Comeback Capitals do it again

Kenn Oliver
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St. John's battles back from four-run deficit in final inning to defeat Corner Brook

At last year's Molson provincial junior baseball championship, the St. John's Capitals went undefeated through the round-robin, but needed a come-from-behind victory over the Corner Brook Barons in the final game to clinch the title.

Sunday at St. Pat's Ball Park, the Caps had to do it again.

"You couldn't ask for a much better championship game," says Adam Hickey, the starting pitcher in what turned out to be a 5-4 win over the Barons.

St. John's Capitals' baserunner Dan Phillips slides safely into third base, escaping a tag by Noah Anderson of the Mount Pearl Blazers during their round-robin game in the provincial junior baseball championships Saturday at St. Pat's Ball Park. The Capit

At last year's Molson provincial junior baseball championship, the St. John's Capitals went undefeated through the round-robin, but needed a come-from-behind victory over the Corner Brook Barons in the final game to clinch the title.

Sunday at St. Pat's Ball Park, the Caps had to do it again.

"You couldn't ask for a much better championship game," says Adam Hickey, the starting pitcher in what turned out to be a 5-4 win over the Barons.

"It was amazing!"

Down 4-0 in the bottom of the seventh, the Caps' rally began with singles from Alex Walsh, Jamie Downey, James Walsh and Justin Downey. That brought the score to 4-2. After a Corner Brook pitching change, with Downey and Walsh on first and second, Jon Blackmore walked to load the bases. Andrew Stockley popped up for the second out, leaving Dan Phillips with a last-chance at-bat.

With two strikes, Phillips belted a bases-clearing double to deep centre, giving St. John's a 5-4 win and the A.J. "Ank" Murphy Trophy.

"It's probably the biggest hit of my life so far," says Phillips, who also starred in the 2009 tourney when he tossed a no-hitter against Gander.

Hickey says even when St. John's was down four runs in the last inning, there was never a doubt in the Caps' dugout.

"Everyone knew we could do it," says Hickey. "We knew (that the Barons) knew we were going to come back. It was in the back of their minds, so we had to string a couple of hits together and get back in there."

According to Hickey, Corner Brook starter Mark McWhirter had the Caps chasing "a lot of high strikes, popping them up and giving them easy outs," for much of Sunday's contest.

"Towards the end of the game, we said 'let's tee off on these lower pitches ... we don't need to swing at all these high ones.' So we started swinging the bats at the right time and started hitting line drives to the outfield. It was beautiful," Hickey says.

Caps' relief pitcher Alex Walsh was named tournament MVP. He got the win Sunday after relieving Hickey after the fourth inning.

"He picked me up and said 'I got your back.' He went out there, pitched a stellar game and had a huge hit that started our rally," says Hickey.

"He deserves it."

Andrew Mercer of the Mount Pearl Blazers, who were winless in the double round-robin event, won the tournament batting title with a .615 average on eight-for-13 hitting. McWhirter was named the top pitcher.

The Capitals will represent the province at nationals in Trois-Rivieres, Que., next month.

"I believe we are a better team than what we were this weekend," insists Hickey. "I think we can go up to Quebec and compete a high level and have a good shot of at least making the medal round."

Round-robin results

St. John's 10, Mount Pearl 3 (Fri)

St. John's 4, Corner Brook 2 (Fri)

Corner Brook 10, Mount Pearl 5 (Sat)

St. John's 9, Mount Pearl 1 (Sat)

Corner Brook 4, St. John's 3 (Sat)

Corner Brook def. Mount Pearl (Sun, score unavailble)

koliver@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Molson

Geographic location: St. John's, Corner Brook, Ball Park Mount Pearl Trois-Rivieres Quebec

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  • Baseball Fan
    July 26, 2010 - 13:06

    What do you mean "no suspension needed"? The fact of the matter is - He was pissed at being struck out and threw the bat - end of. If he can't control his emotions then maybe he should take up golf. That kid has been around long enough to know the difference. No room for that behavior in baseball. The suspension was dead on. Lesson learned for all ball players.

  • Eric
    July 24, 2010 - 10:32

    There is no need of that at the baseball park. The guy who threw his bat in the stands got 7 games. Also 7 games from the local league. Lets hope he learned his lessen and this never happens again

  • Eric
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    I hope the player that threw the bat into the stands on Saturday doesn't get to go to the nationals. There is no place for that stuff. Somebody could have been seriously hurt.

    • JC
      July 22, 2010 - 09:20

      The player that threw the bat is very respectable down at st. pats. The guy didnt mean to throw the bat in the stands, its not something this kid would ever do on purpose. Beleive me. hes a good guy and a very important part to this baseball team. Dont shoot the gun and take shots at this guy right away. It was just a matter of bad judgement and a hole in the batting gloves that caused the bat to fly into the stands. No suspension needed