Badgers Comeback Falls Short
London Badgers BaseballGreg Bowman
The Baseball Canada 18U Championship is always prone to some fireworks. It’s the biggest stage many of the young athletes have ever played on. The culmination of pressure, along with the pure desire to win makes for some thoroughly exciting baseball.
The London Badgers’ second game of the tournament was no exception, as they narrowly fell to Team Quebec 7-6 under the lights of Labatt Park.
The Badgers were down 7-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning. They scored three runs and had the tying run standing at third base, but came up short.
“They have the ability to always battle back,” said Head Coach Mike Lumley on his team’s resiliency. “You can hear them all game [yelling] ‘we’re down four’ or ‘we’re down five’. There’s no change in their attitude. There’s no quit. And that’s perfect. That’s exactly what we want.”
Team Quebec was one of the hottest teams of the tournament coming into Friday night’s game. They had a team batting average of around .400 and scored 21 runs over their first two games against New Brunswick and Saskatchewan – which were both wins.
Quebec continued swinging the bat well in their third tilt, putting two runs on the board in the top of the first inning. They added two more runs in the top of the third inning with a single and two doubles in quick succession.
Quebec tacked on another run in the top of the fourth, but London responded with a run of their own in the bottom half with a David Williams RBI single. The teams exchanged runs over the next couple of innings, but London began to take control of the momentum.
“When you take how we started the game and how we finished the game, we won the last half of the game,” commented Lumley on the Badgers comeback.
While Quebec led 6-3 in the sixth inning, Anthony Gilbert corked a home run over the left-field fence to squash London’s momentum. Or, so he thought.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Ryan Bonter got aboard with a leadoff double coming in as a pinch hitter, eventually scoring on an error. Braydon Verschueren kept the rally going, singling to the shortstop for his second hit of the evening. Then, Noah Riley knocked a ball deep into right field which scored two and put him on third with a triple. Riley would not move from third though, as Alfonso Villalobos completed the save to end the game.
As for the rest of the tournament, the Badgers will play twice on Saturday. The heartbreaking loss against Quebec won’t be devasting to London’s place in the tournament. They will need good results in their games against Saskatchewan and New Brunswick to end up with a good seed for the knockout round.
The Badgers will begin their doubleheader at 10am against Saskatchewan, then continue at 3pm against New Brunswick. Both games will be played at Labatt Park.