PETIT DE GRAT: The Little Anse Hawks’ drive for five ended with the guys claiming their fifth consecutive Richmond Amateur Baseball Association (RABA) league championship last Friday night.
“It never gets old,” said Little Anse player/coach Ryan Samson, following a series-clinching 19-4 win in game four last Friday night. “Five in a row is a great accomplishment for our squad, but it gets tougher every year. All the teams are getting stronger and stronger.
“The Red Caps have a lot of 20-some guys on their roster, and they really came together to be a strong team. The Mariners – you can’t take anything away from those guys. They were great, and Inverness has a good squad. St. Peter’s are coming along, and Port Hawkesbury had a great season.
“To keep winning with all these teams getting stronger is a great accomplishment.”
It was the Petit de Grat Red Caps, who finished first in the regular season, that challenged the Hawks in the championship series. Last Friday night’s win clinched the series 3-1 for the Hawks.
Games one and two went in the Hawks’ favour, by scores of 9-3 and 16-13. However, Petit de Grat fought back in game three, winning 7-3 to keep them in the hunt for the league trophy. Those three games took place on September 8, 9, and 10 respectively. Game four took place last Friday night and, though the win seemed lopsided, Samson said the Red Caps put up a tough fight throughout the series.
“We got some breaks early, and it’s just the way the balls roll sometimes,” Samson said of game four. “It’s not every day that you’re going to put 19 runs on any team, let alone the Red Caps. It was one of those days when everybody hit. I could play another 10 years, and not see another game like that. We got all the breaks.
“Tyler Babin pitched a great game for us, and capped it off with a three-run homerun to make it 19-4. It was one of those games where we could do no wrong at the plate.”
The Red Caps came close to winning the second game. Even though the final was 16-13, the Red Caps were in control in the early going. Indeed, had the Caps won that one and taken game three, the Hawks would have been on their heels come game four.
“They never said die,” said Samson. “By the second inning of the second game of the series, it was looking pretty grim. They had us down 9-0, but we kept chipping away. In the end, it was 16-13 but it was tough battle.
“And in game three, we didn’t have any answers for them.”
Though Samson credits good hitting and a full-team effort to the series win, he noted Leigh Bourque was a standout and deserved to be named this season’s play-off MVP. Bourque was given the honour after the final game.
For Petit de Grat’s part, player/coach Richard Boudreau said a lackluster first few innings in game four really hurt the Red Caps.
“We threw one of the worst defensive innings since I can remember,” said Boudreau. “We were down 5-0 and it should have been, maybe, 1-0. The next inning, we were throwing the ball around again. I think they were up 10-0 or 11-0, and I’m sure they only had two or three earned runs.
“After that, they hit the ball pretty well, but I think the start we had put us behind the eight ball. There was no catching up after that. That’s ball.”
Boudreau said it was a competitive series, besides that final outing. With that, the play-offs topped of a great season for the Red Caps.