Essex Juniors win OBA championship

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JuniorsFREDby Fred Groves

The Essex Yellowjackets are Ontario Baseball Association ‘AA’ champions.

On August 18-20, the Wayne Nevin and Tom O’Neil coached team travelled to Chatham where it won five straight games to claim the junior provincial title.

In the final game, Essex easily blanked Mississauga South West 7-0, but it was not all shutout ball. The home team opened up with an 11-3 win over Stratford and then followed that up with a come-from-behind 8-6 win over Wyoming.

“I had a pretty good idea what teams were going there and I knew if we got past Stratford we would be in a good position,” Nevin said.

Against Wyoming, Essex was trailing 4-0 early in the game, but pitcher Ryan Holmes, called up from the midget squad, came on in relief and was solid in getting the win. Marcus MacEachran, who was the tournament Most Valuable Player, had a three-run homer.

Essex beat Mississauga 5-0 in another preliminary game and got by Walker Homesites 6-3.

“We work on things and you want to execute those and we did,” Nevin said.

Pitching was a big reason why Essex won the championship. Besides Holmes, Nik Motruck pitched against Stratford and allowed just three hits. In the final, Brandon Nevin only gave up three hits.

This is the third year Essex has had a Junior team, and last season it lost a heartbreaking 1-0 in the semis against London at the OBA tournament.

The Essex Junior Yellowjackets played in the Essex Senior Baseball League for the second straight year where they compiled a 7-8-2 record, but more importantly picked up some experience from older players.

“They played well,” Nevin said of winning the OBA. “We used the Senior League to get better.”

The future looks bright for the Junior Yellowjackets who will only lose five players out of 21.

“The guys coming in are pretty good,” Nevin commented.