By Darryl G. Smart
Andrew Auld and Jeryn Shortt have been playing baseball together ever since they could remember. And on Saturday, the catcher-pitcher duo etched in another amazing memory to their friendship, when the Simcoe Lions Giants captured the Baseball Ontario 15U A title thanks to a 16-5 win over the Milton Mets at Memorial Park.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Auld said. “It sure doesn’t get old. To play for Simcoe and win a provincial title. It really is great.”
Though this time around it was a little anticlimactic.
Two days before the final games of the August Madness championship round, the Mets lost to the Newmarket Hawks, giving the Giants the provincial championship.
“It was really strange knowing that we had already won before we got on the field today,” Shortt said. “We were all texting each other on Thursday night because we were following the game on Game Changer. It was fun to come out today just to play and not worry about anything knowing that we had won it.”
And with nothing to lose or gain, both teams put on a bit of a show for the crowd at Memorial Park. The Mets jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning, before the Giants bounced right back with three runs of their own. The Giants added two more in the third inning, before the Mets tied things back up in the top of the fourth inning.
That’s when the Giants put the hammer down, scoring 11 runs in the bottom half of the fourth inning to win the game in five.
Aiden Littler and Quinton O’Brien led the offence with two RBI each. Jack Smith also had two hits in the win.
Saturday’s victory was a great bookend to an impressive and dominant run for the Giants, who went 11-0 during the August Madness playoffs. In the first round they defeated the St. Catharines Cobras 11-2, 11-1, and 7-6, the Oakville A’s 10-2, 5-1, and 10-3 to earn top spot in their pool.
In the final round, the Giants swept the Hawks 7-0 and 10-2, Kanata Cubs 14-1 and 8-3, before beating the Mets 16-5. A second game was scheduled against the Mets Saturday, but with the title wrapped up, August Madness concluded early with a celebration on the Memorial Park field.
“It’s pretty cool to do this the way we did,” Shortt said. “We had to beat some huge cities to win this. It means a lot.”
For Auld and Shortt, this is the third time the pair has won a provincial title going up the Giants’ system.
“We’ve had a lot of great teammates,” Auld said. “The one thing that’s stayed the same is the way we work and how hard the coaches push us in a great way. This team has been all about everyone doing their part.”
And that includes taking a turn on the mound. And Saturday was a great example, with the Giants trotting out six different pitchers. Quinton O’Brien threw one inning and had one strikeout, Adam Swick threw one inning and had three strikeouts, Austin Topp threw one inning and had two strikeouts, Logan Snyder threw one inning and had a strikeout, Carson Zilkey thre two-thirds of an inning with two strikeouts, while Shortt cleaned things up with the final batter, striking him out.
“Almost every player has pitched when we needed it,” Shortt said. “Not many teams have that. Everyone worked hard for this.”
With the provincial title in hand, the Giants aren’t finished. This weekend they begin the Inter County Baseball Association championships, which will take place over the next couple of weekends.