CORNER BROOK The North Shore boys have been around the softball diamond long enough to know not to count an opponent out prematurely.
Especially not the young Whelan’s Gate crew that already avoided extinction a number of times already in these Corner Brook Bud Light Men’s Softball League playoffs.
Another performance like Tuesday night’s, however, and the Shore really shouldn’t have much of a problem putting the finishing touches on another league championship.
Mainly thanks to a five-run second inning, the Shore cruised to a 10-1 triumph in Game 4 of the best-of-seven final at Fred Basha Memorial Park A Diamond. They now lead the series 3-1, with Game 5 going ahead tonight.
“They’ve got a lot of energy,” said Shore’s Joe Wareham of the opposition.
“They’re a really young team and still fairly new to the league, so they’re really hungry and they’re trying to make their presence felt.”
Wareham was 2-for-3 on the night, with two runs scored. B.J. Wells contributed a 3-for-4 stat line and two runs.
Gary Kean went 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Terrence Byrne was 1-for-4, scoring the lone run in the defeat.
Bruce Wells gave up seven hits, while striking out 13 batters, in a complete-game effort.
Coady Kelly suffered the defeat, giving up 11 hits and striking out six.
The Gators went down 0-2 in a best-of-five semifinal to the Transmission Experts Cardinals, but turned it around and pulled off the upset. After dropping the first two games of the final, they won Game 3 and provided North Shore with a solid reminder of what they’re dealing with.
“They put up a good fight in the last one, but we came out strong on offence in the first few innings this time and our defence really held it together for us,” Wareham said.
While acknowledging the growth of the Gators is good for the future of the league, Wareham said his team will be looking to end the season with a win tonight.
“We’re obviously going to be hard on the sticks and we’ll be looking for some big D again, hopefully,” he said.
It was a frustrating outing for the losing side — after putting up 11 runs to win Game 3, that offence was nowhere to be found Tuesday.
“The bats went asleep,” said Jordan Kennedy. “Their offence is crazy ... defensively we’re on par with them, but our bats aren’t keeping up with theirs.
“We’ve got to change it up and get some new bats in the lineup,” he added.
Kennedy pointed to the second inning as the deciding factor, admitting his team got down on themselves after “booting the ball around” in the field.
“They got five runs and we couldn’t come back,” he said.
Still, if nothing else, they’re still unbeaten in these playoffs in game where they’re facing elimination. That will surely be the rallying cry tonight.
“We were underdogs coming into this anyway,” Kennedy said. “But I think we can do good with our backs against the wall again.”