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LISTOWEL – The Listowel Legionnaires are Ontario Baseball Association peewee champions.
For lots of parents, families, friends and players, that has a wonderful ring to it. The Legionnaires capped off a great weekend by beating a very good Corunna team 7-6 in the championship game, capturing the OBA peewee ‘D’ crown.
The tournament was hosted in Listowel at the Jacksonville Park and Kin Park diamonds Aug. 31-Sept. 2.
The weekend started with a game against Essex on Friday afternoon. The young men seemed a little nervous in the first inning, but led by starter Will Calder they settled down quickly. Calder pitched great, actually coming within an out of pitching a complete game, while the offence was a total team contribution as all starters had at least one hit.
Lucas Jamieson, Reid Gooding, Nic O’Grady, Tyson Meyer and Michael Uptigrove all had three hits apiece en route to a 14-4 victory.
Game two pitted the Legionnaires against Wyoming, and the game was all Listowel from the start as the local lads scored often, eventually mercying Wyoming 18-0 in just three innings. Ethan Cook started the game and was very economical with his pitches, throwing only 27 over the three innings, and again offensively it was a team effort as they pounded out 14 hits.
Jamieson, Gooding, Meyer, O’Grady and Alex Mock led the way with two each.
Game three, and the second game of the day, was a much different game as they faced Corunna for the first time that weekend.
The Legionnaires got off to a good start, taking an early 5-0 lead behind the strong pitching of Uptigrove.
However, as the game progressed it would be the defence that would become suspect. Combine that with the good hitting of Corunna and there was a 14-6 Corunna victory.
With the loss, the Legionnaires now faced a must-win against Port Dover. Brett MacLeod got the start, pitching three strong innings, spotting his team to an 8-6 lead.
From there Jamieson and Austin McGrath kept the Sailors at bay while the offence continued to score runs.
Approximately three hours after it started, Listowel proved victorious 20-11. Jamieson, Gooding, Calder, O’Grady and Uptigrove led the team with three hits apiece, Meyer and MacLeod collected two each, and McGrath and Zac Boertien chipped in with one each.
With the win, the Legionnaires headed into Sunday as one of the four teams remaining, but had a large task at hand as they faced the undefeated team from Dorchester.
Like game one, it was the dominant pitching of Calder that was the story as he held Dorchester to seven hits over 6.2 innings while striking out eight, allowing no runs.
Offensively it sounds like a broken record but the hits, 14 of them, were spread throughout the lineup with everyone picking up at least one. This recipe was perfect as the Legionnaires won 7-1, now leaving three teams vying for the title.
A flip of a coin may have proved to be the biggest play of day as it gave Listowel a bye to the final.
In the final the Legionnaires faced Corunna again, with the winner taking the title. This was a great game with a few lead changes, timely hitting, solid defence and excellent pitching.
MacLeod may have saved the best pitching of his young career for this game. He scattered 12 hits over a complete seven-inning game, but the key was that he walked none, which allowed his defence to make play after play.
The fourth inning was key for the hometown boys as they scored four times, thus taking a lead they would not relinquish.
Corunna pressed to tie the game in both the sixth and seventh innings, but when the dust settled Listowel won 7-6, thus capturing the OBA peewee ‘D’ title.
The coaching staff said there are many people to thank: parents and families for supporting the team all year, the tournament committee of Ron and Cathy Berlett, Doug and Jan Kellum for running a great and somewhat stressful tournament, many volunteers who helped throughout the tournament, and a great group of young men whose determination paid off in the long run.