U20 Express go 3-2 at eliminations, U15 Express finish 2-2

The AFW U20 Express infield holds a meeting on the pitcher's circle. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

Adam Prudhomme

Fast starts gave way to sudden exits for a pair of Napanee Express boys teams over the July 5-7 weekend.

Both the U20 and U15 teams were taking part in eliminations over that span, the elders in Cobourg, the U15 group in New Hamburg.

The U15 Express opened the weekend with a convincing 9-1 victory over Ennismore. They kept the bats rolling in Saturday’s action, winning a wild 10-9 affair against Wilmot. The bats went cold from there as the Express dropped back-to-back games, 6-1 to Elmira and 6-4 in a rematch with Ennismore. Their 2-2 finish landed them in sixth place outside the top four required to qualify for Nationals. Elmira would go on the win the gold, Tavistock earned silver while Tara captured bronze and Ennismore picking up the fourth spot.

The AFW U20 Express had a similar experience at their eliminations, winning three straight before watching their offense completely dried up in consecutive losses to end their run at the double-knockout tournament. Fortunately for the U20 Express they already have their spot at Nationals locked up as the reigning defending champions, earning an automatic berth.

Napanee began the elimination tournament with a 4-3 win over Fingal, with Aiden Reddick playing the hero with a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning. Gavin Brooks picked up the win.

On Saturday they defeated Hillsdale 7-2, with Brooks again earning the win.

After falling behind 2-0 early, the Express rallied back with two in their half of the inning. Ethan Sutcliffe, Matt Airhart and Dylan Kemp helped lead the offense, combining for six of the team’s 10 hits.

Napanee’s bats were still hot in the third game, producing nine runs in a 9-2 win over Tavistock. Reddick, Rivor Taylor and Kemp each drove in a run.

Ethan Tombs secured the win for Napanee.

The Express ran into tough pitching from there, losing 7-0 to New Hamburg and 6-0 to Chatsworth, eliminating them from the tournament.

The Rostock Braves earned gold, Plattsville Lightning silver and Elmira bronze.

The U20 Men’s Canadians Championship will take place Aug. 20-25 in Carp, On.

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