Barons show heart with backs against wall

Cory
Cory Hurley - A Game of Inches
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It’s easy to cheer for a team that has heart.

That’s why the Corner Brook Barons had fans at Jubilee Field Saturday and Sunday for the Senior A provincial championship.

Coming back from a weekend sweep at the hands of the St. John’s Capitals in the capital city to fall behind 3-0, the Barons could have easily packed it in. After just five runs in three games, including a shutout in Game 3, it was the bats that showed this could quickly become a series.

An early 7-0 Game 4 lead and the right arm of Mike Tavenor ensured a Game 5. The Saturday night contest was when the observers turned fans turned believers. There was once again an early chance for the Barons to lay down. Frank Humber was getting hit hard in the first couple of innings and the Caps took a 2-0 lead. The bats again came to life, the hometown answered back immediately and Humber got stronger with every pitch.

The Barons best player this weekend, Travis Taylor doubled and scored on a Grant Vincent single in the bottom of the seventh to walk off the Game 5 victory.

This is when the series got interesting. The Barons pitching depth was their Achilles heel this year. Not having the extra arms of a year ago as provincial B winners, as player/coach Darren Colbourne had said heading into the second weekend.

Who would step up behind their aces Tavenor and Humber to give the Barons a chance at a second title in a row? Adam Warren and Ryan Harnett’s names were on the tongues of most fans, but Colbourne called his own name for the second time in the series. There were doubters, and they proved right, but I commend the veteran for putting it on his shoulders. It takes a lot of guts as a coach to be willing to accept the blame that would come with this move, and it showed greater character to remove himself in the second inning when it was apparent he didn’t have his best stuff.

To extend the series to a sixth game after trailing 3-0, Colbourne deserves a lot of credit. His moves in the first two games at home could be questioned, but both led to wins. When your team gets shutout in a clincher, it didn’t matter who pitched the game. You don’t win any games, you don’t score. Warren’s bullpen appearance showed he should have gotten a chance at a start, but his hearty performance kept hope in the hometown fans until a two-run homer from Gerry Stone sealed the series in the seventh.

Looking back on the series, the Barons proved they are at the same level as the perennial champion Capitals. It took everything the Caps had — including flying in a couple of the players who stayed home with a 3-0 lead for Sunday’s clincher — to close out the series. Too bad those couple of Pasadena guys — Greg Barry and Scott Goosney didn’t feel a western Newfoundland obligation to pitch for the Barons — things would probably be much different.

 With contributions from a young core, combined with the veteran leadership, the future of Barons baseball is strong. If they keep showing the heart they did this weekend, they will have this fan in the stands watching.

 

Cory Hurley is a reporter/photographer with The Western Star. He can be reached via email at hurleysports@hotmail.com.

Geographic location: Pasadena, Newfoundland, Western Star

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  • thats too bad; warren harnett future of baseball
    August 21, 2014 - 13:24

    1st baseman, 2nd baseman and Starting pitcher for game 6 was almost 140 years; thats funny; same old same old in baseball; i remember when i played sr. baseball the old fellow almost 55 looking after team; told me i had to sit whole game in case someone got kicked out or hurt in game; and thus without spare player they would default game; was funny; i told skipper i didnt drive 1 hour and pass on supper to make baseball game to sit out; i was fresh out of junior baseball batting champion; with not enough plate appearances because i was sitting out; most stolen bases and i played half the games of the old fellows in league; they wouldnt quit; i said if i was u guys i just come to games hang out and have a beer; but no way they wanted to play ahead of young kids; so not great to see; same ol same ol; whos on second; i guess humber is on first; so who's old guy playing second; pls advise last name would do; guy gotta be 40 plus yrs ago; great column here Cory takes guts to write hard stuff; anyone can do fluffy stuff; too bad was rooting for game seven ; everyone at softball field was too.......agree anyone played baseball in cbrook should play baseball with cbrook team; not with stjohns townies....but i guess personalites get in the way; too bad; those pasadena boys are good players too....and pitching at a premiun in sr. baseball; ask new team from curling.....

    • Todd  Farrell
      Todd Farrell
      August 31, 2014 - 21:37

      I agree with your point but the lack of respect given to another Juniors pitcher is staggering. Let's examine the last three senior league seasons: Warren 6-4, Harnett 6-11. Kevin Farrell during the same time is 9-5. Yet he is never in the conversaton. Interesting. ... makes one wonder why. It is no wonder the young man has become disillusioned with Corner Brook baseball.

  • joebaseball
    August 12, 2014 - 20:47

    Look at how many innings colbourne has thrown over last few years in senior league...maybe 7 out of necessity....to take the ball in such a pivotal game after the barons clawed their way back is utterly disgusting....i was hoping to see any of the other capable arm in the bullpen toe the rubber but to no avail they layed dormant....id of love to see young harnet toe the rubber in that game or warren to start...who knows what would have happened...

  • Slugger from Central
    August 12, 2014 - 14:55

    The combined age of the 1st baseman, 2nd baseman and Starting pitcher for game 6 was almost 140 years, or as I see it "30 years over expiry". Give it up and let the younger guys play. Not just because of their age, but simply because they are much better option at this point in your lives. Its going to be an absolute shame to watch the roster that the barons field for the nationals in St.Johns next weekend. Give it up guys, just give it up. Bruce Springsteins song "Glory Days" was written about you clowns Have open tryouts and field the best 9 players like every other team in the tournament will do.

  • Ace Pitcher
    August 12, 2014 - 12:15

    Hard to believe that Darren C called his own number, ha! Not much has changed.

  • Todd  Farrell
    Todd Farrell
    August 12, 2014 - 12:14

    Lack of baseball knowledge shows again. Check the pitching stats in the senior league over the past two seasons and compare them to the Barons roster. As one comment indicated, it is time to past the torch before thrre is no torch to past.

  • Westerner
    August 12, 2014 - 11:33

    How many errors do you have in the senior league Cory?

  • Pirate
    August 12, 2014 - 11:14

    It was the moves made this weekend that keep young guys like Goosney and Barry in St John's. Barons seem to be contempt with using the old guys until they are in wheelchairs. Time to give the next generation a chance.

  • Too Funny
    August 12, 2014 - 10:02

    "Too bad those couple of Pasadena guys...". Wow, what an amateur reporter. For one, it's the "Corner Brook Barons" not Western Barons. And there's no "obligation" to play for anyone, especially in amateur baseball. I can't believe he's childish enough to blame the loss on those two guys. Newsflash, it was more than just two guys that made the difference. At least the Barons had more class than to point fingers.