OFSAA Baseball Championships
The Holy Names Knights from Windsor had never won an OFSAA Baseball Championship heading into the 2011 season, however once they made it in to the tournament, they knew that anything was possible.
The Knights excelled during regular season play and looked to keep that momentum going into the divisional finals. In May, the team took a major step towards the OFSAA championship when they found themselves in the WECSSAA divisional championships. The Knights advanced to the finals after beating Villanova 9-0 in the semi-finals, and were up against the 2010 OFSAA provincial champions from Vincent Massey Secondary School. In the championship game, Knight’s pitcher Brett Siddall was in championship form allowing just one hit over the first four innings. The Knights rode Siddall’s excellent performance and got some timely hitting to claim the championship by a final score of 4-1.
With that divisional win, The Knights then advanced to play in the SWOSSAA Championships held on June 2 and 3. The team exerted its dominance over the Petrolia Lambton-Central Lancers in a 12-2 game that was shortened due to enforcement of the tournament’s mercy rule.
With two regional championships under their belt, the Knights went looking for more as they went into the OFSAA championships at the Rogers Center in Toronto bursting with confidence. The only things standing in their way from the OFSAA Championship were 15 other baseball teams from all over Ontario. Many of the boys had never played in a Major League park before, adding to the experience of competing for a provincial championship.
The Knights finished pool play with an impressive 3-0 record that included a win over the Ancaster Royals in the OFSAA West Regional finals to reach the semi-finals. The Knights seemed to be in a good position in their semi-final match up against St. Michael’s College, as they held a commanding 8-3 lead going into the seventh and final inning. St. Michael’s slowly chipped away though, making it 8-7 with runners on first and second base with two outs. With the pressure on, Knights closer Connor Soulliere made a clutch play to step off the pitcher’s mound and catch the base runner in a rundown, ending the drama and sending the Knights to the Championship game.
In the other semi-final, the Royals had a much easier time advancing after they dispatched the St Marguerite D’Youville Panthers 11-0.
After losing to the Knights once already in the tournament, the Royals were hungry for revenge and their play showed. The pitchers on both teams were the story in the first two innings of the game, as neither team’s offense could get anything going. The Royals were able to break the deadlock and took a 1-0 lead in the 3rd inning. The Knights showed their resiliency as they managed a run in the 5th inning to tie it up.
The game remained tied at the end of the 7th inning so the interesting extra innings rule came in to place and saw each team start with a base runner on second base to start the 8th inning. The Knights took advantage and scored on a sacrifice bunt to go ahead 2-1. The Royals simply would not quit and were rewarded with a bit of luck, as Bobby St. Pierre got caught in a rundown between third base and home. Knights catcher Todd Barta made a throw to the third baseman, which proved costly as it hit St. Pierre’s helmet and bounced into the outfield, allowing him to score.
Just as they have the entire tournament, the Royals’ hitting came up clutch, gaining 2 more runs in the top of the 9th inning to give them a 4-2 lead. In the bottom of the 9th, the drama continued as the Knights were able to tie up the game again at 4-4 with a bases-loaded double.
With only one out, the Knights still had men on second and third when Spencer Church looped a pop fly into short right field to score Jake Lumley and to win the OFSAA Championship in a walk-off.
The Knights were ecstatic to win their first Championship and were even more surprised when former Blue Jays second baseman, Roberto Alomar, presented the medals and the Prentice Cup to Holy Names. After Vincent Massey took home the Championships last year, the Knights are proud to make it two straight for Windsor area high schools.