Stratford launches their 2018 Season Ticket drive today

The group trying to return the Statford Hillers back to the Intercounty Baseball League officially launched their 2018 season ticket drive earlier this morning via their facebook page. hillers-season

To our knowledge, the Intercounty has not approved their franchise application as of yet  so this may be an effort to show the league they are serious about returning a la Las Vegas Knights season ticket drive last year before formally being awarded a franchise by the NHL.

The Hillers group  are also selling the IBL Road pass separately from the season ticket pass which is normally included in the pricing of a season pass in  the other 7 IBL cities (Toronto does not charge admission so it does not offer the Road Pass Program)

No payment is required until January 2018  and they can be purchased via email  at stratfordhillers@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

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Intercounty welcomes new owners for 2017

 

sale

The calendar reads December 1st,  and there is baseball news to report (Sorry it’s not Edwin re-signing with the Jays or taking the money and the tax break in Houston)

According to anonymous sources and pending league approval by the board of directors there are two new owners in Brantford and in Burlington.

 

 

 

 

 

Baycats sweep away the Maple Leafs for 3rd straight championship

When you are either leading or tied  in the seventh inning of four games in a championship series , odds are you probably win more times than you lose.

The odds clearly were in favor of the Barrie Baycats all series along as for the fourth consecutive time in the series they took the lead late to sweep the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-5 Sunday afternoon at Dominico Field to claim their third consecutive Intercounty Baseball League championship.

The Baycats answered the Maple Leafs at every turn in the series and Sunday was no exception as whenever the Leafs would rally to tie the Baycats would dig in again to re-take the lead.

As was the case in the top of the seventh inning after the Maple Leafs had tied the ball game at 4-4 on a single by Connor Lewis in the bottom of the sixth.

Glenn Jackson reached first on a fielder’s choice and stole second. Kyle Degrace had an  at bat that seemed to take an eternity as he fouled off a ball off of his leg and had to walk it off before play resumed.  DeGrace pushed through the pain and collected  a single  to cash in Jackson  He later scored on a two out two-run  homer run by Jordan Castaldo to make it at 7-4 Baycats lead.

Dan Marra singled home his third run of the ball game to make it 7-5 but that is as close as the Leafs could get as Emilis Guerrero refused to lose and pitched the complete game for the victory

Guerrero who took home the playoff MVP award allowed five runs (four earned) on 16 hits he didn’t allow a walk and had four strikeouts.

Brett van Pelt started for the Leafs  and pitched six complete innings allowing four runs (all earned) on five hits and a walk.

Mike  Wagner took the loss in relief allowing three runs on four hits and struck-out three.

Castaldo had a pair of homer for the Baycats and finished with three RBIs.  Kyle Nichols added a solo homer in the sixth inning

Lewis singled twice , and homered  while driving  two RBIs for the Leafs

Dan Marra had three singles and three  RBIs,  while Sean Mattson went 3-for-5 with a run.

The Maple Leafs played the majority of their post season run shorthanded with their manager, Damon Topolie as the lone defensive replacement on the bench and a bullpen comprised mostly of starter pitchers outside of Adam Garner and Jonathan Solazzo coming in on an emergency basis twice in the playoffs.

For the Baycats their third consecutive championship celebration was truly a family affair as number of players wives and their children were in attendance cheering on their Baycats.

 

 

 

 

 

IBL Announces it’s year End Awards

From IBL Media Relations     NOTE:  I had made my picks prior to the opening round in this post in case you wanted to compare.   https://obgbaseball.wordpress.com/2016/08/03/ibl-all-stars-if-i-picked-them/

 

Tanner Nivins led the Intercounty Baseball League’s most prolific offence during the regular season, and now he’s the league’s Most Valuable Player.
The Kitchener Panthers centre-fielder edged Toronto’s Justin Marra for the award in a year-end vote released Thursday.

Nivins finished with 23 points, while Marra had 21. Hamilton’s Dre Celestijn, the IBL batting champion, finished third with eight points.
Rookie of the Year voting was also announced, and Barrie’s Conner Morro was the unanimous choice with 35 points. Burlington’s Christian Hauck and London’s RJ Fuhr tied for second with nine points apiece.

Each team has one ballot submitted by their general manager or field manager. Kitchener’s Sean Reilly won in 2015.

Nivins led the IBL with 17 home runs and scored 50 times atop a Panthers lineup that produced a league best 349 runs. His .432 average, .494 OBP, 1.288 OPS, and 40 RBI were all top seven in the league.

Marra hit .328 in 2016 with 16 home runs, 43 RBI, .442 OBP, and 1.176 OPS, while Celestijn batted .450 with four home runs, 26 RBI, .516 OBP and 1.222 OPS.

John Bell Memorial Trophy (MVP)
1. Tanner Nivins (Kitchener) 23 points
2. Justin Marra (Toronto) 21 points
3. Dre Celestijn (Hamilton) 8 points

Brian Kerr Memorial Trophy (Rookie of the Year)
1. Conner Morro (Barrie) 35 points
2. Christian Hauck (Burlington) 9 points
3. RJ Fuhr (London) 9 points

The IBL also announced its All-Star rosters.
First All-Star Team
C-Justin Marra (Toronto) 30 pts
1B-Justin Interisano (Kitchener) 26 pts
2B-Benjamin Bostick (Brantford) 29 pts
3B-Kevin Atkinson (Barrie) 30 pts
SS-Mike Glinka (Kitchener) 22 pts
OF-Tanner Nivins (Kitchener) 35 pts
OF-Dre Celestijn (Hamilton) 31 pts
OF-Jon Waltenbury (Toronto) 28 pts
DH-Sean Reilly (Kitchener) 33 pts
RHP-Nathan Forer (Brantford) 30 pts
LHP-Ian Rendon (Kitchener) 30 pts
Manager-Roop Chanderdat (London) 15 pts

Second All-Star Team
C-Frank Camilo Morejon (Kitchener) 9 pts
1B-Jordan Castaldo (Barrie) 24 pts
2B-Conner Morro (Barrie) 22 pts
3B-David Whiteside (Kitchener) 9 pts
SS-Ryan White (Toronto) 18 pts
OF-Ryan Spataro (Barrie) 27 pts
OF-Justin Gideon (Burlington) 22 pts
OF-Byron Reichstein (London) 22 pts
DH-Dan Jagdeo (Brantford) 20 pts
RHP-Emilis Guerrero (Barrie) 17 pts
LHP-Tanner Guindon (Brantford) 22 pts
Manager-Angus Roy (Barrie) 14 pts

Leafs 9th inning comeback stuns Majors

Baseball can be a cruel mistress sometimes and she loves to break people’s hearts.

Sunday night at Labatt Park in London, She ripped the heart out of the London Majors and left it torn in a crumpled mess.

The Majors were two outs away from advancing to the Intercounty Baseball League final leading 5-4 until  the Toronto  Maple Leafs pulled off another one of their trademark late inning comebacks to end the Majors season taking the seventh and deciding game of the semi-finals 10-6.

The Majors built up an early 5-1 lead in the contest in front of a pack house of their fans and had chased Leafs starter Brett van Pelt from the ball game early.  But couldn’t get any insurance runs off Justin Cicatello as he was in top form and held the Majors at bay as the Leafs began showing signs of life.

The Leafs made it 5-4 in the 8th but Ellis Jimenez worked his magic and got out of the jam in the inning to move the Majors to within three outs of advancing to the next round.

The packed house could feel the excitement building at the Leafs came to bat in the 9th inning.   Dan Marra lead of the top of the 9th with a single  off Jimenez who uncorked a wild pitch which allowed Marra to move up 90 feet but  then got Brendan Keys to pop-out to third for the first out of the inning and things where well in hand.

Or so the Labatt faithful thought.

Connor Lewis blasted a laser off Jimenez for a double into right field to tie the game 5-5 and that spelled the end for Jimenez’ night at 135 pitches and the go ahead run standing at second base.

In came Cory Hammond who to this point this season had ice water running through his veins when it came to big games and even bigger situations.

Grant Tamane un-phased by this,  took Hammond’s second offering deep off the light standard in left and the crowd in London went silently into shock as Tamane rounded the bases and was mobbed at home plate by his euphoric teammates and the handful of Leafs supporters cheering loudly in the stands.

“We waited a whole long year for a second chance at this” said Tamane who’s Maple Leafs lost a seventh game heart-breaker of their own in last year’s semi-finals to the Barrie Baycats.

The Leafs weren’t done either as they scored six in the fateful top of the ninth inning to make it 10-5  and pretty much left the Majors and the crowd a state of shock.

 This instantly brought back nightmares to this blogger of  the front  row seat I had from the third base dugout in Stratford’s infamous 9th inning comeback in game 7 of the 1994 finals.  

Down by a lot and yet they found a way to turn the tides and won the championship stunning the Guelph Royals in their own park.  To cap off the nightmare there’s to this day nothing more demeaning than watching a grown man urinate all over home plate in celebration. 

The Majors to their credit regrouped the best they could and scored an unearned run in the bottom of the frame thanks to a pair of errors by the Leafs and could have had more if not for a heroic catch by Lewis in center-field to end the ball game and the Majors season.

The Majors who rattled off 14 wins in a row to finish at top of the IBL standings were left on the outside looking in as the Leafs congratulated each other before lining up to shake hands as is custom in after a long playoff series.

The shock apparently still hasn’t left the Majors social media as not a tweet had been sent or liked since the 8th inning of the ballgame.

The end of the season also marks the end of one of the classiest guys in the league’s careers and with that I pause the story to wish Cleveland Brownlee my congratulations and thanks for always having a smile or laughing on and off the field no matter what.   You’ll be missed you Gentle Giant.

The battle tested Maple Leafs have now played 14 games in the playoffs and will face the well rested two time defending champions the Barrie Baycats.  With so many Baycats calling Toronto home its certain to feel like a homecoming to them.

The Schedule is yet to be released but will be posted soon as its made public.

 

 

 

Leafs force Game Seven with Majors Blow Out 

In an Ironic twist Saturday night’s movie at the Christie Film Festival was the Hitchcock classic Psycho. 
The Maple Leafs on the other end of park were creating a massacre of their own as they pounded the London Majors 16-4 to force a seventh and deciding game in London Sunday night. 

The Majors struck first of a run in the top of the first inning before the Leafs answered back with an eight run bottom of the second inning ignited by a grand slam by Justin Marra. 

The Leafs scored all their runs in the multiples of fours, adding four in the fifth and rounded out their scoring with four more in the eighth capped by a three run homer by Grant Tamane. 

The Leafs pounded out 16 hits including four from Jon Waltenbury and three from Jonathan Solazzo who had a pair of doubles and drove in two RBIs

RJ Fuhr had a triple and a double, scoring twice and had an RBI to lead the Majors 

Mike Wagner got the win for the Leafs pitching six and two thirds allowing three runs (all earned) on 11 hits. He issued three walks and struck out seven

Owen Boon took the loss for the Majors he lasted just an inning and two thirds. He allowed eight runs (only two earned) on eight hits , a walk and had a strike out 

Game Seven goes Sunday night at Labatt Park in London at 7:00 p.m. The winner will face the Barrie Baycats for the championship

More Fallout from Game Four 

Last night in London according to several spectators in attendance, the Labatt Memorial Public Address Announcer did not refer to the Toronto Maple Leafs ball club by name at all through out the course of the ball game. 

He simply referred them the visiting team. 

No word from the IBL on this or if there is a fine pending to the Majors for doing so. 

Game Six goes this evening in Toronto at 7:30 p.m.  with the Majors holding a 3-2 series lead after last night’s 7-5 victory