TORONTO PLAYGROUNDS TOP THE ATHLETICS TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL AT ADAMS PARKTournament Championship Game Post by Vincent Lynch. Photo courtesy of Ilana Banks.
The Toronto Playgrounds Rookie Ball Selects made it to the West Hill Tournament championship game based on an 4-0 record over Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning. On a scorching hot day, they took on the North Toronto A’s for the big enchilada of being crowned champions.
TP lost the coin toss and ended up as visitors for the championship final. This may have been a blessing in disguise as they were able to go to bat first in a game where nerves were tense. TP came up free swinging and tested North Toronto’s defense early and often in the top of the first. TP started out with three singles by Liam (17), Emmett (8) and Sam (2). Jordy (1) then came up and delivered an RBI single to get TP on the scoreboard. Then Marshall (20) came up and crushed a 3 RBI double to the outfield which cleared the bases and gave TP a quick 4-0 lead.
The hit parade continued with Desmond (3) collecting a single and Dylan (9) moved him to second on a fielders choice. Thomas (10) smashed one between third and shortstop to cash in Desmond and make it 5-0. Then Rennick (4) kept the pressure on the A’s with a RBI single before the third out. When the dust had finally settled, TP had managed to stake themselves to an early 6-0 lead.
But North Toronto was not going to lie down and give up as they came out firing too in the bottom of the first and managed to answer back with two runs to trim the deficit to four. However, some stellar TP defense quelled the A’s insurgency: a 4-3 put out by second baseman Jordy and first baseman Sam (2); a strike out; and an unassisted putout by first baseman Sam (2).
Then TP’s bats went quiet for two innings due to some excellent defensive play by North Toronto. TP scattered three hits over two frames, with Markus (29), Sam (2) and Desmond (3) getting hits. But their efforts went for naught as they were left stranded on base.
TP’s defense was almost equally as impressive. In the second, Liam, who was playing shortstop, made two impressive outs by scooping up ground balls and throwing over to Dante (19) at first. Emmett, who was playing at second base, snagged a line drive to register an out and close out the second inning. In the third, Sam collected two unassisted groundouts at first base. And Dante, at second base, gobbled up a groundball and tagged the advancing baserunner. However, North Toronto managed to score one run in the third and closed the gap to 6-3.
In the top of the fourth, TP went down fairly quickly with only Desmond registering a hit.
In the bottom of the fourth, North Toronto got some baserunners on first. But the TP defense stymied them before they could get to second. First rover Desmond threw to second for a force out; then third baseman Marshall (20) vacuumed up a hot shot and threw to second for a force out; and finally, Jordy scooped up a grounder at second base and tagged the A’s baserunner before he could get by him on his way to second.
In the fifth inning, TP got the offense going again. After Eitan (7) stroked a single, Dante crushed a RBI double that put TP up 7-3.
In the bottom of the fifth, TP’s defense was awesome in preserving its four run lead. In a TSN ‘Top Ten’ worthy play, Emmett, playing second base, ranged back to the fringe of the infield to snag a line drive fly ball; and then, after a strike out, first baseman Dante had an unassisted putout at first.
TP was now two innings away from securing the championship and starting counting the outs! However, North Toronto was not going to make it easy. The pesky A’s rallied for two runs in the bottom of the sixth to close the gap to 7-5.
In the top of the seventh, TP got a pair of hits from Jordy and Desmond, but were unable to get them home.
This set up the final frame…the bottom of the seventh, where TP needed to keep North Toronto at bay to close out the game. The inning started with a pretty standard 4-3 put out from second baseman Jordy (1) to first baseman Sam. But then the A’s threatened by managing to get some runners on base.
After a massive hit to centre field, the North Toronto baserunners advanced and one attempted to score. However, after first baseman Sam took the relay throw from centre field, he turned and gunned the ball home. TP catcher Milo (45) caught the throw and had the A’s baserunner dead to rights as he approached home. Realizing that there was no way to get to the plate, the A’s baserunner veered off the third baseline and was called out by the home plate umpire.
With two outs and a two run cushion, TP was one out from securing the championship. The next North Toronto batter hit a sharp grounder to shortstop Liam, who took matters into his own hands by sprinting to second base and touching the bag to register the force out and ring up the final out of the game.
At this juncture, the gloves and hats ascended into the air as the TP Rookie Ball Selects celebrated their tournament championship victory at Adams Park.
The TP players were ecstatic about their tournament victory. However, they were also great sports and applauded their North Toronto opponents as they collected their consolation tournament trophies.
Liam was named the TP game MVP and the kids were called up individually to proudly accept their championship trophies!