Eastern Ontario Fastball Blog

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Carp wins title - Tournament wrap up from Au Sable

Thanks to Eric Rosenquist for this account of the Au Sable 50th Annual Tournament

Au Sable Forks' 50th annual fastpitch tournament featured fireworks on Friday night and home-run bombs on Sunday.

The I4C Victory squad from Carp, Ontario went to Au Sable last weekend hoping they could improve on their runner-up finish in last year's edition of the fastball tournament. With 2012 marking the 50th anniversary of the event, all of the teams attending wanted to see their name on the championship trophy.

I4C got off to a good start in their first game of the tournament - a 9:30 AM tilt against the scrappy Quebec Jr team. Carp scored 2 in the top of the first inning courtesy of a Bruce Hackett single that knocked in Scott Herriot and Kristian Knapp. They added to the lead in the third, getting a run via a Matt McNish single that scored Cory Morrison, followed by a Hackett two-run home run. Quebec chipped away at Carp starter Neil Cooke and narrowed the lead to 5-3 after four innings. The teams traded runs in the 5th, then Carp tacked on a couple of insurance runs in the 6th via a pair of solo home runs by Kevin McGuire and Eric Colvin. Cooke shut down the Quebec hitters in the bottom of the 6th (round-robin games are 6 innings) to make the final 8-4 Carp.

Game #2 for Carp was against the Mountain Brook Lodge Blitz at 12:30 PM. Carp went with Stittsville 56er Trevor Scott as their pitcher while the Blitz countered with Chris Van Valkenburg. Both pitchers threw well, keeping the game scoreless until the bottom of the third when Carp scored two runs courtesy of a Scott Herriot home run with Matt Medaglia on base. Carp added a run in the fourth via a Bruce Hackett solo home run and another in the fifth when Herriot doubled and then alertly scored all the way from 2nd base on a passed ball when he noticed no one covering home plate. Scott and catcher Derek Barber kept the Blitz hitters off balance throughout the game, mixing change-ups with rise balls effectively enough to avoid any sustained rallies by the good hitting Blitz lineup. Final score 4-0 Carp.

The third game on Saturday was a match between the 3-0 CPI Classics and the 2-0 Victory. CPI handed the ball to ISC Hall of Fame pitcher Paul Algar while Carp countered with Neil Cooke. Carp trailed early in this game as CPI put 3 runs on the board in the top of the 2nd. Carp got one back in their half of the 2nd when Kevin McGuire singled, advanced to 2nd on a passed ball, and scored on Derek Barber's two-out single. Carp narrowed the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the third via a Matt McNish solo home run, but CPI got that run back with a solo shot of their own in the top of the 4th. Carp kept the pressure on CPI by making it 4-3 after four complete as Barber singled and then scored on a Bobby-Jack Hart single to left field. After surviving a leadoff double in the top of the fifth and stranding the runner at 3rd, Carp took control in the bottom of the frame. Kristian Knapp led off the inning with a double, then scored on a one-out Matt McNish double. McNish scored a few pitches later when Cory Morrison hit a triple to the corner. That was it for pitcher Paul Algar, as CPI elected to bring in Miguel Turbi to end the threat. Carp managed to get an insurance run off a Turbi wild pitch that allowed Morrison to score from third. Cooke and catcher Bobby-Jack Hart retired the CPI side in order in the top of the sixth to make the final 6-4 Carp.

The final round-robin game for Carp was a 9AM start on Sunday morning versus Gordon Oil. The early morning sun was hot, but so were the Carp bats as they managed a 5-4 win behind the pitching and 2 RBIs of Duane Bromley. Carp took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Shawn Simzer singled, advanced to third on a Matt McNish single, then scored on a Bruce Hackett sac-fly. Gordon Oil scored 2 of their own in the top of the second courtesy of four singles, but Bromley got a much needed strikeout to end the threat and strand a pair of runners. Carp retook the lead with pair of single runs in the second and third innings. Carp catcher Al Read lead off the bottom of the second with a single, was bunted to second by Adam Fleming, and scored on a Bromley single up the middle. In the third, McNish and Hackett hit back-to-back doubles to make the score 3-2 Carp. Gordon Oil reclaimed the lead with a pair of runs via a solo home run, a single, stolen base, passed ball, and a fielder's choice. Carp went ahead to stay in the bottom of the fifth when Tony MacDonald reached on a fielder's choice and scored on Adam Fleming's RBI single. Fleming scored the game winning run when Eric Colvin and Duane Bromley followed with singles of their own to make the final score 5-4.

Carp ended the round-robin portion of the tournament with a 4-0 record and first place in the "B" pool. CPI was 3-1 to claim second place in the pool, with Donnacona (4-0) and Knoxville (3-0) advancing from the "A" pool.

The first semi-final between CPI and Donnacona saw the sun give way to dark clouds and then rain, but it didn't phase either squad as they played a nine inning gem. Paul Algar started for CPI and eventually gave way to Miguel Turbi, who in turn handed the ball back to Algar in the 9th inning with runners on base. Francis Leclair went the distance for Donnacona and earned the win in a 2-1 nail-biter.

Just after semi final #1 ended, the rain came down hard and it poured for 15-20 minutes. For a while it looked like the rest of the day might be a wash out, but the rain let up enough that the Au Sable volunteers were able to work on the field and get it back into great shape. The weather ranged from light drizzle to steady rain the rest of the day and evening; it was a nuisance, but not enough to warrant cancelling an excellent tourney.

The second semi-final between Knoxville and Carp got underway a few hours late thanks to the combination of extra innings and weather delays, but for the many fans who remained at the ball park, it was worth the wait and they were treated to another extra-inning gem. Neil Cooke got the starting assignment for Carp, with Gregg Garrity countering for Knoxville. Knoxville opened the scoring in the top of the second when Charlie Waltzman tripled and came home on a one out single. Waltzman briefly got caught in a run-down between 3rd and home since he had to tag up in case the shallow liner was caught. The Carp bench thought third baseman Kevin McGuire tagged Waltzman on the backside just before he dove for home plate, but the umpire didn't see it that way and Knoxville had the lead 1-0. Carp tied the game in their half of the second in a less controversial fashion via a Matt McNish solo home run. The third and fourth innings were scoreless, with both teams threatening and both pitchers working out of jams via their defence and some well-time strikeouts. Knoxville reclaimed the lead in the fifth when Steve Price hit a towering home run to right center, but Carp responded and tied the game at 2 courtesy of a two-out rally. Dan Loney singled, stole second, then came in to score on a Kristian Knapp single. Knapp advanced to second and then third on a pair of wild pitches that contributed to a Scott Herriot walk, giving Carp runners on the corners with two out. Knoxville elected to make a pitching change at that point, bringing Cody Price in to face his GOFL teammate Matt McNish. Price won the battle by getting McNish to fly out to left and end the threat.

The sixth and seventh innings remained scoreless, though not without some drama. In the bottom of the 7th with the score tied 2-2, Price got into a jam when Loney singled, then Knapp and Herriot drew walks to load the bases with no one out. With McNish at the plate and the infield drawn in, Price got a ground-ball to short and a force-out at home as Loney slid into the Knoxville catcher. Price then struck out the red-hot Bruce Hackett and made a game-saving play to snag a ground-ball up the middle off the bat of Cory Morrison and end the inning, sending the game into extra innings.

Au Sable tournament rules are for two normal extra innings, after which the international tie breaker rule kicks in and all subsequent innings start with a runner at second base.

Cooke retired the heart of the Knoxville order on three straight strikeouts in the top of the eighth, turning things over to the Carp hitters. Kevin McGuire and Derek Barber led off the inning with back to back walks, prompting Knoxville to put Jordan MacDonald in to pitch. MacDonald walked Carp catcher Bobby-Jack Hart, loading the bases with no one out. With the infield drawn in, Dan Loney promptly singled up the middle to score McGuire from third, giving Carp a 3-2 extra-innings victory.

After a short break to groom the diamond and perform a ceremonial first pitch, the final got underway between Donnacona and Carp - the same two teams that met in last year's final. Both winning pitchers from the semi-final games kept going, with Francis Leclair starting for Donnacona and Neil Cooke for Carp. Donnacona got off to a good start, scoring 3 in the top of the first inning all with two out. After a fly out and a ground out, Patrice Leclerc hit a line drive up the middle that bounced off Cooke's right toe for an infield hit. Trying to work through a sore toe, Cooke walked the next two batters and then gave up a 2-strike single to Leclair that scored two runs. That was followed by a single that scored JD Doucet and put Donnacona up 3-0 after half an inning. Carp fought back however, getting a run back quickly courtesy of a Dan Loney leadoff home run. Carp narrowed the deficit to 3-2 in the bottom of the second when Cory Morrison reached on an error and then scored on a two-out RBI single from Carp catcher Bobby-Jack Hart. The pitchers then settled in and worked through the rain and pain to keep the score at 3-2 through four innings.

In the top of the fifth, Donnacona looked to have taken control of the game when third baseman Matt Greer hit a no-doubt two-run homer to the parking lot beyond the left-centre fence. They added some insurance when Leclerc singled and came home a few batters later on a dropped third strike. With the game now 6-2 and Cooke's toe thought to be broken, Trevor Scott warmed up while Carp batted in the bottom of the fifth. Carp second baseman Kristian Knapp ignited a two-out rally with a single. Short stop Scott Herriot followed that with a single of his own putting runners on the corners, then Matt McNish showed great patience at the plate to draw a walk and load the bases. Carp first baseman Bruce Hackett stepped into the batter's box and a few pitches later, the game was tied as Hackett hit a grand slam to right field. The dramatic hit energized the Carp bench and inspired Cooke to head back to the pitching rubber for the 6th inning.

Donnacona catcher Joe McCleary greeted Cooke with a single and then gave way to a pinch runner. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner into scoring position, and the move paid off as the next batter stroked a single that scored the run from second to give Donnacona a 7-6 lead. Upset at blowing the lead, Cooke signaled to the bench, and manager Eric Rosenquist called time to confer with his pitcher to decide if he should keep going or hand the ball over to Trevor Scott. The time-out proved to be serendipitous for Carp as an astute fan pointed out to the Carp bench that the Donnacona runner had missed third base while rounding for home. Carp appealed to the base umpire and he concurred, calling the runner out and leaving the score 6-6 with two out. Cooke continued pitching and retired the next batter on a ground ball to third base to end the frame.

Leclair pitched a 1-2-3 sixth and Cooke retired Donnacona in the top of the 7th on a pair of fly balls, a walk, and a strike out.

With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Scott Herriot drew his second walk of the day, bringing Carp centre fielder Matt McNish to the plate. McNish ended the tournament in style, smashing a towering home run shot to left-center and prompting the Carp bench to empty onto the field to greet him at home plate.

Final score, Carp I4C Victory 8, Donnacona Blue Sox 6.

Great stuff Eric, thanks for documenting the results.



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