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Teeswater captures provincial midget softball crown; Napanee ousted early

July 27, 2014

It was a painfully short tournament for the home team this weekend at the Softball Ontario midget A championship in Napanee.

With a berth already assured in the Canadian championship, the Napanee Express was finished after just three games of the three-day provincial event, eliminated after losing 11-10 to Grand Valley early Saturday.

Teeswater won the Ontario title Sunday afternoon at the Fairgrounds, beating Port Perry 2-1 in nine (two extra) innings.

Matt Wardrop’s one-out single, in the bottom of the ninth, a bloop that landed just behind third base, scored Tyler Stacey from third base with the winning run. Stacey led off the inning by reaching on an error.

Wardrop gained the pitching win, allowing just five hits while striking out 14.

Teeswater, a town in the Bruce Peninsula about 60 kilometres northeast of Goderich, was undefeated in four games, with wins of 6-2 over Baden, 7-1 over Napanee and 9-1 over Port Perry, Saturday night in the game between the last two undefeated teams at the eight-team tournament.

After losing to Teeswater the first time, Port Perry earned a return engagement Sunday morning with an 11-7 win over Tavistock.

All Napanee could do by that point was watch.

The Express opened in impressive fashion, whipping Chatsworth 15-0 in a game shortened to five innings by the mercy rule. Then followed the defeat against Teeswater and, finally, elimination by Grand Valley.

After three scoreless innings in the tournament opener, Napanee scored four times in the fourth inning against Chatsworth and then 11 runs in the top of the fifth, an inning in which the Express sent 16 men to the plate.

Pinch-hitter Jordan Hunter had a pair of singles that inning, scoring twice and driving in two runs. Wyatt Fenwick capped a 4-for-4 game with a two-run double in the fifth.

Brandon Tucker also had four hits and he drove in four runs for Napanee, which got three base-hits from Haaken Zatterberg. Alex Douglas and Hunter combined to throw a two-hitter and strike out eight.

Napanee’s first batter against Teeswater, Blake Hurley, was hit by a pitch and he scored the game’s first run on a two-out single by Marcus Rice. The score stayed that way until the top of the fifth, when Teeswater scored five runs — all with two out.

Napanee pitcher Kyle Ainsley deserved a better fate, after allowing just one hit and striking out six through the first four innings, but Teeswater’s first batter in the fifth reached on an error. Two were out when six straight Teeswater batters reached base to turn the game into a rout.

Trent Bell’s two-run single was the decisive blow for the eventual tournament champions.

Wardrop silenced Napanee on just two hits — both by Rice. He struck out 16.

In what would prove to be Napanee’s final game, four runs in the top of the third put Grand Valley ahead 6-0 and after a three-run fifth, the Express trailed 9-2 before beginning to rally.

Two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings sent the Express into the bottom of the seventh trailing 11-6 before a dramatic rally made the game close.

Douglas led off with a single and one out later he scored on a double by Zack McCormick. Fenwick followed with an RBI single and after a single by Hurley, a two-out, two-run double by Tucker brought the Express within a run with the tying run in scoring position.

That’s where Tucker stayed, however, as Keegan Scott was retired on an infield pop-up.

Tucker finished the game with four hits, including a pair of doubles, while Rice and McCormick each had three in a 17-hit Napanee attack. Rice took the pitching defeat, as Grand Valley collected 16 hits.

Napanee will be one of four Ontario teams at the national championship tournament, Aug. 5-11 in Gander, NL.

 

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