Port Dover Midget Sailors Sponsored by “Carstar Simcoe” wins
Inter County Baseball Association Championship and slams all comers
Port Dover Sailors entered the 2013 Inter County Baseball league being the defending 2012 Champions but not only did they win the Championship but also the League Pennant being the leading team with 22 wins and 6 losses.
Friday August 16th 2013 was the culmination of their season where the Champions were to be determined in a hard fought gruelling schedule over the weekend which would lead to Port Dover having to play over 6 hours of baseball in one day. The team had worked so hard during the season, so this was a huge challenge to keep focus and determination throughout the eventual 5 games they were to play.
First up was Centre Wellington at 6pm on the Friday. You could tell how much it meant to our team you could see the tension in their play however in the first innings we scored two runs but allow them 4 runs in the second. The boys gritted their teeth and wore Centre Wellington down eventually winning under the mercy rule 14 to 4 with 12 hits. Runs scored by Brent Tschirhart, Skylar Johnson, Brett Pond, Tanner VanZon, Austin Lamb, Josh Townsend and Garret Walker. Pitching by Brent Tschirhart (96) and Tanner Vanzon (15).
All games on the Saturday were back to back with no time limits at 9am, 12:30pm and 3:30pm.
That was the nervous one over with, the team travelled home and returned for a 9am start on Saturday morning against Woodstock this team playing over 500 ball in the season. Once the cobwebs had been wiped from the eyes it was game on. Another 12 hits by Port Dover brought in 6 runs and Pitching by Josh Townsend (65) and Dawson Heron (15) held Woodstock to no score so a win to Port Dover 6 – 0.
Next up was Guelph we had just heard that they had a grand slam walk off home run to beat their last opposition to meet us in this game. We know their bats are hot and have been all season, so tighten up that defence and wear them down. The first two innings was a pitching battle to see whose bats were going to work out the pitcher. It took until the third innings before Port Dover opened the scoring getting 2 in the third, one in the fourth, and 6 runs in the sixth. The Sailors defence was tight preventing Guelph from scoring giving a final score to Port Dover of 9 – 0. Pitching Brett Pond (68) and Logan Stanley (31).
The final game of the day was to start within the hour against the Simcoe Giants. This team has got some good ball players with bats to match. There was a strong team talk before this game as Simcoe’s tournament journey so far was impressive. Again the Sailors pitching held strong throughout the game holding Simcoe to just 3 runs however Port Dover was on fire with their bats with 14 hits bringing in 14 runs for a mercy in the fifth. Pitching by Austin Lamb (63) and Tanner Vanzon (8).
Now the final had been determined, a 9am start on Sunday August 18th between the undefeated Port Dover and Guelph Royals who were seeking vengeance for their last loss.
Well its Sunday, a little cool and some cloud, no wind but warming up. The Guelph supporters and team were up for this with a lot of chatter and screams of support. They knew they had to beat us twice today to win the Championship and they were going all out to win this first game, however Port Dover only needed one win.
The game excitement was intense and another pitcher battle ensued. The Guelph pitcher threw hard and mixed up his speeds well keeping Port Dover off balance early.
The coin toss is won by Port Dover and coach Adam Mummery chooses to be the visiting team and try and get his team bats going early.
Wow what a screamer from the Guelph pitcher, strike 1, then a ball and then Brent Tschirhart gets hold of one but only to fly out to the left fielder. Next up Skylar Johnson – wow this pitcher is difficult to get hold of, another fly out to the third baseman. Next up Brett Pond who gets on base on an error by the first baseman – it looks like Guelph is also feeling the pressure. Brett gets third before Larry Hopper flies out to the left fielder. Some of these hits are getting very close to the fence.
Guelph up to bat and get two on, but Port Dover hang tight and get two ground outs and catch one stealing.
First innings over and what a noise from the crowd. This looks like a tight one.
Port Dover up and Tanner Vanzon to start he hits a line drive for a single, this is followed by a fly out and a ground out which moves Tanner onto third base. Up steps Austin Lamb who sends a screamer across the ground that breaches the infield - first run to Port Dover.
Up to bat is Garret Walker who hits but Austin is forced out at second. Brett Pond pitched a 3 up 3 down bottom of the second to get the Sailors back up to bat.
Port Dover in the third a hit and two walks but no runs and a similar story for Guelph with the Sailors defence continuing to hold strong.
Into the fourth inning of a close game – Josh Townsend gets a walk and advances after Mac Mitchell gets on by a Guelph throwing error. Austin Lamb lays down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runners along. Guelph moves in their infield to cut down any more runs and Garret Walker hits a sharp ground ball to second and Josh Townsend was going on the pitch slides into home safely under the tag of the Guelph catcher to send the Sailors up 2-0.
In the Guelph bottom of fourth two runs are pushed across and the game is tied up. Well the noise is getting unbearable; there are screams of support coming from both sets of supporters.
Top of the fifth and there seems to be a bit more grit about Port Dover, no more Mr Nice Guy these bats are going to fly. The first pitch of the inning is sent over the second baseman for a leadoff single by Skylar Johnson. The next pitch of the inning is hit to exactly the same place and Port Dover singles on the first two pitches of the inning.
The stage is now set in the top of the 5th; Port Dover has two on and nobody out in a tie game and need to score here to stop the momentum from Guelph. Up steps Larry Hopper – the count is 2-0 ,and the next pitch comes in and what a crack of the bat, he gets hold of this one up toward centre field, its going, its going, it’s over the fence, what a hit, the crowd goes wild their all on their feet as three runs are walked in bringing the score to Port Dover 5 and Guelph 2. That took the steam out of Guelph, but the inning is not over yet. Josh Townsend battles through for another walk, Mac Mitchell on with an error by the first baseman, and Austin Lamb on with a single all of whom score. In total Port Dover pushes across 7 runs in the 5th inning to go up 9-2. That inning was a game changer without a doubt, but no room for complacency the Sailors need to knuckle down and finish this, Guelph has great bats and it is only our defence that is holding them.
Guelph comes back with a pair of runs in the fifth to close the gap to 9-4.
In the sixth inning neither Guelph nor Port Dover was able to get anything going offensively.
Port Dover doesn’t score in the top of the seventh and head to the bottom of the 7th with a 5 run lead and a chance to close out the championship.
The first batter is walked and then the second. Now time for a change and in comes Tanner Vanzon to close the game out.
Strike 1, Foul ball, ball, ball, and strike the batsman strikes out looking an impressive start for young Tanner.
Guelph are battling at the plate, and moving players around. Strike 1, foul, foul, foul, this is looking good but unfortunately the batter is hit loading up the bases.
Next batter – strike 1 and then a hit straight up for an infield fly out. Two out the nerves are jangling. The next batter is walked, and Guelph gets one run back. These Guelph batters are battling for their lives, are they going to get back into the game?
The Sailors are up 4 with the bases loaded and two out, the count is 2-2 and the batter sends a shot up the middle, fielded by Skylar Johnson and flipped to Brett Pond at second base to close out the game and send the Port Dover Sailors home champions once again.
Pitching Brett Pond (56), Dawson Heron (65), Tanner Vanzon (22)
What a magnificent game of ball all the tension and elation of the win.
Brian McCormack our Bantam AP player helped out throughout Saturday and Sunday games warming up all our pitchers, a great service to the team.
Well done Port Dover Inter County Champions. Port Dover will now head to Corruna this weekend to take part in the OBA’s and search for that much coveted Ontario Championship!