Although a steady rain eventually forced the cancellation of the ‘A’-side final of the Barwick fastball tournament Sunday, a familiar name was preparing to take the field.
The Emo Bulldogs, winners of the Rainy River District Fastball League title the past two seasons, found themselves in the final against Dryden after edging the host Barwick Blue Knights 8-7 in an exciting semi-final showdown.
Emo and Dryden, who advanced by downing Pinewood in the other semi-final, ended up splitting the first-place prize money.
Emo has dominated the diamond this season, compiling an 11-0 record in the RRDFL. The team boasts three players in the running for the home run title, with Sean Taggart sharing the league-lead with Pinewood’s John Desaulniers at six.
Emo’s Warren Voth (five) and Grant Swire (four) also are among the league leaders.
The Bulldogs also have the top two pitchers in the league in Sheldon Kelly (5-0) and Voth (4-0), along with veteran right-hander Gus Copenace.
And it was the Bulldogs who struck first against Barwick when Brent Tookenay belted a three-run blast in the top of the first. Dennis Mounk later stroked solo shot that helped Emo jump out to leads of 4-0 and 5-1 before Barwick fought back to close the gap at 5-4.
But it was the Bulldogs’ defence that won the game in the end. Leading 8-6 with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning, Swire threw out the potential tying run in George Oltsher, who was trying to score from second on a single, to end the game.
Copenace picked up the win on the mound for Emo while George Oltsher was tagged with the loss. Barwick shortstop Trevor Oltsher hit a three-run homer in a losing cause.
Emo earlier had trounced Big Island and Stratton by identical 12-2 scores to stay on the ‘A’-side heading into Sunday’s action.
Dryden was the top seed after dumping the Pinewood Bears 12-2 and thumping Sight & Sound 19-1. Pinewood was the third seed after shutting out the Bergs 12-0 but them losing 6-5 to Kakabeka Falls.
Barwick went on to win the third-place game Sunday under a light drizzle against Pinewood by a 9-2 score while Stratton took the ‘B’-final with a convincing 10-1 win over Big Island.