Midget Cards take home inaugural Sun Parlour championship

 

By Joel Charron

 

The Amherstburg Midget Cardinals made history over the weekend, taking home the inaugural Sun Parlour Midget League championship.

Midget CardinalsThe Cardinals entered the double-elimination tournament as the number one seed and marched through the tournament with a 4-1 record while outscoring their opponents 40-11.

“Those guys are a great group of ball players,” said manager Kris Meloche.

The road to the championship began Friday night in Chatham with forfeit win over Dresden.

Saturday morning in Windsor, their opponents proved to be much harder. Walker Homesites roughed up Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Wismer for three runs, however relievers Riley Meloche and Justin Garbutt worked together to keep Walker Homesites from extending the lead.

Amherstburg took the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Kyle Goodchild brought Cards within one with a two-run home run and two batters later Jackson Hills gave the Cardinals the lead with a two-run blast of his own.

“There is no way we should have won that game. We were out of it the whole game, right up until the bottom of the sixth,” he said.

“We knew they were going to be one of the tougher team to play,” said catcher Ryan Gignac. “When we beat them, especially coming from behind, we felt like we could go the rest of the way.”

Amherstburg continued the momentum with a dominating 11-3 over Wyoming later that evening in Essex.

Amherstburg  (3-0) headed into the semi-finals in Essex as the only undefeated team in tournament and kept their unblemished record intact, squeaking by Tecumseh 4-3.

Heading into the finals, Meloche said the group felt confident knowing that their opponent had to beat them twice to win the championship.

“We definitely felt like the chips were all on our side,” said Meloche.

Amherstburg got a jolt to the system, narrowly dropping the first game 3-2 to Wyoming, however Amherstburg dominated the second game 11-2.

Goodchild, who hadn’t pitched the entire tournament to that point, pitched a masterful 93-pitch complete game allowing five hits, two walks and sitting down six.

“Everyone was ecstatic,” said Meloche following the finals win. “Everyone worked really hard for this. This is something they wanted and the went out and got it.”

“It took a little while for it to sink in but it’s a pretty cool feeling knowing that Amherstburg is going to be the first name on that trophy forever,” said Gignac.

Meloche praised his pitching staff for not allowing a team to score more than three runs through out the tournament.

He also credited starting catcher Ryan Gignac for having a “stellar” weekend.

“That kid is all effort all the time,” stated Meloche. “He was diving into fences, he was hustling on and off the field. He was behind the plate the entire weekend and that’s a very hard thing to do. He plays the game right.”

After months of uncertainty, Meloche believes the Midget Cardinals are finally reaching their potential.

“There’s not much we can do for these guys any more. Todd and I just sit back and watch the show,” said Meloche. “They are playing at a very high level right now. This team turned a lot of heads over the weekend.”

“I think we had a pretty big target on our back not only for the tournament but the entire season,” said Gignac. “Everyone wanted to beat Amherstburg. We came into the weekend with a point to prove and we did a pretty solid job of doing that.”
The Midget Cardinals now have their sights set on the Midget A OBA title Aug 23-25 in Sarnia.

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