St. Thomas U9, U13 and U14 teams make respective provincial finals
September 6, 2022
By Rob J. Ross
ST. THOMAS - Three St. Thomas Cardinals teams finished their seasons with silver medals from their respective provincial championships.
St. Thomas hosted two Baseball Ontario
tournaments, the 13U 'C' and 14U 'B' events, over this past weekend.
Leamington completed an undefeated run of six wins, downing St. Thomas, 11-5, in the 14U 'B' final, Sunday, at Emslie Field.
The Cardinals finished 4-2, losing twice to Leamington.
"Our defence was elite," Cardinals' head coach Ryan Morrison said. "Cooper Henderson making diving plays, Wyatt Atchison and Luke Thomas up the middle were amazing and Mason Beechey quarterbacking the outfield were all huge for us."
St. Thomas opened the tournament with comeback win, edging LaSalle, 18-16, in extra innings. The Cardinals scored seven runs in the seventh inning, to send the game to an eighth inning. Tournament games are seven innings, compared to the usual nine innings.
Pitcher Cameron Morrison silenced LaSalle in the seventh and eighth innings.
"Combine that with elite pitching performances on Saturday from Wyatt Atchison, who personally had his best outing of the year versus Woodstock," coach Morrison said. "Then the "butcher" Nathan Watson owned Woodslee to get us through to Sunday, where our ace Cameron Morrison threw a two-hit 69 pitch complete game vs Port Lambton to get us to the big dance."
Leamington was a team St. Thomas had trouble with all year.
"Leamington was tough," said coach Morrison. "Played them six times over the season and were 0-6. Started off the season with two exhibitions against them where we learnt a lot about our team. They (Leamington) were floored by our improvement in the beginning of August in a tournament in LaSalle. They knew we'd be a tough out come OBAs."
The St. Marys Rockies defeated St. Thomas twice on Sunday, including 18-7, in the final, at the Tarry Complex.
"I couldn't be more proud and privileged to take these guys to the final," Cardinals head coach Chris Wilkins said. "Our bats went silent for a little bit. We kept coming back. We did our best. We had to play one more game and just ran out of pitchers."
St Marys jumped out to a 11-1 lead by the fourth inning.
Earlier in the day, St. Marys beat St. Thomas, 13-8, to gain a spot directly in the final. St. Thomas had to play an extra game, blanking the Aylmer Pirates, 7-0, in an all Elgin County semifinal.
"A resilient bunch of kids. They keep battlng and battling. You can't ask for anything more from a young athlete to just give it his all and play with his heart and intestinal fortitude," Wilkins said. "Another thing that I like about these guys. They all got good sense of humours. I like to say they're 12 angels with broken wings. They're at that age where they're starting to become young men and they have a lot of energy."
St. Marys capped their season with an OBA title, their third tournament win of the year.
"It's a really successful year with a really, really good group of kids," St. Marys' head coach Justin Ewing said. "This was our goal at the beginning. I didn't know it was realistic, but evidently it was."
The Rockies finished with a stellar 17-2 record in
four tournaments. One loss was in a final and their second, to St. Thomas, 9-3,
on Saturday, in a game between 2-0 teams.
"Zach Larmer pitched incredible today (final). Ben Ewing was a horse for us. Donavan McGregor hit incredile and pitched incredible," said coach Ewing. "It's a total team effort. I'd hate to single out one over another, because we got solid contributions in pitching from everyone."
The coach gave kudos to his players who pitched in the loss to St. Thomas.
"Things weren't going our way. We had to throw in some kids to save some arms for today. That really helped us."
St. Marys rebounded from the loss and beat the host team Sunday morning.
"We got some luck out when we got the bye to the final," said the Rockies' coach. "The baseball gods gave us a break and we took advantage of it. I think the two strongest teams were here in the final."
At Chatham, the Cardinals lost to Woodstock, in the 9U 'B' final, in the bottom of the seventh inning.
St. Thomas compiled a 13-3-1 season before the provincial tournament.
More images on Instagram: hometownplay