Yellowjackets host OBA tournament

Filed under: In Our Community,Sports |

OBA-Tourneyby Fred Groves

For the second consecutive year, the Essex Minor Baseball Association, which celebrated its 60th Anniversary this summer, has hosted a provincial championship.

This past Labour Day weekend, at the Co-An Park in McGregor, it was the Ontario Minor Baseball Association Mosquito Major ‘C’ title that was up for grabs.

“It’s a very strong age group. There are teams that are very competitive,” Essex Yellowjackets coach, Brendan Byrne, said.

The hosts opened up tough Friday afternoon, facing Dorchester, which came into the tournament with a reportedly 27-0-1 record during its regular season.

“Dorchester did really well, they are a good ball team. We hung with them until the fifth inning.”

Essex came up short 11-2 in that first game, which had Yellowjackets’ Michael Pye rip a long trip and then score on a two-out rbi single.

Defensively, shortstop Ryan Whittaker made a great play when he nabbed a hard-hit ball just inches off the ground and then doubled off the runner over on first.

“They were excited about playing. They’ve had a fantastic season and won the ‘B’ tournament in LaSalle,” Byrne said of his team.

In its second game, played at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, Essex was beaten by another good team, Hanover, 10-5. In that one, Byrne’s son was hit in the eye with a wild pitch in the first inning.

While Essex hosted the mosquito major event, Kingsville had the OBA Rookie division at its diamonds and Bryne noticed lots of movement of baseball fans between both centres.

There were 12 teams out playing on the six diamonds in McGregor, and Bryne said it seems there are a lot of ball players in this particular age group as each team had at least 12 players on its roster. He also said Co-An Park is a great facility to have such a big tournament.

“It’s fantastic. We’ve had nothing but compliments about the park and of the umpiring.”

In the OBA championship, which started Friday afternoon and ended late on Sunday, Listowel beat Dorchester in the final.