Cinderella Run Continues: Fat Cats sweep Barrie!
Many Fat Cats fans, including myself, are still in shock over the first round win that the Fat Cats pulled off against London. Now, the Fat Cats are going to the IBL final after not only defeating the pennant-winning Barrie Baycats, but sweeping them. If you told me that the Fat Cats would accomplish all of this in May, I’d laugh.
I’m really having a lot of trouble putting this into perspective. Ever since I started paying attention to the baseball scene in Ottawa, our teams have been terrible. If they didn’t finished last, then they finished close to that. I remember once when I was at a Lynx game in 2007, they won 5-0. At the end of the game, the crowd of about 900 people gave their team a standing ovation. Not because the win really meant anything special, but because they won.
Now, it’s much different. The standing ovations that the Fat Cats are earning are from the 4,000+ fans here in Ottawa aren’t just from one or two wins in a row, but from seven of them.
This team is an efficient unit. They’ve come such a long way from that loss on Opening Day 2010 in Mississauga. The usual errors in shallow outfield have turned into diving catches from the likes of Kevin Dietrich, Joe Stone and Kyle Barclay. The pick-off attempts have gone from being incomplete, to being right on the dot. It’s fun to watch.
For the first few games of the series, I think that Barrie underestimated Ottawa, which allowed the Fat Cats to take control of the series. Game 3 was a must win for Barrie and they got off to a fast start, but unfortunately for them so did Ottawa. Barrie’s 3 runs that they put up on the scoreboard (or that they would’ve put up on the scoreboard if it was working properly..) in the 1st inning were the only runs that came in for them all game.
Going into game 4 on Sunday, I could just tell that series was going to end that afternoon. The Baycats were sapped of all their energy and were just frustrated at this point. My assumptions were proved right in the bottom of the 2nd inning, when Barrie’s frustration boiled over. Right after the Chris Latimer double RBI to make it 2-0 Fat Cats, the entire Barrie team charged the Ottawa dugout, including team manager Angus Roy.
There was much pushing, shoving, yelling and a few players even got spit on. I’m not sure what initiated the incident, but something was likely said by an Ottawa player. This, however, is no reason to start a brawl. The entire incident was completely uncalled for.
Until the end of the game, it was smooth sailing from the Fat Cats. They took an 8-1 lead into the 7th. This was when Brett Sabourin got stuck in a hole, and let barrie back in the game.
Josh Soffer came in for relief. He didn’t pitch horrendously, but with Barrie getting their grove on, Ottawa needed somebody who pitched lights out. Soffer was exchanged for Danny Desclouds, who did the job and finished off Barrie.
LaDale Hayes putout Matt LOOOGAAAN in the top of the 9th for the 3rd out of the inning and the final out of the series. The Ottawa crowd of 3,330 was sent into a frenzy. If Ottawa Stadium had a roof, it would have been blown off.
For the first time in 16 years, an Ottawa baseball team is moving on to the finals of their league. This time, we’ll be competing for the Dominico Trophy. In this championship series, we’ll be competing against either the Brantford Red Sox: 3-time defending champions, or the Toronto Maple Leafs. Their series is currently led by Toronto 3 games to 2, headed back to Brantford.
If it was up to me, I’d want to play Brantford. This may seem a bit crazy, because of their experience and our sub-.500 record against them, however, the last thing that I want is to play in that nightmare of a park, Christie Pits. With outfield dimensions that only go up to 350 feet, this park should not be in the IBL. Outfield fly balls are home runs, for crying out loud. If the Fat Cats has played at the Pits, the final putout from LaDale Hayes this past series would’ve been a home run. The Leafs know how to use their park to their advantage and definitely will in the final series (if they get there).
For Brantford, they obviously can be a lethal team, but the Fat Cats performed better against them during the regular season than they did against the Leafs. Ottawa also won games in Brantford at Arnold Anderson Stadium, which they didn’t do this year in Toronto.
Regardless of who they play, the Fat Cats will need help. They’ll be playing some of the IBL’s finest in the final series, and to beat them they’ll have to play some very good baseball. They beat the 1st-place Baycats in 4 games, so we know that Ottawa is able to win this championship if they please. However, the question that every0ne is asking is..