The 2019 Newfoundland and Labrador senior baseball club championship got underway in near ideal conditions Thursday night at St. Pat’s Ball Park in St. John’s.
In the tournament opener, Sean Janes pitched a complete game and then some in a matchup that went three extra innings as the Holy Cross Trinity Pub Crusaders edged the Storm 5-4.
In Thursday's second contest, the OMT Shamrocks, led by Matt Murphy's pitching, downed the Knights 6-2.
The club championship, which will see competition for the Ken Dawe Cup, shouldn’t be confused with the provincial senior playdowns, which will be played next month and which consist of two parts, the initial ‘B’ championship and then the ‘A’ championship.
Those feature teams representing communities — St. John’s, Corner Brook, Mount Pearl, etc. — while entries for the club championship come from the regular-season St. John’s and Corner Brook senior leagues.
There are eight teams entered in this weekend’s tournament, six from the St. John’s based circuit and two from Corner Brook.
Teams are divided into two pools. The defending champion RMM Gonzaga Vikings, Holy Cross and Storm from the St. John’s league are joined with the Wing N It Marlins of Corner Brook in one section, while Feildians, Knights and Shamrocks of St. John’s and Veitch Physiotherapy Aces of Corner Brook are in the other.
On Thursday, Janes (4R, 3ER, 4W, 1HBP) struck out five and scattered 11 hits for the Crusaders.
Dave Parsons of Holy Cross reached base five times on two hits and three walks and drove in two runs.
Matt Colbourne (7.1IP, 4H, 4R, 11W, 5K, 1HBP) started for the Storm, before giving way to reliever Blake Fudge ( 2.2IP, 1H, 2W 3K, 1HBP) in the first extra inning. Fudge took the loss on an unearned run.
Tyler Hennessey, Darren Colbourne, Matt Clarke and Jared Power each had two hits for the Storm.
In the Shammies' victory, Murphy (6H, 2R, 1ER, 1W, 7K) went the full seven innings for the decision over the Storm's Brandon Jackson (6IP, 9H, 6ER, 7W, 4K).
Dave Penney had two hits for the winners, while the Storm's Robert Peddle had three hits.
The teams from Corner Brook are set to arrive today and play their first games. With the Marlins taking on Gonzaga at 6 p.m. and Feildians playing the Aces at 8:30 p.m. Again, both games are St. Pat’s.
There will be no less than eight games played Saturday, when the Smallwood Field in Mount Pearl will be utilized.
Cross-over semifinals are tentatively set for 10 a.m. Sunday at St. Pat’s and Smallwood, the final scheduled for 2 p.m. at St. Pat’s.
There will be no tiebreaker games to determine playoff teams. Any ties in the pool standings will be broken using a formula based on runs allowed.