Whitby Baseball History! National Champions!
The 15U Bantam Elite Whitby Chiefs have made Whitby baseball history by becoming the first team from Whitby to win a National Championship in the associations 50 year history!
Whitby becomes Team Ontario
The Whitby boys earned the right to represent Ontario at the Ray Carter Cup 15U National Championships in Oshawa, after winning the Ontario Eliminations tournament on the August long weekend. After winning Eliminations, the Whitby Chiefs Bantam Elite Team would be known as “Team Ontario”, and picked up a few players from other teams across Ontario to help them in the quest for Gold.
Team Ontario started strong in Pool A on Thursday with a 4-2 win over British Columbia in what would be a preview of Sunday nights Gold Medal game. Carson Lumley got the start and struck out 5 batters over three and a third innings. Zak Szabo and Cody Hagerman combined to close out the game on the mound for Ontario. Lumley went 1 for 2 at the plate with 2 RBI’s helping his own cause. Greg LaChance, Zach Kourous, Griffin Catto and Noah Avis all had hits in game one. Carson Lumley took player of the game honors for Ontario.
Up next was the host club – Oshawa. Team Ontario pounded out 11 hits, led by Zach Kourous who was 3 for 4 while Greg Lachance and Liam Conway were both 2 for 3 on the day. Owen Findlay, Matt Isaacson, Carson Lumley and Noah Avis all had singles while Zak Szabo had 2 RBI’s on a sac bunt. Ryan Lieng, Kyle Mucin and Ryan James combined to get the job done on the mound as Ontario beat Oshawa by a score of 7-0. Zach Kourous was player of the game for team O.
On Saturday – Ontario was scheduled for two games. First up – Quebec. This one would be a battle. With the game all tied up at two runs apiece after seven innings, each team would begin their offensive half of the extra frames with nobody out and runners on first and second. Ontario scored two in the top of the eighth and Quebec answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the eighth. Ontario scored two runs in the top of the ninth and again Quebec answered with two in the bottom. The tenth inning would be too much for Quebec as Team Ontario scored five runs in the top, while Quebec could only come up with two in the bottom half. Ontario had hits from Kourous, Lumley, Isaacson, Avis, Nick King, and two from Cody Hagerman. Liam Conway, Adrian McBride, Zak Szabo and Cody Hagerman combined their efforts on the mound striking out ten Quebec batters over the ten innings of play. Cody Hagerman’s day at the plate along with his pitching performance earned him player of the game honors.
Going into game number four against Saskatchewan – Ontario was aware that they had already sewn up first place in pool A. Ryan James and Nick King both pitched very well, but Ontario struggled to get the offence going, with only five singles. Kayden Chung, Adrian McBride, Kyle Mucin, Jackson Hutchison and Zach Kourous all had hits for Ontario. Nick King was player of the game for Ontario.
Team Ontario would take on Manitoba in Sunday mornings semi-final. Manitoba took a 1-0 lead in the third inning, but that would be all that Ontario would allow as the defence took over and didn’t allow another run. Ontario scored 3 in the fourth inning and added 2 more in the fifth to advance to the Gold medal game by a score of 5-1. Griffin Catto pitched 5 innings and allowed 3 hits, and struck out 7, which earned him player of the game for Ontario. Ryan Lieng came in to close out the final two innings. Kourous, Lachance, Lumley, Isaacson and King all had hits to power the offence. Off to the Gold Medal game!
Gold Medal Game
Ontario versus British Columbia was a rematch of game one for both teams in the tournament. After losing that game – BC had gone undefeated the rest of the way and both teams arrived for the Gold Medal game with Identical four and one records. Ontario had ace Carson Lumley on the mound and entered the game brimming with confidence. Team Ontario would open the scoring in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead, but BC would answer with 3 runs in the third inning and another in the fourth to take a 4-1 lead. Ontario answered with two more runs in the fifth to make it a one run game. The score would remain the same heading into the bottom of the seventh which would set the stage for a dramatic turn of events.
The Seventh Inning
Kyle Mucin lead off the seventh inning with a pinch hit single to get the tying run aboard, but that was followed up with a couple of strikeouts which brought team Ontario to within one out of losing the gold medal. Liam Conway walked, putting runners at first and second.
The next play was a game changer. Ryan James was at second base as a pinch runner for Mucin with Conway at first. The BC pitcher made a pick off move to second base, and the two middle infielders dove as if they had missed the throw, but the pitcher never actually threw the ball. It was a fake/hidden ball trick play and the runner fell for it. James took off for third and the pitcher had him dead in a run down and the game was about to be over. Unbelievably, the BC pitcher slipped and fell which allowed James to slide back into second base safely. BC had just missed a chance to end the game.
The pitcher then sent a wild pitch towards the plate which allowed the runners to advance to second and third. BC then elected to intentionally walk Zach Kourous to load the bases, which brought Greg LaChance to the plate. LaChance went down 0-2 after two pitches and then fouled a couple off, before hitting one off the plate that only travelled about ten feet. BC were unable to make the play and the runners advanced making it a tie game!
Matt Isaacson came to the plate next and drove the third pitch he saw into right field walking off British Columbia and winning the Ray Carter Cup for Team Ontario and the Bantam Elite Whitby Chiefs! Kinsmen Stadium erupted and history was made. Matt Isaacson won player of the game for his seventh inning heroics, while Greg LaChance was awarded the defensive player of the tournament award for his perfect fielding percentage.
The Bantam Elite Whitby Chiefs were overwhelmed by the support that they received from players, parents and coaches from Whitby Minor Baseball. Whitby fans packed Kinsmen Stadium for the exciting, historic final. The Bantam Elite Chiefs would also like to send a special thanks to the Whitby Minor Baseball executive for the support the team received. These players will never forget the experience and the excitement of winning a National Gold for Whitby. Once a Chief, always a Chief!
Team members are – #00 Matt Isaacson, #2 Owen Findlay, #8 Ryan James, #9 Carson Lumley, #10 Kayden Chung, #11 Greg Lachance, #14 Adrian McBride, #20 Zak Szabo, #21 Jackson Hutchison, #24 Noah Avis, #26 Nick King, #27 Liam Conway, #36 Parker Bailey, #43 Zach Kourous, #54 Ryan Lieng, #66 Griffin Catto, #81 Cody Hagerman and #83 Kyle Mucin. Coaches are Gerry Prendergast, Clare Osborne, Ryan Verrydt, Jake Ross and trainer Jeff Hardy.