Why the Fat Cats’ road trip was as successful as possible
BY CARLOS VERDE
The Ottawa Fat Cats’ game scheduled for today against the Kitchener Panthers at Jack Couch Park has been postponed, effectively ending the team’s five-game road trip down south against some of the IBL’s best. The Fat Cats went 3-2, with two victories over 2nd and 3rd place London and Barrie, huge victories.
Standings-wise, the 3-2 road trip vaults the Fat Cats into 5th place in the IBL, albeit with 6 more games played than 6th place Kitchener. The Fat Cats record now sits at 10-11, with the most games played in the IBL, 3 more than anyone else. While the startling inequality in the scheduling is a bit alarming, the Fat Cats do still sit close to .500, which is a respectable winning percentage and would place them anywhere from 5th to 7th at the end of the year.
From a team morale standpoint, this trip was huge. The players showed me a lot on Saturday, bouncing back from a 5-0 loss at the hands of the Burlington Twins (a game which was dominated by Burlington starter Matthew St. Kitts) to beat the London Majors 11-4 in a great team effort (every single Fat Cats hitter notched a base hit) against a 2nd-place Majors squad. Another rallying point occurred earlier in the trip when the Fat Cats, in Barrie, managed to win 5-4 in extra innings after blowing a lead in the bottom of the 8th inning. This really showed something about the character of the Fat Cats, who didn’t curl up and die, rather came on strong in the extra frame to steal one at Schmidt and Shaw Stadium.
The Intercounty Baseball League is a circuit with a lot of parity, and the strains of travel allow for anything to happen on any given night in any given IBL stadium. Realistically, the Fat Cats were not going to sweep the trip with games against the top 3 teams in the league. I would have honestly been happy with a 2-3 split on the trip, but every game closer to .500 that the Cats got was a bonus for me. They played tight with the league’s best in Brantford, and BEAT the #2 and #3 teams! All in all, a very successful trip, in many ways.