Barons needed to be better armed, says Colbourne

John Browne
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Corner Brook Barons’ player-coach Darren Colbourne wasn’t surprised at his team’s outcome at the Canadian senior baseball championship which finished Sunday in St. John’s.
“We knew we had our work cut out to compete,” said Colbourne. “We’d hoped to be in every game, but that didn’t happen.”

Corner Brook Barons’ veteran Frank Humber delivers a pitch to a Langley, B.C., Blaze batter during their game in the 2014 national senior baseball championship  at the Smallwood Drive baseball field in Mount Pearl on Saturday morning. Looking on are Barons’ shortstop A.J. Whiffen and Langley baserunner Scott Tulloch (right), taking a lead off second base. The Blaze won 6-3. 

What did happen was an 0-4 record while being outscored 43-9 as opposition bats pounded Corner Brook pitching.

“I felt we had quality starters, but it just didn’t pan out,” Colbourne added.

The Barons, the provincial representatives, fell 6-3 to British Columbia’s Langley Blaze in their final game Saturday at Smallwood diamond in Mount Pearl.

“That was a close one. If there was a positive to take away, it was that game where we were in it,” said Colbourne, adding that despite the Barons’ record, there were some obvious benefits.

‘We had a lot of young guys who learned a lot and it was an experience for them. It was an experience for all of us.”

However the obstacles to success still remain for teams from this province, Colbourne noted.

“These (mainland) guys play a lot more baseball than we do and that’s always been the case,” he said. “But I’ve been at nationals before and we’ve competed very well. Still, they have a lot more players to pick from and they play a full league schedule. They face good competition all the time, while we’re geographically challenged in this province.

“I’d like to play St. John’s every second weekend, but that’s just not doable.”

Colbourne said his team had plenty of heart and soul, but “We saw pitching this week that we haven’t seen in a long time.”

“I was proud of our guys. There was a bit of discouragement, but we hung in there,” Colbourne said.

The St. John’s Winmar Capitals, the host team, finished 1-3.

“The Caps had the stronger team and more arms, and, at a national event, arms is the big thing” said Colbourne, although he feels it wouldn’t have made much of a difference if Newfoundland put just one team in the tournament.

Colbourne suggested the Capitals probably would have picked up only one player from Corner Brook if there was just a single representative in the tournament.

Besides, he said, it was great to have two teams from Newfoundland and St. John’s played pretty well.

St. John’s coach Mark Healy admitted it isn’t likely that he would have picked up many additions for his team if there was just a single representative from the province.

“To be honest, if I had access to everyone in the province outside of our team I’d maybe pick one or two players at the most,” he said.

Colbourne said his team would have liked to have had a little help on the mound by getting to pick up a couple of pitchers “but we knew our lot going in so I’m not complaining.

Colbourne called the overall experience “a building block” for his team’s younger players.

“Ironically, it’s our younger guys who have had the experience at nationals in the past playing at the national bantam and midget level coming up through the system. Obviously, it’s different at this (senior) level, but a lot of our younger kids were undaunted by the calibre of the competition.”

But he noted that it was tough to face the type of opposition his team had to deal with at the nationals.

“You just can’t expect to turn it on at that (national) level. I thought we started to come into our own into our last game.”

Veteran lefty Frank Humber took the loss against Langley on 10 hits with two walks. He fanned five.

Mike O’Neil had two hits for Corner Brook.

Corner Brook’s other losses were 12-1 to the Reston Rockets of Manitoba, 14-2 to the Mississauga, Ont., Twins and 11-3 to Nova Scotia’s Sydney Sooners.

Organizations: Smallwood, Capitals

Geographic location: Corner Brook, British Columbia, Mount Pearl Newfoundland Langley Manitoba Mississauga Nova Scotia

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