Here are some short previews on each team entering the 2017 Lakeside Tournament.. Tecumseh Thunder are the defending Champs.
The Leafs have added some Jr graduates this season, including Noah Koffman who has been solid thus far. They are floating around .500 in the GTBL this season, and like most teams, pitching will be the story of their weekend. They do have a favourable draw to start the tournament, with two games they should probably win.
The Red Sox sit atop the GTBL standings at 10-5, and can feature a deep offensive lineup. Word is they may be a bit shorthanded this weekend, especially in the outfield. We should see them play some close games this weekend.
The Lizards are 0-10 in Southwestern League play this season, the pitching and offensive depth just isn’t there anymore. They will have their hands full with Milton, Leaside, and Erindale.
The 9-7 Red Sox currently find themselves in 1st place of the Johnson Division in COBA. They had a pretty rough start to the season losing their first three games pretty handily but have been able to right the ship over the past few weeks. They have had the odd blip on the radar but have now been settling into more of a consistent style of play. The offense is lead by Matt Lahn and Kevin Greer, and will look to Ian Zettle as their go to guy on the mound.
The Erindale Cardinals have made some big strides since last season, and have come out hot this season winning their first five games in a row and five of their last nine contests. They carry a very solid 11-5 record into this tournament, and are always a threat to get into Sunday with an offense lead by Chris Novia who’s hitting over .400 with great power numbers as usual.
The Vikings are a strong AA Club who are capable of competing at Elims, and have started 11-1-1 in the OSBA this season. They beat Martingrove in game 1 of their tournament earlier in June before being rained out for the weekend. Leaside, Milton and Erindale isn’t the easiest of draws, but one they may be able to navigate to be in the mix for a Sunday spot.
Niagara is currently 7-10 in COBA this season, the Senior Elims semi-finalist from last season has had some ups and downs so far this year and have struggled to be the consistent force they are used to being overall. With a solid trio of starting arms in Ayles, Perego, and Strong and a still solid line-up, they can still break out if given the opportunity to do so, especially if veterans Grant, Ferri, and Davidson get hot.
The 2016 National Finalists brought just about everyone back from last seasons club, and have added more arms to an already deep pitching staff. Having the Royals join the Lakeside tournament makes an already deep tournament even stronger, and they now face Mississauga for the first time since their walk off win over the Twins in the final 4 at Eliminations last season.
Jordan Townshend, Mitch Lumley, and Leo Labine will likely go in the first three games, who will all need to be sharp as the Red Army likely have the toughest draw in the tournament. New additions in the starting lineup include Andrew Warner and Brad Hill (moved back to London after a few seasons with Oakville). Hayden Woodley, Brandon Banaschewski, and Rob Wakefield all remain and anchor the middle of the lineup.
The Thunder are 16-8 in Can Am League play this season, but as always with the contenders, tournaments are the gauge. Tecumseh enters the Lakeside tournament as defending champs, as their starting pitching tore through this tournament last season. Paul Lamantia and Ryan LaPensee are now gone from the middle of their lineup, but as always they fill any gaps with talented players.
Martingrove has improved on paper this year, and are playing more close games against some strong GTBL clubs. Unfortunately their draw didn’t do them any favours, as they get the final three teams from last years Eliminations in Tecumseh, Strathroy, and Niagara. Rookie Matt Peluso is leading the GTBL in Home Runs, but it’s hard to see the White Sox scratching out a W this weekend with the schedule they have.
The Bulldogs might be travelling light this weekend, especially in the pitching department. With that being said, EY should still have Gallo going on Friday night and have found themselves in a favourable group. They should be 1 of 2 teams to emerge from the “Red” group if they can get past St Thomas Jr on Friday night.
The Orioles won the 2016 Essex County League, and are 11-1 in League play this season. They competed at B OBAs last season, but could be in tough as they don’t see the level of competition that the rest of this field does.
St Thomas Jr
The Tomcats put out a 21U Roster every season that can compete with most Senior teams in the province, this year is no different. First year Junior aged arms Michael Mommersteeg, Travis Keys, and Alex Lamont can all win games for the Tomcats. They have been deep into Sunday at this tournament before, but must somehow get past East York and Sarnia first.
The Braves are on fire this season, they have started 14-0 in Southwestern League play with 4 of those wins coming against Ilderton and Strathroy. They avoid East York within their pool, and if they take care of business can grab a bye into the Semi’s. Last years addition of Julian Service has really solidified their lineup, but it will be their rotation of Shephard, Baljeu, Damchuk, and Babula that will make or break their weekend.
Oakville has been struggling a bit this season, as they have lost a big part of their roster in 2017 and have a 2-14-1 record in a tough COBA Major Sr League. The A’s are lead by Thomas Biskup and Julian Richards offensively, and are certainly capable of stealing a few wins and getting themselves into Sunday.
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