Twenty-three teams entered Pastime Tournaments’ “University of Michigan All Prospect Wood Bat 18u tournament” August 3-6. Included in those 23 teams were five from Ontario: Whitby Chiefs, Windsor Selects, North Toronto Athletics, Hamilton Cardinals, and Tecumseh Thunder.
Teams were divided into four pools for their guaranteed four games with the top teams in each pool being seeded 1-4 and the second teams in each pool being seeded 5-8 for the quarter-finals.
The weekend for Whitby started with the team huddled under a pop-up sun shelter with monsoon-like rain and wind making it impossible to make it to the cars in the parking lot. With the field underwater (and everyone thoroughly soaked), the Thursday game was rescheduled to Friday.
Friday started with an extremely well-pitched game by both teams with Whitby losing its first game 1-0 to a team that would eventually finish with a 4-0 record in pool play. Not to be denied a victory after drying out from Thursday, the Chiefs came back with a 6-5 walk-off win later on Friday. Saturday afternoon saw the Chiefs win again; this time by a score of 12-7. That evening the team played at the unbelievable University of Michigan stadium and needing to win by at least 8 runs in order for a chance to advance, they did just that, winning by a score of 8-0 in a mercy shortened game.
Of the five Ontario teams entered in the tournament, only two advanced to the quarter-finals. Hamilton Cardinals finished first in their pool with a record of 3-1 and Whitby Chiefs finished second in their pool with a record of 3-1. Eliminated were the Windsor Selects, North Toronto Athletics, and the Tecumseh Thunder.
Hamilton and Whitby met in one of the quarter finals with Whitby prevailing in another mercy shortened game by a score of 15-2. The semi-final game included a nerve-wracking finale with Whitby ahead by a score of 4-0 going into the bottom of the 6th only to have the Davison Cardinals come back and tie the game with a monster grand slam. Fortunately the Chiefs scored again in the top of the 7th and held on for a 5-4 victory.
Once again playing at the University of Michigan stadium the Chiefs found themselves down by 3 runs after the first inning but then stymied their US opponent for most of the remainder of the game before finally losing the Championship game by a score of 5-3.
A great weekend of baseball and a great weekend for the Chiefs – finalists in this major US tournament. The coach of the University of Michigan team had a long talk with the Chiefs head coach asking about the Whitby program and baseball in general in our area.