The poor skunk the team passed on the road to Game 1 didn’t survive but the Ironmen not only survived – they prevailed. Winning 4 of the final 5 games, the Ironmen were declared the New Brunswick Senior Baseball League Champions for 2013.
Playing before a packed house at Ironmen Field another magical moment was presented as they defeated the Royals 8-3 behind Jamie Walls, who earned his second victory in the series and this coming off a two day rest.
Fredericton had the so called “name” players, but the Ironmen had the better team when it came to the little things.This was a real team, not just a rah-rah group. They supported each other.
The team lost a number of players from last year and expectations were that it would be a rebuilding year. Some rebuild, more like re-load.
Robert Gallant certainly filled in the shortstop hole, Kris Mckay likewise at 2nd and veteran Brian St. Coeur had a break out year. Marc Pitre filled in quite well in left and Brad Gallant had some big hits over the year.
The veterans picked their game up a notch in the playoffs as Orry Cook showed why he is one of the top players in the league, Andrew Burns really played at a higher level in the playoffs and clutch hitter Darren Hardy, although not as magical as the “skittles” home run, got a huge hit to drive in two runs to break the game open.
The captain, Jon Saunders had a great playoff while hitting a couple of big important home runs in the final series and displaying good defense at 1st and veteran leadership on the field.
League MVP Kris Keating continued to get big hits and make big plays in the field. It seemed he always came up big when the situation called for it.
JF Neveu came home, got two big wins and went back to work out west. He and Walls epitomized the Ironmen spirit and they both put it on display. They showed it on the mound the others followed suit. The Fredericton bats were held down after Game 1. Maybe a slump? Good pitching causes batting slumps.
There are others too numerous to mention who made big contributions this year and it always seemed that someone different came up big when needed. This team had all the intangibles. To quote the eloquent Paddy Quinn – “Heart, Soul and Gritty performances never show up in a box score”
A big thank you to the fans. You are a big part of the win. The fan support was amazing. Best fans in Canada? – Probably. Again-Thank you.
Finally the Ironmen may have won a championship but I think they also left something for people to consider. The players came from all parts of the river and worked together to accomplish a goal that a lot of people thought would be unattainable. These were our boys-not someone from away but someone you usually see around the city. United they accomplished a lot.
Well done boys, Provincial Champions. You deserve it. Now go get a Newfoundland dictionary. Jeez b’y we’re goin to da Rock as N.B. Champions.
Passed a dead skunk on the highway on the way to the game last night. Little did anyone know that it was a sign of things to come.
We all knew the Ironmen would have a hiccup along the way as they have been playing great baseball and you can’t maintain that pace forever. However we didn’t expect it to be a “what is going on here?” game.
On Saturday,the Ironmen had a game that best described would start with “Did you ever have one of those days?”. Nothing they did seemed to work (9 errors – dropped fly balls, grounders that gloves didn’t find and errant throws, one of which hit Bill Saunders wife on the foot while she was sitting in the stands), offense that went missing at times and a night when the Royals could do nothing wrong at the plate or in the field making it a 23-3 loss. Nine errors is equivalent to three extra innigs at bat for the Royals.
The team fell as a team on Saturday as what ever it was that caused the problems was contagious , but these guys will lick their wounds and come together to rise and fight another day. Too resilient to be held back by one game. Too much character to stay down.
Quick now-did anyone really think the Ironmen were going to beat Fredericton 4 straight?