Mike Simms sees a deep pitching staff on the opposing side of the diamond as the big challenge for his team in the quest for a Corner Brook senior baseball playoff crown.
Simms is a speedy outfielder and contact hitter for the Veitch Ultramar Hawks squad tangling with the Veitch Wellness Aces in one of two best-of-five semifinal series set to get underway Sunday at Jubilee Field.
“It’s going to be a very tough challenge,” Simms said of the matchup between two teams who finished the regular season with identical records. “They have the most pitching depth in the league so it will a tough series.”
Simms respects an Aces pitching staff that features Michael Tavenor and Brian Bennett leading the way, but no matter who is on the hill he thinks the Hawks can only make a run for the championship if they make defence a priority because that’s what all championship teams appear to do well when they get the job done.
“I don’t worry as much about the offence because there’s a lot of different ways you can score a run, but you have to keep the other team off the scoreboard,” Simms said.
Playoff time is usually the fuel that drives players to bring their game to another level and Simms doesn’t see this playoff picture being any different.
“One error could kill you. It’s probably going to be 1-2 run games,” he said.
Ryan Patey, looking for his first senior baseball playoff title as a platoon first baseman with the opposing Aces, believes his team will have to be on top of their game to knock off a Hawks squad that boasts a lot of seasoned veterans and are the favourites going into the series.
“They’ve obviously been around. They know how to win,” Patey said.
Patey has never won a playoff title, but there are lots of guys on the other bench who have been down that road before so he knows the savvy of key veterans on the Hawks will prove to be a tough test.
“I think we may have the advantage in the pitching department, but they might have the overall experience advantage so it should be a good series,” he said.
Both teams have guys who can throw gems for their respective clubs, but that’s the area where Patey believes his team has an edge.
“We got one of the better pitching staffs so I guess that’s going to be the biggest test,” Patey said.
A look at the regular season
West Side Monarchs 14-9
Veitch Wellness Aces 13-11
Veitch Ultramar Hawks 13-11
Wing ‘N It Marlins 7-6
Note: Aces awarded second place based on better head-to-head record against the Hawks
Fact box 2
Semifinal round schedule
Sept. 16 — (1 p.m.) Marlins vs Monarchs Game 1
Sept. 16 — (4 p.m.) Hawks vs Aces Game 1
Sept. 17 — (7 p.m.) Monarchs vs Marlins Game 2
Sept. 18 — (7 p.m.) Aces vs Hawks Game 2
Sept. 20 — (7 p.m.) Marlins vs Monarchs Game 3
Sept. 21 — (7 p.m.) Hawks vs Aces Game 3
Sept. 23 — (1 p.m.) Aces vs Hawks Game 4 (if necessary)
Sept. 23 — (4 p.m.) Monarchs vs Marlins Game 4 (if necessary)
Sept. 24 — (7 p.m.) Hawks vs Aces Game 5 (if necessary)
Sept. 25 — (7 p.m.) Hawks vs Aces Game 5 (if necessary)