Ten years of aiming for an Ontario fastball crown over in dominating style
August 4, 2022
By Rob J. Ross
ST. THOMAS - A ten year wait is over.
The St. Thomas Storm are finally provincial Master champions.
With a dominating undefeated run, St. Thomas made up for lost time, by winning each game in a mercy, at the Ontario Amateur Softball Association (OASA) Master men's provincial fastball tournament, in Kitchener, July 30-31.
Led by MVP Mark Coleman, Matt Mclaren, named the tournament's top batter and Fred Follings, named top pitcher, the Storm outscored their opposition by a total of 39 runs to three.
"Everybody in the line-up hit. It
was very satisfying," Storm manager Tom Edie said. "We made a couple changes and
those guys hit too. Obviously the pitching was great."
Follings only allowed two earned runs over 16 innings, while Dan Beecroft never gave up a hit in seven innings.
Coleman and Mclaren were a force in the line-up.
"Matt is a proven slugger," said Edie "Having Matt behind Mark, made (opponents) not be able to pitch around Mark. He performed well."
The Storm have been eying a Masters championship for the past decade.
"It was a long time coming. We've been going to the Masters for 10 years," Edie said. "We had a couple of years when the Sunday got rained out, or the final got rained out, or where we were close, we were in the semifinals. We had a couple of years where the tie-breaks put us on the B side instead of the A side. We've won the B side a couple times, but we have never won the A."
A Mark Coleman home run helped the Storm beat Port Elgin, 9-2, in the final.
"It is a great feeling to finally break through and win the Masters provincial title," Beecroft said. "We have been close a couple times, but things never seemed to work out.
It really makes you appreciate every time you do finally achieve something like this. As we get older you start to think that it's not meant to be."
St. Thomas opened the tournament trouncing Waterdown, 12-0, in four innings, followed by a five inning no-hitter, from Beecroft, in a 8-0 shutout of Waterloo. Jay Schnarr had a home run in the game.
The Storm pounded Port Elgin, 10-0, to earn a berth in the final.
"Dan came to me after the game and said, coach, it's been 10 years and we finally did it for you," Edie said. "I said, we did it for us."
Beecroft thanks Edie for bringing the glory to the players.
"I credit Tom with never giving up and always trying to find that extra piece to get us there," Beecroft said. "The four players that he added this year, really fit in well with our team. As the weekend continued everyone's play became infectious, which led to probably the best weekend display of great ball I have ever been apart of. I will always cherish the fact that we were able to finally win and that I was part of something great with a even greater group of guys."
St. Thomas will Ontario One, at the Masters men's Canadian fast pitch championship, Aug. 31-September 4, in St. John's Newfoundland.
"We have no idea what other provinces have, in regards to talent level, but we know we have a pretty good club and we're hoping to have a good show," Edie said. "With the amount of injuries we've had throughout the season, staying healthy will be the biggest key. It's quite a few games in a short amount of time."
The Storm lost Rob Kelly and Chris Wismer, to season ending injuries earlier in the year.
Winning the provincial title, gave the Storm top pick, for the allowed addition of three players to their current roster for the Canadian tournament.
Right-handed pitcher Pat Slaunwhite and infielder Derek Martin, have been added to the Storm roster.
Edie knows the Canadians are a step up in competition, with the best teams from across the nation.
"I don't pretend to think we're going to score 39 runs in four games at that level," said Edie. "The recipe is good pitching and defence and timely hitting. If you can't have timely hitting, lots of hitting is great. But when the chips are down and you have the good teams playing, it's timely hitting that wins it. We do have some horses that we can run out there."
Having won at the junior and senior levels, Coleman will be looking to add a Masters Canadian title to his resume.
© 2022 Hometownplay.ca