St. Thomas only undefeated team remaining at provincial baseball U22 Eliminations
coming back to beat Newmarket after dominating Mississauga North1
July 15, 2023
By Rob J. Ross
DORCHESTER, Ont. - Only one remains undefeated.
The St. Thomas Tomcats are that lone team at the Baseball Ontario U22 men's championship and the ball club is one win away from a trip to Canadians. Two teams will represent Ontario on the National stage.
Noah Williams capped a 7-6 comeback win over Newmarket Hawks with a base clearing double in the top of the sixth inning, during the battle of 3-0 teams Saturday afternoon at the Field of Dreams west of Dorchester.
The Tomcats trailed 4-0 and then 6-2 and scored all of their runs in two innings, the fourth and the sixth.
"We're a high energy team. We were down a little bit when they got those runs. But we got the hits and it's contagious and the boys kept the energy up," said Williams. "We're a gritty team. We've had many games that we were down going into the last inning and we rallied back. It happened in the first game with Mosher walking it off."
The Tomcats' first baseman entered an intense situation, with two out and the bases loaded, his team down two runs in the top of the sixth. On top of that, Newmarket just brought in their closer.
On second pitch, Williams roped the ball into left field, fooling the fielder.
"I was sitting fastball and he blew the first one by me. I decided I might as well look away and I got that outside pitch i roped one down the left field line," said Williams. "I had a lot of back spin off on the hit. I was a little nervous because he looked like was there. He was camped, but I saw the back spin off the ball right off my bat. He didn't back up and it blew right by him."
Holding a 7-6 lead, the Tomcats brought in Jake
Haak, his first appearance of the tournament, to close the game.
"They had two, three, four, coming up," Haak said of the Hawks' line-up. "I wanted to keep the ball on the edges. Nothing in the middle of the plate. It worked out. I got some pop ups on some change-ups."
Haak faced six batters and produced six outs.
Fitting for Williams who had the game winning hit, also made the final out, on a high pop up that he raced to the mound to catch.
"It's unbelievable," Haak said. ""We have a lot of belief. We know we're good. We have a ton of character and we have some funny guys. The humour is awesome. It keeps the guys loose. It's absolutely massive for our team."
Noah Grant's RBI single put the Tomcats on the board in the top of the fourth. Then in what appeared to be overly aggressive base running, instead led to two more runs, making it a 4-3 game.
Newmarket used a couple throwing errors to get back a pair of runs, in the bottom half of the fourth, but had a runner tossed out at home plate.
"We knew that we would score at some point. Our message to our pitching staff was just keep us in it, keep battling and for our hitters, just to have good at bats," Tomcats' manager Arizona Phoenix said. "It was good to see our guys keep competing. When we got it to 6-3, we were within striking range. This is a confident group. They work hard. They played hard. We've been prepping for this all season."
Earlier Saturday, St. Thomas dominated Mississauga North 1, scoring a run in each of the first five innings, on way to a 7-2 win and a 3-0 record.
Tomcats' Alex Forshay tossed a two-hit shutout over six innings, striking out seven batters.
Charles Bowman had two RBI and Ben Morrison, a pair of singles.
Now the Tomcats need one win for a spot at the 22U men's Canadian championship, August 3-6 in Stonewell, Manitoba. Two teams will represent Ontario at the National tournament.
Two wins is the Ontario Elimination title.
"There's is still lots of work to do," said Phoenix. "We have to re-focus and come ready to play two good games against two reallygood teams.
St. Thomas takes on Guelph at 2 p.m. and a win clinches a spot at Canadians. Then St. Thomas faces Newmarket again at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
If St. Thomas drops one game, it will add a game to the tournament and the final will occur Monday morning.
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