Barons' backs against the wall

John Browne
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Humber has hope despite Corner Brook facing a 3-0 deficit against St. John's

Veteran pitcher Frank Humber has seen it all in his career, so he isn’t ruling out a comeback for his Barons against the St. John’s Winmar Capitals in the provincial senior baseball final, which continues today at Jubilee Field in Corner Brook.

The defending champion Barons are down 3-0 in the best-of-seven provincial senior ball series after the Capitals swept the first three games in St. John’s last weekend.

The teams are set for Game 4 at two o’clock today. If Game 5 is necessary, it will be played eight o’clock tonight at Jubilee.

Game 6 is slated for 2 p.m. Sunday, with a Game 7, again if necessary, scheduled for 7:30.

Over their long history of facing each other in provincial play, both teams have come from behind 3-0 deficits to capture the crown, but it’s not likely those finishes were predicted at the time.

Humber contends it’s not impossible, but it’s definitely improbable.

He doesn’t think he’ll start on the mound today. In any case, but he obviously hopes to get into a game before the series is over.

'Yeah, I’d like to get another kick at it,” said the lefthander, who expects Michael Tavenor to take the ball for the Barons in Game 4.

Despite the deficit, Humber feels his team stacks up “pretty well” against the Caps overall.

“We had a problem with execution at some key junctures of every game in St. John’s,” he said.

“It’s a matter of being able to execute all of those little plays at that level. When you start missing bunts. not picking up the hit-and-run signs and making errors in the field, well, it’s those things that will always come back and haunt you at some point.

“You cant take a pitch off, let alone an at-bat. And you have to be ready in the field at all times because you never know when your number is going to be called to make a play.”

In other words, there’s no margin for error the rest of the way.

“I’m old enough to remember when we came back from a 3-0 deficit by winning the next four games in St. John’s,” he said,

And Humber notes that, with the exception of one inning when St. John’s scored eight times en route to an 11-2 victory, the games have all been close. The Caps won by 4-3 and 2-0 margins in the other two games at St. Pat’s Ball Park. In Sunday’s Game 3 — the one which St. John’s won 2-0 — the lefthanded Humber took the loss on a six-hitter.

“The Caps pitching staff is very solid, but so is ours,” said Humber. “And I’m not sure there’s a real shut-down, lights-out guy on either team. There’s no dominant pitcher (who can deliver) a for-sure win. Given that, it’s still anybody’s series.

“We’ve got a good mix of veterans and younger players. Certainly, we’re leaning guys like myself, Darren Colbourne and Perry Alexander, guys who have been around for a long time.”

Humber, a former prospect in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ system, has been playing provincial ball since 1980 and continues to pitch with the Hawks in the Corner Brook senior league.

However, he took three or for years away from the Barons before being asked to rejoin the team this season.

“I get (to experience some) fun and I also get discomfort,” said the 47-year-old who is the principal at Sacred Heart Elementary School in Corner Brook.

“I get a little sore after each game these day, but I’ve been blessed in that I’ve never had any significant arm injuries.”

Humber, who was part of Newfoundland’s coaching staff with the 2013 Canada Summer Games team, remains heavily involved in coaching at the minor level of the game in his native Corner Brook.

He coaches a peewee team and also helps out at the midget level and with the junior Barons.

“I’m throwing a lot of batting practice. I start throwing once April hits and I think that’s helped my arm stay in shape while the rest of my body not so much,” he added with a chuckle.

“I don’t know what my employer would say, but I go back to work for a break.”

Organizations: Capitals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Sacred Heart Elementary School

Geographic location: Corner Brook, St. John's, Ball Park Newfoundland Canada

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