Club team are league champs for the 21st time
As a low whisper of fog crept beneath the outfield fence, the Trapper John’s Shamrocks baseball players gathered beyond second base and began their famous chant which echoed in the valley of St. Pat’s Ball Park on an unseasonably warm Monday evening.
The Shamrocks had just beaten the Gonzaga Roebothan McKay Marshall Vikings 7-4 to capture the team’s 21st St. John’s Molson senior baseball championship.
© — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram
The Gonzaga Vikings' Bernie Madden slides safely into second base ahead of the tag from the Shamrocks' Dave Buckingham in Game 6 of the St. John's senior baseball league final Monday night at St. Pat's Ball Park. The Shammies won 7-4 to claim the team's 21st title.
The historic chant, which isn’t easily discernable, goes back over 30 years according to Shamrocks veteran player coach Sean Gulliver, who contributed to the winning effort by driving in two runs as the Shamrocks took the best-of-seven series 4-2.
“It’s a big part of this team,” Gulliver said of the chant as his teammates began settling in for the championship photo.
“Dan Reardon came up with that chant back in 1979 or 80,” explained Gulliver, who then proceeded to break it down.
“Even our junior team has been doing it the last couple of years,” he noted.
Gulliver, who has been a part of 20 of the Shamrocks 21 championships, said the veteran leadership has always been a part of the team’s incredible success over the years, although he added there have been “some young kids move into the lineup” in recent years.
“We’re still contributing and not embarrassing ourselves,” he added about the veterans on the club.
“It was a great ball game,” he said of Monday’s contest. “Our pitching and decence contributed to the win.”
Gulliver said winning a championship remains as enjoyable as it ever was.
“The most enjoyable championship is the last one you won. That’s the way it goes,” he said with a grin.
In the meantime, Jason English almost won the day for the Vikings by crushing a pair of home runs and smacking a double off the wall against Shamrocks starter Bob Kent, who picked up the win with relief help from Scott Goosney.
John Nichols, who was replaced briefly on the mound by Matthew Peterson, took the loss.
English went three-for three at the plate and his two-run homer and a solo shot produced three of his team’s four runs.
English said he’d only wished there were more runners on the bases when he hit the ball.
“More bodies on base is always a bonus,” he said as the last of teammates left the dugout after the game.
“When I get in a groove, they go,” English said of his big hits, before adding, “not enough (runs.)”
Still, the big designated hitter/outfielder, said the Vikings are “the best hitting team in the league.”
Kent, who gave up four runs on four hits with three strikeouts over 5.1 innings of work, admitted English had his number all night.
“Jason had one of the better games I’ve ever seen him play. I’m glad I won’t have to face him again,” he added as his teammates hugged one another.
Kent said he took a different approach to English each of the three times he faced him, but nothing worked.
“I threw him different pitches,” explained Kent. “The first one he hit (for a home run) was a fast ball. The next one he hit over the fence was a curveball and the third one was a slider, so I was starting to run out of pitches,” he said with a smile.
“It wasn’t an easy game or an easy series.
Kent, who was celebrating his third title in green and gold, said the team’s key to success is its veterans who always seem to come up big.
“They’ve been there before and they know how to come through when the pressure is on.”
Goosney was supposed to be the Game 7 starter if the series had gone the limit, but Kent wasn’t surprised he took the mound with one out and two men on base in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Goosney got a strike out and a ground out to end the inning and then retired three of four batters he faced in the bottom of the seventh to end the game.
“It’s only fitting Goose got the save,” said Kent. “The way he has been pitching all season, if you put him out there with a three-run lead, the game’s over.”
For his part, Goosney, who pitched 1.2 innings, fanning two and issuing one free pass, said coming in late was no big deal.
“It was the coaches call,” said Goosney, who noted he still would have started the deciding game if necessary Wednesday night.
Goosney said the only thing on his mind when he took the mound was throwing strikes.
“We’ve got a good enough defence and I knew our guys would make the plays behind me.”
Members of the championship team are Charlie Kelly, Scott Goosney, Scott Stockley, Andrew Symonds, Trevor Clarke, Andrew Stockley, Sean Gulliver, Ryan Dooley, Mario Tee, Dave Penny, Dave Buckingham, Jeff Gallop, Kirk Fleming, Brent Power, Randy Reid, Redmond Hunt, Chris Whelan, Bob Kent, Josh Taylor, Andrew King, Colin Rose, Dick Collins, and Brandon Jackson.