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By Darryl G. Smart

The Delhi Dave’s Variety Tigers knew taking home the Southern Counties Baseball Association 18U title wouldn’t be easy. And they certainly were up for the challenge, beating the Caledonia Bears 18-4 in the winner-take-all final game on Saturday.

Owen Oates led the way in the final, driving in four runs on three hits. In the second inning, Carter Dwornikiewicz singled, scoring one run, while Ty Mabee drew a walk, adding another run. Then the Tigers added nine runs in the third inning, when Dwornikiewicz, Brady Daradics, Oates, Kylen Miners and Jackson Smith all knocked in an RBI.

Smith was on the hill for the Tigers and only surrendered two runs on five hits over four and a third innings, while striking out 11.

Jacob Burlingham started for the Bears, allowing nine hits and seven runs over two and a third innings, striking out one. Ethan Pauls, Noah Neufeld and Braden Guidolin all pitched in relief.

Offensively, Aidan Barron went 3-for-3 at the plate to lead the Bears.

“Success on the field, success at bat can only be accomplished by an entire team working collectively together,” coach Steve Scheers said. “No one wins alone, nor losses alone – being part of a team ensures you will never be alone both in rough times and when you are successful – on and off the field.”

The Tigers kicked off the tournament in style Thursday, beating the Bears 4-2 in the opening game of the tournament at Misener Park in Port Dover.

Down early and battling back to tie things up the Tigers eventually took the lead for good.

Offensively, the Tigers had nine hits led by Oates and Daradics, who each had two hits. Mabee had three stolen bases, as they ran wild on the base paths with eight in total.

Matthew Skinner started the game and threw his best game, only allowing three hits and two runs over five and a third innings. He struck out two Bears batters.

Ben Petronski surrendered no runs on two hits over two and two-thirds innings for the Bears. He struck out four. Logan Massicotti and Jacob Burlingham entered the game as relief, throwing two and two-thirds innings and two-thirds of an inning respectively.

On Friday, the Tigers hammered the Port Dover Sailors 12-5, thanks to its 10 hit night to punch a ticket to the final. 

Dwornikiewicz, Foster, Scheers and Oates each hammered multiple hits. Dwornikiewicz went 3-for-3 at the plate to lead the Tigers.

Mabee got the start for the Tigers and lasted one inning, allowing three hits and four runs while striking out one.

On Saturday, the Bears beat the Sailors 13-3 to earn a spot in the championship, and then defeated the Tigers 7-3 to force a winner-take-all game for the SCBA title.

Scheers said one of the secrets to the team’s success was its depth, especially on the mound.

“Our success was achieved because we had a full team of capable pitchers – each with their own strengths,” Scheers said. “Some pitched more than others, but everyone was capable of being pulled from the bullpen when needed. We ended this tournament with 10 pitchers available to pitch – something most teams struggle with.”

He and coach Fred Mabee said the SCBA title was the culmination of over 10 years as a group.

“They became Delhi and area’s finest young men in their pursuit of the Southern Counties 18U championship,” Scheers said. “Winning in front of your hometown fans, playing against other local players, equally skilled and committed, made this weekend’s championship tournament one to remember.”