13U Kincardine Minor Ball Cardinals are ALL Ontario OBA CHAMPS

by Head Coach Braden Novack
There were coin flips to determine which teams would be home and away all weekend. The Kincardine Cardinals, while hosting the provincials, would never end up being the “home” team…
Friday night, we played the Wyoming Wranglers at Connaught Back. We hadn’t played them this season. We were down early on due to some uncharacteristic sloppy play on defence. After a late surge, we were able to make it a one-run game in the 7th inning and had the bases loaded with the tying run on 3rd base. We were unable to cash the baserunners and ended up losing 6-5.
Early Saturday morning, we met the Clinton Mustangs at Point Clark Ball Park. We jumped on them early in the first inning for 3 runs and never looked back with the help of premier defense from Brett Helin in LF. Matty McKeag was on the mound for the Cardinals and turned in his most efficient game of the season, a stellar 57-pitch performance. Kincardine won 12-2.
Saturday afternoon at 2pm, the Cardinals returned to Point Clark Ball Park to face off against the Essex Yellow Jackets. Once again, the Cardinals drew first blood in the 1st inning after scoring a pair of runs. Ricky Plante was on the hill for the Cardinals and turned in a 1-run, 85 pitch outing to make sure the season stayed alive. Lenny Connell came in to close the door on the Yellow Jackets season for the final 24 pitches. Final score, Kincardine 12, Essex 2.
Right after the win over Essex, Kincardine had to get ready to play a pesky Dresden Tigers team. This was arguably the “game of the tournament” for Kincardine as both the Cardinals and Tigers would go blow-for-blow the whole way through in what ended up being a three hour and 20 minute game. Kincardine once again struck first in the 1st to go up 3 to zip. Dresden would take the lead in the bottom of the 4th inning to go up 6-5. Kincardine tied it up again in the 5th inning. And after holding Dresden to no runs in the bottom half of the 5th, the Cardinals exploded in the top of the 6th inning for 7 runs, with a pair of clutch pinch hits by Cade Dudgeon and Colton Bernard. But Dresden was not going to go down without a fight and responded with 4 runs of their own in the bottom half. So Kincardine did what they’ve done all year, and responded again in the 7th inning for 4 more runs to make it a 7-run lead. Dresden, unable to give up, put up 4 runs in the bottom half of the last inning before Lane Bauman was able to shut the door and keep the Cardinals season going. Ben Warwick, Lenny Connell, Brett Helin, and Lane Bauman all combined for 184 pitches out of the total 346 pitches in the game. Final score, Kincardine 17, Dresden 14.
Sunday morning, the Cardinals rolled out of bed and headed to Connaught Back, the diamond they called home all summer. First pitch was at 9am against the undefeated Lucan-Ilderton Athletics. Darren Morris was a catalyst for the Cardinals on the bases, easily taking 75 feet when he wanted. Tyler Bauman was on the bump for the Cardinals and turned in arguably the game of his life so far. With only 4 pitches remaining before he had to be removed from the position, Tyler struck out Evan Miller, the most dangerous batter in the Athletics batting order, on three pitches. The light pole closest to the dugout at Connaught Back is still ringing from being smacked by the coaching staff after that pitch. “Bomber” then finished off the last batter by having him ground out to the 1st baseman Ben Warwick to end the game. Final score, Kincardine 5, Lucan-Ilderton 1.
As the three teams remaining all had one loss, there had to be a draw between Kincardine and Lucan-Ilderton to determine who would get a bye to the finals as Wyoming had already received a bye on Saturday. The Wyoming head coach did the honours by drawing Kincardine’s name out of a hat, which led to an absolute explosion of cheering and hollering from the Cardinals players, parents, and fans. The Kincardine players would head home and rest up, while the Athletics and Wranglers beat up on each other in the semi-final.
The Kincardine Cardinals saved their best game for last as they wasted no time in getting the party started after 4:30pm when they faced off against Lucan-Ilderton again. After Lane Bauman got on base with a one-out walk in the top of the 1st, Ben Warwick absolutely smashed an opposite field home-run to ignite the hometown crowd. The Cardinals weren’t done yet as they scored two more in the top of the 1st to start the game 4-0. Lucas Tout was on the mound for the Cardinals and turned in a dominant performance, using all of his 85 pitches. The Cards made it 9-0 after three innings, but the Athletics responded with 2 in the 4th and 5 in the 6th to avoid the mercy rule coming into effect. Rhys Thompson stepped into the spotlight for the biggest pitching moment of his young baseball career and ended the season for Lucan and sealed the victory and Provincial Title for the Kincardine Cardinals.
The entire weekend was a total team effort by all involved. If one player wasn’t getting the job done, the next guy was picking him up. “I have never been prouder of a group of young men and I hope they continue to enjoy the game of baseball!” said head coach, Braden Novack.
The Kincardine Cardinals roster includes: Lane Bauman, Tyler Bauman, Colton Bernard, Lenny Connell, Cade Dudgeon, Brett Helin, Matty McKeag, Darren Morris, Ricky Plante, Rhys Thompson, Lucas Tout, and Ben Warwick.
Head Coach: Braden Novack
Assistant Coaches: Steve Connell, Ryan Dudgeon, Steve Travale, and Andrew Warwick
Scorekeeper and Hype-man: Ryan Plante