Mosquitos Capture Back-to-Back OBA Provincial 'D' Championships!, News (Mitchell Minor Baseball)

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Mosquito OBA - Mosquitos Capture Back-to-Back OBA Provincial 'D' Championships!
Submitted By Trevor Russwurm on Tuesday, September 05, 2017
The Mitchell Stickhandler Mosquito Astros successfully defended their OBA 'D' title on Labour Day Weekend in Chatham, downing the Lucan-Ilderton Athletics by a score of 7-0 in the final.
Starter Josh French was lifted after 29 pitches and some dandy mixing of speeds with a wicked changeup, reaching his max pitch count for the day after pitching earlier in the semi-final.  Reliever Ryan Hubbard had a full tank of gas, and he wasted no time mowing down the opposing bats with six strikeouts in the last four innings.

Strong defense by both teams led to a scoreless tie after 3 1/2 innings of play, and then the Astro bats finally went to work.  Dominic Marshall and Carson Harmer opened the inning with consecutive base hits, and both were driven home on an RBI double by Jarrett Van Bakel.  Caleb Templeman cashed Van Bakel with a two-out single to build a 3-0 lead.  After shutting Lucan-Ilderton down again in the top of the fifth, the Astros opened things up with four more insurance runs to put the game away.  Kellen Russwurm led off with an infield single, alertly taking an uncovered second base on the play.  With Hubbard also aboard on an HBP, Jack Miller drove in Russwurm with a sacrifice fly. Marshall and Harmer followed with consecutive base hits again, and both scored on French's RBI single.  After a scoreless sixth, Lucan-Ilderton put two base runners on, but the third out was lined to first baseman Jack Small and the celebration was on!
Mitchell opened the tournament on Friday night by downing Corunna 13-4.  Starter French went the max 70 pitches before yielding to Marshall, and Miller finished up in the last inning.  Jordan Visneskie (3-for-4, a triple, three RBI's, two runs scored) and Russwurm (3-for-4, a double, a triple, two RBI's, two runs scored) had big nights at the plate. Marshall reached base safely in every at-bat, and Harmer and Van Bakel also each scored twice.  Extra-base hits were also recorded by French and Hubbard.
The next opponent on Saturday morning was the first match-up with Lucan-Ilderton, who came out swinging with a quick 2-0 lead after the top of the first.  Mitchell answered back quickly as Marshall and Harmer both reached base, scoring on French's two-run double.  Visneskie would drive in French, and then also score on Small's RBI double to take a 4-2 lead.  After building a 7-2 lead after two, Mitchell would break it open in the third inning as Small (3-for-3, two runs scored, four RBI's) stroked a two-run single to score Visneskie and Templeman. Russwurm followed with a long two-run home run to deep right field to score two more on route to a 13-5 final.
The final round-robin matchup was with league rival Exeter, and things didn't start off so well on a sloppy rain-delayed field as the Astros quickly round themselves down 5-0 after one inning of play.  But displaying their "never quit" approach, they battled back in the bottom of the second, eventually taking the lead 6-5 with key RBI doubles by Van Bakel and Small.  Marshall, Harmer, Small, and Miller would each score two runs in the eventual 12-6 comeback victory.
Battling a flu virus, Keegan Priestap had been scratched for the Saturday night game vs Exeter, but bounced back after a good night's sleep and drew the start on Sunday morning vs Mount Forest in the battle of undefeated teams.  And what a start it was, as Priestap effectively mixed speeds and pounded the strike zone, giving up two earned runs in five innings while striking out five batters.  Visneskie would finish up the final two innings of work on the mound.  Tied 2-2 after four innings, the Astros broke it up in the fifth with as Priestap, Hubbard, Miller, French, and Van Bakel all came in to score.  Visneskie and Miller reached base safely in each at-bat, with Miller scoring three times.
Templeman drew the start for the semi-final game vs Alvinston, throwing three scoreless innings before giving way to Visneskie.  The Astro bats went to work right away, building a 3-0 lead after one in an eventual 13-3 victory to go into the final undefeated.  Harmer and French each scored three runs to pace the attack.
The defense was outstanding all weekend, from catcher Van Bakel being solid behind the plate managing the pitchers and gunning down attempted base stealers, to a consistent infield and outfield knocking down ground balls and catching fly balls.
Great job by a talented group of boys!  Defending Mosquito champions from last year are Van Bakel and French, and defending champions from last year's OBA 'D' Championship Rookie team are Marshall, Harmer, Visneskie, Russwurm, Hubbard, and Miller.  First-time winners were Templeman, Small, Priestap, and Lucas Roobroeck who was absent for the tournament.

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