St. Thomas finishes their shortened minor baseball season at 10-2
defeating Brantford, 7-4, in the bracket A final
Saturday, September 5th, 2020
By Rob J. Ross
ST. THOMAS - In a year many youth did not have the opportunity to play baseball, the St. Thomas Cardinals not only played, but finished the shortened season victorious.
The Cardinals held off the Brantford Jr. Red Sox for a 7-4 win, in the Inter-County Baseball Association (ICBA) 12U bracket A final, at the Tarry Complex.
Tayven Barned, Luke Thomas and Aaron Dyke, each drove in two runs, to lead the red birds offensively.
Barned also starred on the mound, tossing a one hit shutout over four innings, striking out nine batters and walking three.
Over the past year, St. Thomas and Brantford have become very familar with each other.
"That's the seventh time we played that team and we were 3-3. They beat us in a tournament final last year. It's quite a rivalry. They're a good ball team and well coached," Cardinals' manager Dan Leonardes said. "We've had a lot of close games. We expect a battle every time we step on to the field with these guys and that's what we got."
The Cardinals built a 5-0 lead, before the Red Sox pulled within a run, scoring four times in the sixth inning. The home team responded with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning, to secure the victory.
"We've had lots of back and forth games," said Leonardes. "We kept saying when we were up, is that we can't sit back because we know they can hit. We know they can play and we fully expect them to score runs. We had to keep grinding every inning."
St. Thomas scored one run in the first inning and two runs each in the third, fifth and sixth innings.
Cooper Henderson had a single and base on balls, while making a number of stellar defensive plays at second base, including a throw to first base for an out from his knees.
Dyke and Luke Ordronneau worked the final three innings on the hill for the Cardinals. Dyke relieved Ordronneau and got the third out of the sixth inning, stranding two Red Sox runners.
"We just didn't make a mistake. We played solid baseball all the way through. We didn't give them (Red Sox) anything. They had to earn everything they got," said Leonardes.
Ordronneau, playing first base, made a superb over the shoulder catch 15 feet behind the base for the second out of the seventh inning. Shortstop Tayven Barned then scooped up a grounder and fired to Ordronneau for the final out of the game.
"That could have steam rolled in the wrong way for us," said Leonardes, if the ball had found grass.
In the semifinals Friday, St. Thomas blanked Cambridge with a 14-0 shutout in five innings.
A three-for-three performance from Barned led the Cardinals' 13-hit attack. Nathan Watson went two-for-two, with three RBIs. Nathan Dunn reached base on three occasions, with a single, walk and an error and scored every time. Wyatt Atchison had a RBI single and a base on balls, from two at bats, while Thomas finished with a single, two free passes to first base and one RBI.
The Cardinals combined for seven stolen bases.
Watson tossed a three hit shutout over four innings. Cam Morrison worked the fifth.
"There's so much talent on this squad. It is a lot of fun to see different things and the evolution of the players, added Leonardes.
St. Thomas concludes the season with an overall record of 10-2. A shortened schedule, but the Cardinals are happy simply to have the opportunity to play ball.
"This is a game and it's a lot of fun. Whether we had to play with this set of rules or that set of rules, we can still go out and have a lot of fun. That's what we did," Leonardes said. "There were protocols we had to follow. We worked together, we communicated (and) we created a safe environment where our kids could play."
The Cardinals now have upcoming workouts for next year's 13U team.
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