COBOURG - For the second weekend in a row, the Stratford Cubs Junior fastball team made it to the final of a tournament before losing.
Cubs went 5–1 this past weekend here at the Jim Bradford and Neil Cane Memorial tournament.
Game 1 saw Stratford face the Orleans Rebels and former Junior nemesis Andy Barber.
Greg Hammell fired a one-hitter as Cubs blanked Barber and the Rebels 4–0. Barber took the loss despite only giving up six hits, while striking out seven.
Hammell walked one and struck out 11. Tyler Pauli and Steve Lyons both singled and tripled, while Johnny Baker singled and doubled to spark the Stratford offence.
Game 2 was Baker’s turn to toss a shutout as Cubs downed the Pickering Panthers by the same 4–0 score.
Pauli’s two-run home run in the top of the first inning was all Baker would need as he allowed only two hits, while walking one and striking out six.
Lyons and Nick Penner both contributed singles.
In Game 3, Cubs once again got great pitching and played tight defence for their third consecutive shutout win in handcuffing the Oshawa DD Juniors 6–0.
Hammell fired a no-hitter for the win. He struck out nine and walked none.
Once again, Cubs used a two-run homer run from Pauli in the top of the first to get the jump on the Double Ds and never looked back.
Baker doubled and singled to help his cause and Penner chipped in a single.
With the 3–0 record, Cubs advanced to the playoff round out of their pool and once again faced the Double Ds from Oshawa.
This time around, the Double Ds were ready for the Cubs. Oshawa’s Steven MacLeod and Hammell of the Cubs hooked up in a good old-fashioned pitchers duel, with Hammell coming out on top, 1–0.
Pauli led off the top of the seventh with a walk and was sacrificed over to second base by Craig Lyons.
Steve Lyons then grounded out, advancing Pauli to third. A wild pitch by MacLeod allowed Pauli to score the winning run, and Hammell closed the door with a pair of strikeouts in the bottom of the seventh.
Hammell tossed a two-hitter, walked none and struck out 15 to claim the win.
MacLeod took the hard-luck loss, tossing a two-hitter while fanning six. He walked only Pauli who also had one of the Cubs’ hits. Steve Lyons singled for Stratford’s only other hit.
With the win, Cubs advanced to the semi-finals against Napanee Express, hosts of this year’s Junior Canadian championship in August.
With Baker on the mound, Cubs served notice that they will be a legitimate threat to medal if they can qualify for the nationals as they downed the Express 7-5.
Baker gave up eight hits, walked three and struck out five for the win.
Pauli once again was Stratford’s offensive leader with a pair of triples and a single. Nick Lichti singled three times, and Penner and Derek Elliot both added base hits.
In the final, the Junior Cubs ran into a strong Curve Lake Trappers team, who downed them 9–2.
Hammell took the mound loss. He allowed eight hits, walked four and struck out eight.
Hammell doubled, and Pauli and Steve Lyons both singled for the Cubs.
The Cubs would like to thank Bells Winery and Stockie Motors for their sponsor support this season.
The Cubs play at home on Monday, June 22 when they host Tavistock Athletics at 8:45 p.m.