By Darryl G. Smart
When the Simcoe Giants junior program resurrected in 2019, the goal was to become provincial champions.
On Sunday in Leamington, with a full head of confidence, the Giants completed the mission, beating the Leamington Lakers 10-3 in the final to capture the 22U AA title.
“Winning an OBA championship never gets old,” Carter MacDonald said. “It made me feel like I was a little kid again, very nostalgic.”
The weekend started out Friday night with a tight 2-1 win over the Peterborough Tigers.
“I think once we heard on Friday that Peterborough and Leamington were the favourites and then beat Peterborough, we had a boat load of confidence,” MacDonald said.
Despite dropping a 6-5 decision to the Lakers in their first game Saturday, the Giants had a ton to build on, and the, ‘Why not us’ motto kicked into high gear. After a 6-4 win over the Wyoming Wranglers, the Giants earned a shot at the Lakers. This time they had to win two games on Sunday to win it all.
In the first game, the Giants edged the Lakers 11-9, before beating them one more time late Sunday night to capture the provincial title.
“Between our two games Sunday we had a team lunch and a group of us were saying how there was no way we were losing that final game,” MacDonald said. “This group just had a lot of quiet confidence which built more and more as teams got more chirpy with us and it was just overall such a great weekend that I’ll never forget.”
MacDonald said this one was a little different than other titles he and some of the other players have won over the years in a Giants uniform.
“It was great being able to win it one last time with guys I’ve played with my whole life like Parker (Morris) and Dallas (Hunter),” MacDonald said. “We had a lot of turnover from two years ago and had some younger guys on the team this year, but everyone competed and was dialed in for every pitch. It was a total team effort this weekend with everyone contributing.”
One of those younger players was Ben Sherman.
“Having a phenomenal coach like Jay MacDonald and veteran players like Carter and Dallas,who pushed everyone to leave everything out on the field really made the experience even better,” Sherman said. “Overall, the boys came out and left everything out on the field and the hardware shows that. It was an unforgettable team to win a provincial championship with and I was proud to be a part of it.
Coach Jay MacDonald could only smile, as he watched his team celebrate.
“This was a pretty awesome effort by some awesome players,” coach MacDonald said. “I couldn’t be happier for them, especially the graduating players.”
Carter MacDonald, Hunter, Morris, Dom Wills and Josh Hare are the graduating player, and really took a leadership role during this run.
The rest of the team consists of Steven Dunn, Cole Robinson, Sam Smith, Brendan Shortt, Carter Whitehead, Zack VanNetten, Mike Duwyn, Wyatt Tremblay, Max Jolley, and Caelan Cunningham.
“From the start of the championship we carried the motto, ‘why not us’ and everyone on the team had to pull the same rope to get us to our end result. And that’s exactly what we did,” Sherman said.