Leafs Spoil Fan Appreciation Day, Down Fat Cats 8-4 + Season Wrap-Up
The 2011 Regular Season came to an end for the Ottawa Fat Cats on Saturday. They played the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team that had won their last 4 games. The Cats seemed to be getting back into their mojo as of late, sweeping the Hamilton Thunderbirds last weekend, but the Fat Cats have been a pretty streaky team this year. For example, before the 3-game series vs. Hamilton, Ottawa was swept by Kitchener in a doubleheader. You never know what’s going to happen with the Fat Cats, which what made this season finale so interesting.
William Sebastian got the nod, and started on the mound for the Cats. He would go head-to-head with Sam Jew, a man who had started 8 games for the Leafs, but had yet to record a win.
The game was unusually fast paced for the first few innings. After inning number 2, Ottawa and Toronto were tied at 3.
After the 2nd inning, things cooled off. Chris Latimer scored Joe Stone on a sac fly to take the lead, however that would be the last of the Ottawa offence. Dan Marra had some timely base running in the 5th, and got himself in scoring position at the right time with a stolen base. Later in the inning, a single and a sac fly score Marra, and break things open for Toronto.
The Maple Leafs would go on to score 1 run per inning until the 8th. William Sebastian came out of the game after struggling in the 5th, and Josh Soffer allowed the Leafs to build up a lead. LaDale Hayes saw some action on the mound, after starting the game in LF for Ottawa (going 2/2). He would let the Leafs finish things off in the 9th,as Toronto scored 2 runs in that inning, to win the game 8-4. Leafs’ pitcher Sam Jew earned his first win of the year, also putting up a complete game.
A mediocre performance in the mid innings spelled the fate of the Fat Cats today, but the good start was fairly encouraging. If the team can play like they did at the beginning of the game during the playoffs, then we should be able to some noise. Our opponent is being decided as we speak. It will either be the Majors or the Leafs, depending on how the 2 teams perform during their last few games. If Toronto defeats the London Majors and the Burlington Twins on Sunday and Monday respectively, then we’ll be facing London. If they can’t pull it off, then Ottawa will have the privilege of playing the Leafs, one of the hottest teams in the IBL right now. It’s going to be a hectic last few games this season.
Personally, I’d much rather face the London Majors in the first round. Even though they’ve had been in that upper echelon of this league all season, we’ve done better against London (3-2) than we have vs. Toronto (1-4). Also, if you take the play of these 2 teams during the last week or so into consideration, the Leafs are on a 5-game winning streak, while London is below .500 in their last 5. In case you’re wondering, the Fat Cats have gone 3-2 in their last 5 games. So even we have been playing more prominently than the Majors as of late.
Wrapping up the 2011 Season
In 2010, there were 9 teams in the IBL, with 8 of those 9 teams making the playoffs. In their inaugural season, the Ottawa Fat Cats had the embarrassing distinction of being the only team to miss the playoffs. This year, Ottawa was poised to make sure that that didn’t happen. While there was only 8 teams in the league this season after Guelph’s departure, meaning everyone makes the playoffs, I’m sure that the Ottawa’s goal was to finish with a respectable record by the end of the season.
In the end, while we didn’t manage to finish over .500, I think that the 16-18 record and 6th place finish that Ottawa mustered up is more than respectable for a team in their 2nd season. Returning players like Latimer, Mombo, McGovern and Desclouds provided the experience; import players Howroyd, Hayes, Dietrich and Mathis provided the star power; and depth players like Joly, Stone and Charette provided the support.
All of these assets proved to create a winning formula. While the Fat Cats weren’t the best team in the league, they were definitely had a lot of heart and determination. The gruelling 7 hour road trips, 16 inning marathons and tough tests from worthy opponents, helped this team bond throughout the year.
This team will face it’s first test, as it guns for the Dominico Trophy for the first time this August. How will this team adjust for the playoffs? Stay tuned to find out, because this season is just starting. Heart is what makes a true champion, and that’s why the Fat Cats have a legitimate chance has a league title. The question is, will Ottawa’s streaky regular season translate into an early exit, or can they exile their demons, and become a force to be reckoned with?
I am proud to be a Fat Cats fan after this regular season, and I hope that this team stays for years to come… whether it’s at Ottawa Stadium or somewhere else in the area, as long as I have my Fat Cats, I’ll be happy.
Thanks for following this blog during the season, and keep checking this page for updates throughout the playoffs!