Darren Colbourne wonders what a shut-down pitcher would do for his Barons squad.
The player/coach doesn’t think pitching depth was a thorn in the side of the defending provincial A baseball team out of Corner Brook. But having a stud to come in from the bullpen to get outs against big threats is sorely missed in defence of the crown.
The Corner Brook Barons have a long road to climb, facing a 3-0 deficit against the St. John’s Capitals with the best-of-seven series back on home turf at Jubilee Field this weekend.
As winners of the provincial senior B crown last year, the Barons had the luxury of strengthening the roster with players from other centres.
Andrew Mercer of Mount Pearl was the closer responsible for a win and two saves on the way to last year’s title.
“That’s a huge comfort zone that’s not there anymore,” Colbourne said earlier this week of not having the luxury of adding depth this year. “We know that our starting pitchers have to go deep, which we did, but in the end it’s that comfortability of knowing that we’ve got somebody, if we’re (leading), to come in and shut it down.”
As the winner of this year’s B crown, the Capitals had the ability to add players for the final, but chose not to take anybody available to them for the series.
Colbourne said the rules on pickups were put in place because the Capitals have been a dominant force on the provincial scene, evidenced by their 13 straight championships before the streak ended last summer.
For the Barons, the addition of players like Mercer certainly played a factor in last year’s outcome.
Seeing the Capitals having the ability to add players, but choosing not to do so, tells Colbourne there’s reason to take another look at things.
“Somewhere along the line the system is flawed, and I’m not complaining, it is what it is,” he said.
Scoring five runs in three games just isn’t going to cut it for a guy who has seen some whacky things happen on the baseball diamond in his senior baseball career.
It’s do-or-die time for the Barons, and Colbourne said there’s nothing left to do but play some solid baseball and win one game at a time.
“We’re in a hole, but we know we’re not in against a team we can’t beat.”