*St. Thomas Tomcats catcher Derrik Strzalkowski hit the second pitch he saw over the right field fence for a 10-8 walk-off victory over Etobicoke to win the junior eliminations in one of the wildest finishes ever.
St. Thomas, Windsor, North York, London win OBA eliminations, Mississauga North, Mississauga Southwest also advance to nationals later this month
By Bob Elliott
Every once in a while there is so much drama that baseball men shake their head.
Like broadcaster Jack Buck when a one-legged Kirk Gibson hit a pinch hit homer off Dennis Eckersley ... “I don’t believe WHAT I just saw,” were the words out of Buck’s mouth when Gibson homered in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series at Dodger Stadium.
And then there the semi-finals of Baseball Ontario junior eliminations at Emslie Field at Pinafore Park in St. Thomas.
After leading the Etobicoke Rangers 5-1, Etobicoke owned an 8-7 lead with two out in the bottom of the seventh and Paul Lytwynec on second.
Mitch Roy hit a roller down the first base line. Etobicoke’s Brett Sanders fielded the ball applied the tag and the first base ump signalled out as the Rangers celebrated near the mound.
Not so fast.
The ball had become dislodged and was spotted rolling into right field and the Tomcats argued.
After a 10 minute delay, Roy was safe and Lytwynec at third.
Tomcats catcher Derrik Strzalkowski hit the second pitch over the right field fence for the dramatic 10-8 walk-off victory.
Arguing continued after the homer, the four umps headed to their locker room and police were called.
“They were still winning with two outs and had every opportunity to end that game, our guy came out on top,” coach Trevor Greenaway told the St. Thomas Times-Journal. “Was it ideal? Absolutely not. Obviously I wish it had gone differently, but if it had gone differently and he’d have called him safe we would have tied it because the run would have scored. In theory, Derrik still hits a bomb and we still win so, ultimately, the outcome would have been the same, though far less dramatic.”
Down to their final strike the Mississauga North Tigers had the right man at the plate as Michael Cardinale, who pulled a 3-2 pitch to right for a two-run homer and a 6-5 win over the Whitby Chiefs and then he caught the ball for the final out.
Both St. Thomas and Mississauga North will compete at the Baseball Canada junior championships in Windsor Aug. 18-22.
Brent Greenway pitched a complete game to beat Mississauga North 5-2 in the final, as right fielder Mac Harrison hit a two-run home run.
St. Thomas lost the opener to Mississauga North and then bested Brantford 11-2, High Park 6-0, Kitchener 6-0 and Mississauga North 4-0.
Mississauga North, coached by Gino Campoli, edged St. Thomas 11-10 in the opener in 10 innings of play, beat Stratford 13-2, Whitby 3-1, Etobicoke 13-2 and then was blanked 4-0 by St. Thomas.
The other scores saw Newmarket beat Brampton 8-1, Etobicoke blank Kitchener 9-0, East York beat Pickering 6-1, Leaside knock off Oakville 8-2, Thornhill edge Wyoming 4-3, Tecumseh nip High Park 6-4, Whitby thump Southwest London 15-2 and Stratford edge Brantford 4-2 in first round games.
Day II saw Kitchener squeeze past Pickering 3-1, Oakville blank Wyoming 8-, High Park humble Southwest London 12-2, Etobicoke shut out East York 2-0, Leaside edge Thornhill 9-8, Whitby squeak past Tecumnseh 3-2, Brampton knock off Oakville 7-5, East York triumph over Thornhill 11-4, Stratford edge Tecumseh 7-6 and Leaside beat Newmarket 7-2.
Day III saw Kitchener get past Brampton 4-3, Stratford double East York 4-2, Whitby beat Newmarket 13-1, Etobicoke edge rival Leaside 7-6, Whitby edge Leaside 4-3 and Etobicoke get by Stratford 4-2.
Seniors: Windsor Stars third baseman Andrew Masojc singled home the tie-breaking room to beat the Mississauga Southwest Twins 6-5 in the senior eliminations at Cullen Field.
The Twins tied the game with two runs in the top half, then Brian Simone hit a leadf-off triple and scored on the Masojc single.
Both Windsor and Mississauga Southwest are off to the nationals Aug. 25-29 in Maramichi, N.B.
Matt Rustulka gained the win as Windsor won its fourth straight Ontario title.
Anthony Fantauzzi and John Broll, Jr. each had a pair of hits for the Twins. Jamie Smith, Brendan Emmett, Chris Piccini and Jerome Smith all singled, while Ian Campbell had an RBI-double.
Adam Banski and Andrew Foster pitched for the Twins.
Jordan Petruska worked six innings and Eric Ventura closed as the Twins edged Windsor AA 4-2 to gain the second berth. Piccini hit two triples, while Andrew Dos Santos singled in a run. Smith, Broll and Campbel each singled.
Both teams head to Miramichi, N.B. That’s the good news. The bad news: the Twins trip is only partially funded. Robert Kulchyk, who runs the Twins (firstname.lastname@example.org) is looking for financial help.
The Twins, who won the national midget title in 1996, moved up to senior from junior and are a second-year senior team. Unfortunately there are not any former alumni to ask for help.
Baseball Canada funds all of Ontario 1’s costs, they only contribute $2,000 towards a $4,000 accommodation cost for Ontario 2 so corporate sponsors are needed to cover the balance of the costs totalling approximately an additional $10,000
The Stars beat Glencoe 3-2 win, Oakville 2-0, Peterborough 6-1, Markham 12-0, Lakeside 5-1 and Newmarket 6-0.
The Twins’ road to New Brunswick began with a 7-6 to Ilderton, despite a triple and single from Emmett, as Piccini hit a solo homer, as Dos Santos doubled, while Fantauzzi singled in a pair of runs. Ventura and Foster pitched.
Next came 12-1 and 17-9 wins against Thornhill, then a 9-0 win over Leaside and a 3-1 win against Markham,
Against Thornhill in the first meeting, Mathew Dekundy pitched the Twins to victory. Fantauzzi had four hits, including a pair of doubles, while Emmett had three singles.
Smith doubled and singled. Piccini had a pair of singles while Stephan Kulchyk and Mike Cantwell each doubled.
Banski pitched the second win over Thornhill as he benefitted from three singles from Dos Santos, Campbell and Fantauzzi, a triple and a single from Jamie Smith, Kulchyk’s first homer, doubles by Jerome Smith, Piccini with a double and an Andrew Salmon homer.
Byrnes then turned around a pitched a four-hitter to beat Markham as Salmon singled twice and Fantauzzi doubled.
Bantam: David DeLazzari and Gareth Morgan had singles in the three-run fifth as the North York Blues rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Georgetown Eagles 6-3 at Clarkson Park in Mississauga.
Jason Rhynold pitched five innings for the win, then Batista worked 1 1/3, before Ellis Gerussi-Turner retired the final hitter with the bases loaded in the seventh.
Georgetown had a 3-0 lead in the second thanks to a Whitey Koskinen single, a stolen base and an error.
North York scored twice in the second and tied the game on an unearned run in the fourth.
After two walks and a bunt in the fifth, Daniel Novielli knocked in the tie-breaking run.
Adrian Stellato had two hits for Georgetown.
North York reached the final by beating Brampton 7-2 with five runs in the sixth.
The Eagles reached the final thanks to five runs in the bottom of the seventh to beat West Toronto 10-9 and three to edge La Salle 15-14. Stellato had walk-off doubles to win both.
Georgetown handed North York a 4-1 defeat with Robert Byckowski pitching 4 1/3 innings and Mark Sinclair getting the final five outs. Koskinen and Connor Russell each singled in runs, while Jared Walsh tripled in a run.
Midget: The London Badgers blanked the Hamilton Cardinals 2-0 in Sarnia as the Badgers head to the nationals for the third straight year. This time Mike Lumley’s team heads to Regina, Sask.
The Badgers opened with a 7-1 win over the Hamilton Cardinals, beat Brampton 18-1, the Tecumseh Thunder 6-4 and then dropped a 3-0 decision to Hamilton.
London reounded with a 10-3 win over East York to get back to the final.
The Badgers and Hamilton were meeting for third time in the tournament, when Jeff Prouse got his second win.
Taylor Carr got the victory in the semi-final win over East York and contributed key hits along the way to trigger the offence. He’s making his third consecutive trip to the nationals.
Tim Black of the Cardinals who pitched in the championship game at last year’s nationals for the Tecumseh Thunder will make the trip to Regina.
Terrier win: Aaron Bain pitched a complete game win as the Ontario Terriers beat Full Count Baseball (NJ) 12-2 in the final of the Sportzone Invitational in Rome, N.Y.
Brian Doran was 4-5 in the final, while David Head had two hits, including a two run homer, Nathan DeSouza was 3-for-4 with four RBIs and Steven Jannetta had two hits.