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Sunday, Jul. 22, 2018
Gators at OFSAA and other baseball news
by Randy Pascal

A pair of three run losses spoke volumes about the improvement of high school baseball in Sudbury.

After seeing the majority of games involving teams representing NOSSA at the OFSAA Baseball Championships shortened by virtue of the mercy rule in recent years, Bishop Carter Gators head coach Jean-Gilles Larocque was thrilled with the 0-2 record of his team at the West playdowns in Windsor today.

With starting pitcher Nathan Paquette flooding the strike zone, pitching the entire seven inning game while maxing out at just 71 pitches, the Gators and John F. Ross Royals of Guelph played scoreless ball through four innings of play.

The CWOSSA champs plated a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth and added another via a suicide squeeze in the sixth, as John F Ross blanked Bishop Carter 3-0. Game two, later in the afternoon, looked like it would yield a similar fate, as the St Peter's Panthers from Barrie bolted to an 8-0 lead after three innings of play.

But the Sudbury lads would fight back, scoring an amazing eight runs in the top of the fourth and making a game of it before eventually dropping a 12-9 decision. Both Cameron Docking and Nathan Paquette came through with timely hits, each driving in a pair with bases loaded singles in the fourth.

"This is what happens when our guys get to play good baseball on a consistent basis," said Larocque. "We were up against good pitching, but the boys never gave up." Some of the same players also represented the Sudbury U18 Voyageurs on the weekend, scheduled to take part in the Elite Baseball League of Ontario Showcase Tournament, before rain forced some last minute adjustments to the itinerary.

Scrambling for fields, the Voyageurs did manage to squeeze in an exhibition double-header Saturday against a team from Montreal, losing 8-1 and picking up a dramatic 5-4 win in game two.

Trailing 4-3 entering the seventh, the Sudbury squad pulled ahead thanks to a two run double from Reilly Dubé. That lead appeared in jeopardy in the bottom of the inning, when Montreal loaded the bases with nobody out.

After inducing an infield fly to the next hitter, the Voyageurs defended a squeeze bunt to perfection, getting the force out at home and completing the double play as the Sudbury catcher rifled a throw to first.

On Sunday, the Voyageurs were beaten 6-5 by Brampton, surrendering the game winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning. While the U18 team is back on the road again this weekend, the U15 lads are in Sudbury, hosting Mississauga North for a pair of games on Saturday, and Brampton for two on Sunday, all at the Terry Fox Sports Complex.

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