september2010

Pickering Fastball

September 22, 2010

Pickering, ON


On a perfect night, on the last day of summer 2010, the Pickering Sting overcame age and injuries to win their 4th playoff crown in 5 years in the Pickering (Ontario) Men’s Fastball League.

  After 4 successive 1st place finishes this group of primarily veteran players limped into 3rd place this year and expectations around the league were that the changing of the guard was about to happen as the younger, faster teams were becoming too much for them to handle, and no longer considered the Sting invincible.  Refusing to let destiny decide their fate they battled through to make the semi-finals and then managed to win a hard fought 2 out of 3 series from Knight’s Corner, which included them being handed an 11-2 loss, as the injuries mounted.

  In the first game of the 2 out of 3 finals against the Pickering Panthers they were literally overwhelmed by speed and a cockiness being displayed against them they hadn’t seen in league play before and were handed a 9-3 loss.   Game 2 was scheduled for two nights later and with the Sting squad looking every bit their age it looked like the end was near.  Then it rained.  Giving the Sting a week to heal and rest.  Although no one else gave them much of a chance, they now believed they could take 2 straight from these young guns.  Game 2 saw things pretty much even until a 3 run blast from Glen Sellars pushed the Sting to a 4-1 victory and evened the series at one. 

The third and deciding game (last night) drew the largest crowd of the summer to the ballpark.  Most thinking they were attending the crowning of a new champion.  In the huddle before the game Gary Latchford kept it simple.  “Defence is going to win this game”.  BJ Foucault started on the mound with son PJ doing the catching.  The Panthers jump out to a 1-0 lead in the first, and then the boys took Gary’s words to heart.  Fielding ground ball after ground ball and making every play.  Then in the 4th big Paul “BJ” Foucault  caught up to one that left the yard in a hurry and suddenly with the score knotted at one a murmur went through the crowd that maybe the Sting weren’t done yet.  In the fifth with 2 outs and a runner at 2nd, Matt Smith one of the few young guys on the Sting squad, hit one the opposite way to right/center and the Sting found themselves in front 2-1.  Veteran hurler Gary Latchford took over for BJ on the mound and relied on all his years of experience to shut down the youngsters over the final 3 frames, striking out the last two hitters in the bottom of the seventh to give the Sting the impossible victory. 

Well deserved congratulations to Gary Latchford, BJ Foucault, (son) PJ Foucault, Mike Racioppo, Mark Thompson, Peter Hazelton, Mike O’Hearn, Glen Sellars, Troy Montrait, Matt Smith, Bass Hassanpour, Gavin Forbes, and Mike Hutchinson.  


O'Hearn, Mike
mohearn(at)utpress.utoronto.ca
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