A pair of ugly innings was all it took to spoil the weekend for the Napanee AFW Construction U19 Express at provincials, which were held last weekend in Owen Sound.
After opening the tournament with a 4-0 win over Tavistock, the Express promptly dropped their next two games and were eliminated.
Riley Manion delivered a gem in the tournament opener, tossing seven shutout innings while striking out 14 and allowing just three hits.
They fell 8-4 to Caledonia and were ousted from the double knockout tournament with a 4-1 loss to Chepstow.
It wasn’t exactly the weekend the Express were hoping for just two weeks out from hosting the Under-19 Men’s Canadian Fast Pitch Championship.
But the team isn’t panicking either.
“With the Canadians ahead some teams are looking at (provincials) as though this is their last weekend and other teams are strategizing and getting ready for Canadians,” said Express head coach Bryan Brooks. “It’s a little bit of a different tournament. Sometimes teams throw pitchers in a bit of a different situation than usual and it’s tough to gage how things were going.”
After the tidy win over Tavistock, the Express were a different team in their next game.
“We kind of had some miscues against Caledonia and they capitalized,” said Brooks. “We just had a bad inning. The score looks like it was 8-4 but we had six run in one inning. We’ll look to take those out of our game.”
All told 10 of the 12 runs the Express allowed over the weekend were surrendered in two innings.
“It’s been awhile since we had some real good competition,” said Brooks. “It’ll be nice to get that out of the way.”
Shallow Lake went on to top Chepstow 5-2 to claim the provincial title.
Both teams will be in Napanee Aug. 14-19 to take part in the Canadians.
While it wasn’t the outcome he was hoping for, Brooks said the Express have been taking a long term view of the season all year long, with the goal of winning gold at home during the Canadians.
n The Napanee Peewees were in Simcoe this weekend to take part in the peewee provincials, going 2-2.
The team got off to a hot start with the bats, cruising to a 13-3 win over Brussels. They continued to swing it in their next game but found themselves on the wrong end of a slugfest, falling 9-8 to Owen Sound/Shallow Lake.
They rebounded with a 13-6 win over Rostock in a must win game but were eliminated following a 3-1 pitcher’s duel loss to the host Simcoe team.
Simcoe went on the win the provincial title while Owen Sound/Shallow Lake took silver.
n Meanwhile the Napanee Under-16 Bantams will be in Innerkip, Ont this week for the Under-16 Canadian Fast Pitch Championship, which begins today and runs through Sunday.
They’ll be playing as Ontario’s third entry.
Their first game was against the Saskatoon Selects. Results weren’t known at presstime. They play Quebec today at 10 a.m. Check www.napaneebeaver for daily updates from the tournament.