The Corner Brook Barons Jeff Gillam says if his team is to have any chance of getting back in the provincial senior baseball final against the St. John’s Winmar Capitals, they’ll have to be “a little bit smarter at the plate,”
The Barons, down 3-0 in the best-of-seven final after games last weekend at St. Pat’s Ball Park in St. John’s, take on the Capitals in Game 4 of the series 2 p.m. today at Jubilee Field in Corner Brook.
If further games are needed they will be played 7 p.m. today and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
“I feel our pitching has been great and fielding has been good enough, but we just haven’t hit the ball,” said Gillam. “We need to get a bit deeper in counts.
“If we go into the weekend with a smarter approach at the plate I think we’ll be all right.”
Gillam noted, “the Caps aren’t really pounding the ball. They’ve only had a couple of extra-base hits and no one on either side is hitting home runs.
“Our problem,” he said, “ is that we can’t get those timely hits.”
The Caps, looking for their 13th straight provincial title, opened the series with 7-1 and 3-1 victories before taking Game 3 by a score of 6-2. The Barons are back in the final for the first time in five years.
Gillam said he felt his team could have won any of the first three games but especially the 3-1 contest.
He said it’s been frustrating so far.
“Even when they are getting the bloop base hit they are getting two or three runs off it and we’re just not getting anything going,” he said.
Gillam said he thought his team was starting to swing the bat better after the first game, “but it just fell apart.”
He said what makes the Caps dangerous is that they take advantage of any opening they’re given.
“You might get a hit here and there and get a few runners on base, but they seem to be able to get out of it. And then they manage to get the key hits to drive in runs.”
Gillam says the Barons also have to make the plays on defence to stay with the St. John’s club.
“You’ve got to be on top of your game to beat them,” said Gillam.
Despite being well behind in the series, he said the team remains a confident and resilient bunch and they have a lot of pride in the uniform.
“We believe we’re going to give them a game. Hopefully, playing at home this weekend with the fans behind us, we’ll do that.
“Hopefully, we can stretch it into a decent series.”
Gilliam, the son of Newfoundland and Labrador hockey hall of famer Terry Gillam, is playing in his ninth season with the Barons.
The 26-year-old started out as a catcher, but the six-foot, 190-pounder switched to the first and third base positions two or three years ago.
“My arm just wasn’t strong enough anymore,” he explained, “so I switched to a position where I could still contribute.”