© Chris Quigley
Fred Prosper pitches during Corner Brook Barons' practice Thursday night at Jubilee Field.
CORNER BROOK The buzz is back.
With just one more win, it may very well become a full-on roar.
“We won the first two and everyone said, ‘Wow, look at the Barons,’ then we won the third one and everybody is saying, ‘I can’t wait for you to come home, I can’t wait to see some baseball,’” said Corner Brook Barons playing coach Darren Colbourne.
The Barons host the St. John’s Winmar Capitals for what they hope will be one game this afternoon — but could certainly be more than that, and could stretch into Sunday — in the best-of-seven 2013 Molson Provincial Senior A Baseball Final at Jubilee Field. The Barons lead the series 3-0, after sweeping last weekend’s trio of games at St. Pat’s Ball Park in St. John’s.
“You go in there and you hope to win one ... we got our highest hopes achieved,” Colbourne said of the somewhat shocking way in which the Barons handled the 13-time defending champions in their back yard.
“Coming back home up three,” he added. “We’re a confident group. Confident, but not cocky.”
That confidence was built upon victories of 5-4, 4-2 and 9-2, the last of which was particularly beneficial to the Barons’ spirits, as they erupted for six runs in the sixth inning of a 3-2 ball game to add an exclamation point to their dominant weekend.
“It’s a huge momentum builder,” said Colbourne. “We went in there not thinking it was just going to be another year. Everybody was ready to play and I think a lot of guys are just coming of age.”
Colbourne specifically mentioned younger players like Michael Tavenor, who had a solid outing on the mound in Game 1, along with Jay Warford and Greg Sharpe.
“We’ve got some young guys who can fly and are getting on base,” Colbourne said.
The current 3-0 advantage in the series was certainly unexpected, but according to Colbourne the Barons had a “quiet confidence” about them as they walked onto the field for Game 1. They know they’re the underdog — and still are, says Colbourne, despite the lead — but the way in which they overcame great pitching and a strong Mount Pearl club in the provincial senior B tournament, to earn a right to play the Caps, made believers out of everyone in the locker room.
Now the only issue will be making sure the team stays focused. During their 13-year winning streak, the Capitals swept the final series more than once. They’ve won four in a row before, and they can surely do it again.
“We need to let them get in their own heads,” Colbourne said. “We just have to play the same way we’re playing, be patient, play small ball, use our speed and do the same things we did in St. John’s.
“We can’t get ahead of ourselves.”
As the old cliche goes, the hardest game to win is the last one.
“I don’t think we’re thinking that way,” Colbourne said. “We just want to come out and play the best we can each game ... if it goes four, five, six or seven, it doesn’t matter.”
And, as long as the weather cooperates, the Barons still obviously have the opportunity to put this series away in four, which Colbourne believes would do this sporting community some good.
“It’s nice to hear some buzz back in Corner Brook about winning,” he said. “Not just about the Barons in general, but just a team from Corner Brook beating a team from St. John’s.”
The Barons host the Capitals 2 p.m. this afternoon. Game 5, if necessary, would go 8 p.m. tonight, with Games 6 and 7 slated for 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday if needed.