PETIT DE GRAT: The Petit de Grat Red Caps have won back-to-back Richmond Amateur Baseball Association (RABA) titles.
The Red Caps took the 2019 championship, and with the league cancelling all play in 2020 then resuming this year, Petit de Grat is once again league champs following a 14-7 win over the Isle Madame Mariners on Sept. 12 at the ballfield in Petit de Grat.
Petit de Grat was perfect during the weekend tournament, beating St. Peter’s on Saturday morning, then beating the Little Anse Hawks in extra winnings that night.
Red Caps catcher Warren Olsen was the hero, hitting a single between third base and shortstop to give his team a 6-5 win.
“I wanted to come through or the boys. I had missed a chance a few innings earlier to cash a run. Don (Fougere) had pitched his heart out, then Richard (Boudreau) came in and held the fort. We had battled so hard, I just wanted to win for the boys. Certainly an amazing feeling to be able to do it, and very emotional for sure,” Olsen told The Reporter.
“That was the game of the tournament, the Saturday night game against Little Anse because it puts the team in the driver’s seat; you have to be beaten twice. When it gets late in the tournament, the pitching is a concern,” Red Caps player/manager Richard Boudreau said. “It was played well by both teams. It was like classic Little Anse-Red Caps games from years ago. It was a nail-biter, great for the fans.”
RABA president Gary David agreed.
“The Petit de Grat-Little Anse game on Saturday, the game that was going to decide the 2-0 team, was probably one of the best games that I’ve seen in a number of years,” he said. “There were very few errors, if any, in that game.”
Boudreau said the team played well all year, with solid pitching, tight defense and timely hitting, including contributions from some of their younger players.
“We’re fundamentally, really sound,” he noted. “The young kids, they’re learning, they’re pinch running, everybody is pitching in. These kids are the future of the Red Caps.”
Although some veterans didn’t hit this year as they did in past seasons, Boudreau said players like Ron Savoury, Shaun Boudreau and Don Fougere came through with big plays and hits on the weekend.
“They’re veterans, in the back of your mind, you know when it comes to pressure situations, the veterans are tough,” he said.
At the plate, Petit de Grat’s biggest threat was shortstop Maurice Boudreau, who had several big RBIs during throughout the playoffs.
However in Sunday’s final, Boudreau said they played probably their worst defensive game of the year, and were unable to cash in baserunners early in the game, allowing the Mariners to get out to a 3-0 lead. In the third inning, however, the Red Caps stormed back with 11 runs to seal the win.
While the Red Caps were without the services of Bryden Boudreau on Sunday, shortstop and pitcher Zach Bond and catcher Dobson Boudreau were both unavailable to the Mariners all weekend as they were playing with Dalhousie University and StFX baseball teams, respectively.
Despite expressing disappointment in St. Peter’s forfeiting their final game because of a lack of players, David said there were big crowds all weekend who were treated to great baseball.
“It wasn’t an easy year, that’s part and parcel of the problem this year. But it turned out really well, the weather cooperated through most of the year, we had very few games cancelled due to the weather,” he said. “The players themselves got to play some baseball, doing what they love to do. The fans got to see some decent baseball all weekend. I can’t complain. The quality of baseball was good and the players played hard, pretty well every game, and that’s all you want.”
Boudreau estimated there were hundreds at the ballfield throughout the weekend.
“It was good to see, last year with the COVID, we had exhibition games but it wasn’t like a regular season,” he said. “But at least this year we had a dozen games anyway and the tournament so it brought things back to normality and I think the people were quite happy to get out, have a place to go out, a place to socialize, watch some baseball, and the canteen did well.”
David added hopes that the 2022 season will mean a return to normal, with the regular season starting at the beginning of the July and playoffs starting in the middle of August. He said the league will discuss hosting 50th anniversary celebrations for the RABA during its AGM in October.
The win comes approximately six months after the passing of long-time Red Cap player/manager Barry Marchand.
“Winning never gets old but certainly this one carried a little more emotion for some of us given that Barry passed away this spring,” Olsen added. “It sure felt like he was with us at times. I know for his son-in-law and grandson (Don and Laurier Fougere), it was emotional after the final out, and it was for many of us older guys and some of our fans. Taking our team picture in front of his number 41 just felt like such a fitting end to the year. He was with us one final time.”