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Defence of Corner Brook senior baseball crown begins Thursday night for West Side Monarchs

The Corner Brook senior baseball best-of-seven final between the defending West Side Monarchs and Veitch Wellness Aces is scheduled for tonight 7 p.m. at Jubilee Field.
The Corner Brook senior baseball best-of-seven final between the defending West Side Monarchs and Veitch Wellness Aces is scheduled for tonight 7 p.m. at Jubilee Field. - Star file photo

For the last 28 years the Hawks have earned a berth in the Corner Brook senior baseball final.

That long run basically goes back to the time when Paul George of the Veitch Wellness Aces came into the world.

The amazing string of appearances by a team that saw generations of Humbers and Colbournes pave the way for the green and gold came to a halt this year when the Aces downed the Hawks 3-1 in a Corner Brook senior baseball league best-of-five semifinal series at Jubilee Field.

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The Aces will tangle with the West Side Monarchs, defending champions who ousted the pesky Wing’n It Marlins in three-straight games in the other semifinal series, in a best-of-seven final with Game 1 scheduled for tonight 7 p.m. at Jubilee Field.

“Ever since I’ve watched baseball games I’ve watched the Hawks in the finals and I was blown away by that, so for us to actually win that and get past Frank (Humber), Darrren (Colbourne) and those guys that we’ve watched for a long time it’s a nice feeling,” George, a product of the Pasadena minor baseball program, said earlier this week.

George expects an interesting matchup with the Monarchs after seeing the opponent come out on top 5-3 in eight meetings during the 2018 regular season.

He believes his team has the upper hand in the pitching department with three key starters — Michael Tavenor, Brian Bennett and Steven Hynes — all capable of throwing big games.

However, it won’t matter much unless the pitching receives support of the guys behind him so defence will have to be sound and there won’t be much room for mistakes.

George is a utility player for the Aces, filling in wherever the team needs him most on a particular night and he’s expecting to patrol right field in the series opener.

He didn’t play the final two games of the semifinal run against the Hawks because of a nagging quad problem.

He’s not going to let anything stop him from finishing out the season and doing what he can to help his team win a championship.

One guy wearing black and gold who is happy to be back on the diamond and playing for a championship is multi-sport athlete Kevin Lasaga.

Lasaga was a fixture on the baseball diamond for a number of years, but hasn’t been fully immersed in the game for about 15 years.

Work commitments kept him away from the diamond again last season after he had returned to the Monarchs the season before, but he’s hoping that work won’t keep him away in the future because he still has passion for smacking around the baseball.

Lasaga, who recently turned 45, admits he’s not as agile as he was when it comes to being steady at third base with a few extra pounds on, but he has enjoyed being on the field with a group of guys who he said were very welcoming to the mix when he came back again this season.

He’s excited about helping the Monarchs repeat as champions and believes his team will give the Aces a good run because he believes his squad is a little deeper than the opposition.

“It feels good,” he said. “I’m doing really good with the hitting, but with the fielding I’m not as quick as I was because I’m a bit older and a bit chubbier like we all are.”

He has respect for the opposing side because of their skills and youthfulness and he believes it will be an entertaining series to watch.

He did acknowledge that the Monarchs have to beat the strong arm of Michael Tavenor if they want to win a second-straight crown.

“Michael Tavenor is a really good baseball player and he’s definitely a threat,” he said. “He’s one of their main players so we will have to beat him to win the series.”

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