DESPITE FALLING SHORT OF THEIR ULTIMATE GOAL AT THE 2023 TORONTO BASEBALL ASSOCIATION (TBA) 14U ‘A’ REP CHAMPIONSHIP GAME VERSUS THE BLOORDALE 14U ‘A’ BOMBERS AT NEILSON PARK, TORONTO PLAYGROUNDS EARNS A WELL DESERVED INVITATION TO THE BASEBALL ONTARIO (OBA) 14U ‘A’ REP PROVINCIAL TOURNAMENT AS THE ‘FINALIST’ AT THEIR TBA TOURNEY
Tournament Overview written by Kurt Neumann. Tournament Team Photo courtesy of Kurt Neumann. Tournament Postgame Photo courtesy of Danny Christopher.
After finishing the 2023 season with a solid win in their final regular season game, the TP 14U ‘A’ Rep boys were looking to carry their momentum into the 2023 Toronto Baseball Association (TBA) 14U ‘A’ Rep Championship Tournament.
Their first TBA playoff game began midafternoon on Friday, in rather cool and windy conditions at the Wishing Well Park diamond in Scarborough, amid a background of 401 commuters going nowhere fast! The opponent was the Royal York 14U ‘A’ Cardinals, a team that TP defeated in their first game of the season, but also lost a game to in their only other contest between them.
The lead went back and forth between the two teams until the final inning, at which point TP held a 7-5 lead. Royal York, having home advantage, proceeded to load the bases with nobody out in the bottom half of the final frame. With their starting pitcher reaching a pitch count in the 90’s, TP made a pitching change. Two quick pop outs on two successive pitches suddenly had the TP faithful tasting victory, needing only one more out to close the deal. Alas, the final out proved to be elusive as the Cardinals plated three runs for the walkoff victory, leaving TP crushed by the see-saw turn of events!
Toronto Playgrounds returned back to Wishing Well Park on Saturday, with the diamond bathed under warm and sunny conditions. TP began their morning with an early 9 a.m. affair against the Martingrove 14U ‘A’ White Sox. Tempers flared somewhat in the first inning after a Martingrove player was ejected from the proceedings for a “bat flip” that was directed towards the pitcher! Once the dust had settled, the TP boys demonstrated their resilience with a must-win performance that resulted in a convincing 9-3 win to stay alive at the TBA playoff tourney.
Later that Saturday, in a do or die 2 p.m. TBA playoff game at Wishing Well Park, TP’s next opponent was the Scarborough 14U ‘A’ Stingers, who had taken two of three games against TP during the regular season. The proceeding was a tight battle for most of the game, until TP 14U ‘A’ Rep found some offensive punch in the latter innings to build a nice lead, hanging on for a 12-5 victory over the Stingers. Still with only one loss, TP remained in the running under the double knockout elimination format of the tournament.
With only the top two teams qualifying for the Baseball Ontario (OBA) Provincial Tournament during the Labour Day weekend, TP now found itself only one victory away from attaining this goal.
Standing in their way were the North Toronto 14U A’s, who were looking to utilize their loud team chatter to rattle the TP players at the win or go home playoff game played earlier today at high noon. The North Toronto strategy backfired as TP channeled their energy and focus into the best countermeasure; namely putting runs on the board. Before too long, the A’s were feeling the heat and their dugout was much quieter as TP finished them off with an 11-3 drubbing.
Having now successfully won three playoff elimination games in a row, and also qualifying for the OBA Provincial tournament, there was just one other team left standing in TP’s way for the TBA championship tournament prize. Not surprisingly, this was the Bloordale 14U ‘A’ Bombers, who finished the regular season in first place.
The TP boys were feeling pretty gassed after four high leverage games in a pressure cooker 48-hour span. With their pitching arms taxed to the limit, TP 14U ‘A’ Rep were soundly defeated 16-3 in their final game by the Bombers.
Nevertheless, TP’s second place (finalist) showing at the TBA tourney was an excellent result, with the team finding its mojo at the optimum time, rising from sixth place in the regular season standings to Provincial qualifiers! Onwards boys…
On behalf of our entire baseball community, the Toronto Playgrounds Baseball Association (TPBA) wishes to extend their congratulations to Head Coach Rob Ball; Assistant Coaches Beth Arseneau and Ted Frankel; and the players of the TP 14U ‘A’ Rep Team for their finalist showing at the 2023 TBA 14U ‘A’ Rep Tournament.
The TPBA also wishes to commend all the 14U ‘A’ Rep coaches, players, parents and family members for representing the core values of Toronto Playgrounds Baseball Association program with honour, dignity and professionalism both on and off the diamond at the TBA tourney and during the course of the 2023 season.
Hi! Ho! Hi! Ho! It’s off to the provincials we go!
WAY TO GO, TP!