Bears get to final of the area’s first minor baseball tournament

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Photo by Colton Hand

By Darryl G. Smart

As the rain came down Friday night and Saturday, Ryan Van Sickle kept the faith. It had been almost two years since most of the players at this weekend’s Caledonia Bears U13 Grand Slam Tournament had played in a weekend event.

Once patience paid off and the rain passed, suffice to say Van Sickle and his Bears team showed how bad they wanted to play.

Despite dropping its opener Friday night, the Bears bounced back and made it all the way to the final, eventually losing 6-3 to the champion Beamsville Stingers late Sunday afternoon.

“We supported some great pitching performances with some strong defence,” Van Sickle said. “Beamsville had a very strong and well coached team.”

Photo by Colton Hand

The Bears kicked the tournament off Friday night, dropping a 6-5 decision to the Pelham Panthers. On Saturday, they started the day off with a huge 11-3 win over the Waterdown Wolves, before losing 13-7 to the Stingers. The Bears record was good enough to qualify them for the semifinal against the Simcoe Giants, where they came away with a huge 9-6 win over their Southern Counties Baseball Association rival.

The Giants got to the semifinal thanks to its 2-1 record during the round-robin portion, beating the Wolves 6-5 and Panthers 9-5. Their only blemish prior to the semis was a 11-2 loss to the Stingers.

As for the tournament itself, Van Sickle could only smile in appreciation.

“Once Ontario baseball gave us the green light to host a tournament, it was something we really wanted to make happen,” Van Sickle said. “Thanks to our volunteers and umpires, many of whom are still teenagers, we got things organized in a short period of time. 

“In my opinion our facility, Henning Park, is second to none,” he said. “Even with the very wet weather, our ground crew put in some very long hours and had us up and running with only a three hour delay to our schedule.”

Van Sickle said the weekend was such a success, they are hoping to run a U11 and U13 tournament nest year.

To see all of the results CLICK HERE