By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
Things may not have aligned for Oshawa’s U18 elite Legionaires at the Ontario Eliminations tournament, but despite the result, the club was able to capture some much needed momentum to carry into their upcoming season finale.
From July 29 to Aug. 1, the club travelled to Burlington to compete in the Ontario Eliminations tournament. A victory here would punch the team’s ticket to the national championship, one of the top achievements for junior baseballers.
Unfortunately, the club was eliminated with a 1-2 record. However, the sole victory was a big one for the team, coming out on top against a top London team.
“It was by far the biggest upset of the tournament,” says team manager Daryl Macklem.
“That win sent shockwaves through the tournament the next day.”
And while it did not advance the Oshawa club to the next round, it may have provided something better – much needed momentum for the team’s season finale.
In order to push ahead to the Ontario Championships, the club must battle against local clubs from Whitby and Pickering, with two of the three teams advancing.
Currently, the Eastern Ontario Baseball Association (EOBA) has not released details about the playdowns or what format the playoff will take.
Whatever the form, Macklem says he is confident his club will be able to put together a string of solid innings. At the Eliminations Tournament, the club kept things close, only losing by a single run in the opener against Toronto, and a 7-3 loss to Brampton.
“I think it proved to them that they can play with everyone,” he says.
“If they go out there and play the way we’ve been talking about playing, manage the baseball and don’t give up free bases, we can compete.”