McGibbon leads Niagara County to Div III WS

* 3B Russell McGibbon (Pickering, Ont.) was the Niagara County Thunder Wolves MVP leading a cadre of Canadians to Tyler, Tex. and the NJCAA Div. III World Series. .... 2013 Top Canadians eligible for draft 2013 Canadians in the Minors  2013 Canadians in College  Letters of Intent 2012-13 Canadians at Canadian schools 


By Bob Elliott

Third baseman Russell McGibbon hits seventh in the Niagara County Thunder Wolves lineup.

Usually the most dangerous hitter can be found in the No. 3 spot -- he always gets to hit in the first inning -- or the clean-up spot.

Yet, for Niagara County Thunder Wolves the No. 7 spot is where the thunder lies.

McGibbon (Pickering, Ont.) earned MVP honours as Niagara County won the District A/Region 3 championship in Little Falls, N.Y. advancing to the NJCAA Division III World Series at Mike Carter Field in Tyler, Tex.

McGibbon was 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs in the opener an 8-3 win over the Erie Kats. Kyle Craig (Richmond, Ont.) also added a solo homer.

SS Chris Beer (Burlington, Ont.) added a single.

Next, NCCC needed 11 innings to beat Herkimer County 10-5.

Beer had a pair of hits, including a double, knocking in three runs while McGibbon has two hits and drove in a run. Craig added a single.

McGibbon was the man again with a pair of hits and two RBIs in a 5-1 win over Erie -- its eighth straight win -- advancing to Tyler for the third time in six years.

Craig singled and stole a base.

McGinnon hit .538 (7-for-13) with six RBIs for the tourney while Beer hit .272 (3-for-11) with two doubles and three RBIs, as Craig hit .188 (3-for-16).

Craig joined McGibbon on the all-tournament team.

So eight Canucks are off to Tyler and the nationals. In all, 35 Canadians began the season hoping to reach Texas.

A year ago Niagara County and coach Matt Clingersmith was a few outs away from winning the national championship.

On the season ... McGibbon, the former Ontario Prospects infielder, batted .438 with eight doubles, five triples, two homers and 38 RBIs in 38 games. Beer hit .333 with eight doubles, two triples and 30 RBIs in 44 games. Craig hit .306 with 10 doubles, three triples, two homers and 37 RBIs in 50 games. James Audian (Montreal North, Que.) batted .136 with three RBIs in 15 games.

McGibbon was a first-team all-region selection, while Craig was named to the second team.

On the mound ... Brendan Saville (Ottawa, Ont.) was 2-0 with a save and a 2.05 ERA. He walked 16 and struck out 24 in 22 innings. Cam Hall (Fort Erie, Ont.) was 2-3 with one save and a 5.40 ERA. He walked three and struck otu 13 in 15 innings. Jacob Murphy (Toronto, Ont.) had a 1.80 ERA striking out three in five innings.  Beer was 0-2 with two saves and a 7,71 ERA, walking five and striking out three in seven innings. Taylor Larkin (Morell, PEI) pitched three innings and has a 12.00 ERA, walking two and striking out two in three innings.

The other schools to qualify are the Montgomery Raptors, Century Wood Ducks, Gloucester County Road Runners, Waubonsee Chiefs, Brookhaven Bears, Nassau County and Northern Essex Knights