CORNER BROOK Not since 2007 have the Corner Brook Barons played for the Molson Provincial Senior A Baseball Championship.
They're hoping to take the necessary steps to remedy that situation this weekend at Jubilee Field.
The Barons, Pasadena Pirates, Grand Falls-Windsor Beothucks and Mount Pearl Blazers will all be gunning for the Molson Provincial Senior B Baseball Championship, with the successful squad moving on to attempt to end the Capitals' 12-year run as the best senior team in the province.
Last year the Beothucks advanced to the Senior A final, but were swept in four games by the powerful Capitals.
"That's the plan for sure," Barons catcher/third baseman Steve Hynes said of earning another shot at St. John's. "The last few years I think we've had the team to do it, but we haven't actually done it. We've got a great lineup going into the weekend, so we're all confident, we'll say that."
Hynes, 27, has been playing for the senior Barons for about a decade now, so he's seen the highs and lows. He's not sure exactly what's gone wrong the past four years, but feels the lack of a big-time play at the right moment has been a killer.
"We've never, ever gotten that one big hit that will send you through," he said. "Last year we had lots of close games, but we couldn't get that one play to throw you over the hump."
He also points to the tournament format itself, where a team has to gel quickly — or not at all.
"When it comes to one-weekend tournaments, anything can happen," he said. "Everything's got to come together right that one weekend."
Depth is a strength this year, Hynes said, with a roster of around 25 filled with players capable of stepping in at any time.
"But maybe if our starting lineup gets the job done, we might not even need to go there," he said. "It all depends on who stays hot."
As for what might make or break them this weekend, Hynes borrowed some wisdom from Aces' Glen Seaborn — "Sometimes you get the breaks, sometimes the breaks get you.
"Hopefully we'll get the breaks to go our way," Hynes added.
The quest begins 6 p.m. tonight as the Barons host the Pirates.
The Pirates make for an interesting opponent, as they've been absent from the senior league this year, but reformed specifically for this tournament. They were senior B champions in 2008 and 2009 and the majority of that same crew is back.
With the Pirates not able to field a team in the senior league, many of the players who are around decided to join the Aces, the senior league team Hynes plays for.
"They're all hitting the ball real well," Hynes said of the Pasadena contingent. "We definitely know we're going to be seeing people who can swing the bat, so we're not taking them lightly.
"All the guys on their team have been playing baseball and they're still familiar with each other because they've been playing together for so long," he continued. "I don't think them not playing together as a team this year will hurt them at all."
And, once the dust settles, if the Barons do earn their opportunity to face off against the Capitals again, they'll have their hands full with a team that's redefined the term "dominant" over the last dozen years.
But, Hynes said, the Capitals are definitely beatable.
"A lot of their players who won it 12 years ago are still the ones there winning it now," he said. "I think our young guys coming up might be a little bit better than theirs ... anything is possible if we can just make it to that best of seven.
"I think we might have had a chance against the Caps the last couple of years," he added. "But if you can't even get the chance to play them, it's tough."
That's why there's absolutely no looking past this weekend. Period.
"Not one little bit," said Hynes. "The focus is 100 per cent on this weekend."
Action begins in the senior B provincial championships this evening and wraps up on Sunday.