got some life with a four-run sixth inning, but the Cubs answered back with a half-dozen runs of their own in the seventh inning. The final score was 16-6.

It was a good, and long awaited, start to the Midwestern Ontario Senior Baseball League regular season for the Cubs. Officially, the club is 3-0 in league play after the Ingersoll Blue Jays bowed out of a double-header in Kincardine May 28.

It was Hanover's second game of the season. The Hitmen, who have a handful of former Cubs on roster, were trounced by the Lucan Irish Nine 13-2 in their opening game.

The Irish Nine are 4-0 and sit atop the newly-formed MOSBL standings. Kincardine is .5 game back with a 3-0 record. Mitchell, Listowel and St. Thomas join the Cubs and Irish Nine with perfect records at this early point of the season. The Astros and Legionnaires are both 2-0, while the Cardinals are 1-0. Woodstock is 1-1 and the London Area Angels have a 1-3 record. Hanover, Ingersoll and Byron are all still looking for that first win of the season.

The Cubs will try to prevent the Byron Storm from getting in the win column on Saturday. Kincardine will travel to Byron for a double header with the Storm. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m., while the second game is slated to begin at 6 p.m.

Kincardine will also be in action June 16 in Hanover at the Raceway diamond. The next home game for the Cubs is scheduled for June 25 against the rival Mitchell Astros.