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Tomcats 2023 22U Eliminations

 Tomcats start 2-0 at 22U Eliminations


   Tyler Mosher's grand slam walked off game one against Oshawa followed by a

   2-1 win over Tecumseh at the junior baseball provincial championships


  July 15, 2023


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By Rob J. Ross

ST. THOMAS - Tyler Mosher won't soon forget how he ended the St. Thomas Tomcats' first game of the 2023 Baseball Ontario 22U men's Eliminations.

The Dutton native hit a walk-off grand slam lifting the Tomcats to a 6-2 win over Oshawa, Friday morning at Emslie Field in St Thomas.

Later on Friday at Exeter, following a two hour rain delay, St. Thomas edged Tecumseh, 2-1, to finish day one of the three day 16-team tournament, with two wins.

"Obviously 2-0 is what we were hoping for and now that gets all of the nerves out," Tomcats manager Arizona Phoenix said. "It gives the guys who haven't had elim experience some elim experience. Now we're in a position that we're that much closer to our goal."

That goal would be winning eliminations, for a spot at the Canadian 22U men's championship, August 3-6, in Stonewall, Manitoba.

Likely five to six wins will be needed to be Ontario champions and the Tomcats were two for two on opening day.

"Being a 16-team tournament this year, there are no easy games. You going to have to beat good teams to get to Nationals," Phoenix said. "We knew Oshawa was a good team. They had only one loss all season. We knew we had to play perfect to win and the guys did a really good job."

Tied at two in the bottom of the seventh inning against Oshawa, Mosher sent the ball over the fence in right center field for his first career slam.

"First time, but it couldn't have come at a better time. With one out, bases loaded, I was just trying to get something in the air and it just happened to leave," said Mosher, who didn't feel he had hit a home run. "At first I didn't until I saw the outfielder running back to the fence and worse case it was a sac fly."

It will forever be one of the highlight hits for Mosher, who just finished year three with the University of Davenport Panthers, in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). The shortstop hit .280, with an OPS (on-base plus slugging average) around 900.

Oshawa took a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning but left the bases loaded. In the home half of the sixth, Noah Grant hit a two-out solo home run to tie the game.

"It's a nice way when you can win in that fashion," Phoenix said. "The home run to tie it was huge. Then we had the momentum going and we were able to bring in our closer to keep the game tied."

Alex Springer pitched the seventh inning, picking up the win, in relief of starter Jaryd Lund and middle reliever Ben Hubert. The trio combined to limit Oshawa to five hits and two walks.

"That's our expectation from those guys," Phoenix said. "When they pitch, we win. They're lights out. They do it at all levels. They're good here, at school, where ever they are. They're competitors. They throw strikes and want to win."

Brad Verhoeven, batting third, had two singles and stole home for a 1-0 St. Thomas lead.

"Even the guys at the bottom of the order are doing a great job, to battle against a good pitcher and put the ball in play and get on base," added Phoenix. "That allows the guys at the top to do their job and drive in runs."

In game two, Tecumseh opened the scoring in the first inning.

Tomcats' Alex Brown singled with two out in the second inning, stole second base and scored on Charles Bowman's single, knotting the game at one.

In the third inning, Verhoeven advanced to second on a pitch in the dirt and scored the eventual winning run on Grant's two out double.

Josh Krautner pitched five innings, striking out four batters, for the win. Springer, who had the win in game one, picked up the save in game two, striking out three batters over two innings worked.

The Tomcats face Mississauga North 1, Saturday 10 a.m. in Dorchester. The winner faces the East York and Newmarket winner, both 2-0, at 4 pm at Dorchester.

Majority of the games are at Fields of Dreams and Royal Field, just west of Dorchester.






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