The fifth day of Men’s Softball competition at the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games ended up being the final one, as Sunday’s Gold medal game was moved up to Saturday night due to expected steady rain throughout the day on Sunday.
Alberta 4 vs. Manitoba 2
The first game of the day was the seventh-place game, where Alberta opened the scoring with two runs in the top of the first. Aaron Charchuk started the game by hitting a homerun to center, then Josh Kinnee singled and scored on a single by Riggs Ringdahl. Dylan Morden led off the bottom of the third with a homerun for Manitoba, then in the fourth Team Toba loaded the bases on a walk, a single by Troy Kemball and an error before tying the game with a sacrifice fly. Alberta regained the lead in the top half of the fifth, getting a leadoff triple from Charchuk who scored on a sacrifice fly, then added an insurance run in the top of the seventh on a run-scoring single by Ringdahl. Tobie Opikokew held Manitoba to one earned run on four hits in the complete-game win, while Megwan Muswaggon took the loss and struck out 11 batters.
Quebec 10 vs. British Columbia 3
In the fifth-place game, Team BC opened the scoring when Raynen Campbell walked, stole second and moved up to third on a ground out before scoring on a sacrifice fly in the top of the first. Quebec exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the inning, loading the bases with singles by Tristan Breton and Edouard Asselin and a walk before Felix Isabelle hit a two-run single, Julien Fournier hit a two-run double to left and Mika Houle drilled a three-run homerun to center. Derian Potskin drove in a run with a single in the top of the third for British Columbia and Luka Kim hit an RBI single in the fourth, but Quebec got three run-scoring singles by Sharl Leclerc, Benjamin Roy and Julien Fournier to end the game on the run rule. Leclerc registered the win in the pitcher’s circle for Quebec.
Nova Scotia 8 vs. Ontario 1
The first medal round playoff game featured first-place Nova Scotia against second-place Ontario with the winner advancing directly to the gold medal game. Nova Scotia struck early, getting a pair of singles by Nick White and Cameron Patton before Brody Fraser hit a three-run homerun to center. Nova Scotia added to its lead in the bottom of the third on a sacrifice fly by Keegan Crowell, while Ontario scored their first run on an error in the top half of the fourth. Nova scotia put the game away in the bottom of the fifth, getting back-to-back solo homeruns by Brayden Woodworth and Callum Bouma with Rowan Sears later drilling a two-run homerun to end the game on the run rule. David Watson held Ontario to one unearned run on five hits and struck out four in the five-inning win.
Saskatchewan 5 vs. Newfoundland & Labrador 4
The next game on Diamond 1 was a rematch between Saskatchewan and Newfoundland & Labrador in the third vs. fourth playoff game, one day after Newfoundland won a tight ball game. This game was every bit as exciting, with Saskatchewan opening the scoring with an RBI triple by Brant Wiebe who crossed the plate on a ground out. Newfoundland responded immediately with a two-run homerun by Ryan Maher in the bottom of the first, but Saskatchewan went on to regain the lead with a two-run double by Wiebe in the top of the third and a sacrifice fly later in the inning for the 5-2 lead. Newfoundland battled back with a solo homerun by Maher to lead off the bottom of the sixth, then pulled within one when Jacob Gill doubled and scored on a single by Matthew King, but a fielder’s choice and a line out ended the game. Troy Preymack earned the pitching win for Saskatchewan.
Ontario 5 vs. Saskatchewan 2
After a short break, Saskatchewan was back on the field for a showdown with Ontario in the bronze medal game. After two scoreless innings, Saskatchewan opened the scoring by getting a leadoff walk and sacrificing the runner to second before Ryan Bicknell scored him with a single to center. Mitch McKay hit a two-run single to left to give Ontario a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning. In the fifth, Ontario loaded the bases on three walks and another walk pushed a run to the plate, then a fielder’s choice made the score 4-1. Saskatchewan moved closer with a run-scoring triple by Kobey Clarke in the sixth, but Ontario plated another run on an error in the bottom of the frame on route to the win. Owen Torrie earned the complete game win to send Ontario to the gold medal game, with Saskatchewan earning the bronze medal.
Ontario 6 vs. Nova Scotia 3
Fresh off their win, Ontario played their third game of the day against a strong Nova Scotia team who had defeated them again earlier in the day. After the first two innings went scoreless with Owen Torrie and David Watson going head-to-head in the pitcher’s circle, Nova Scotia got on the board first in the bottom of the third when Rowan Sears singled followed by a walk before Cameron Patton hit a run-scoring ground rule double to left. Torrie helped his own cause by leading off the fourth with a solo homerun to left, and his teammates rallied around him by hitting three straight singles by Mitch McKay, Connor Brooks and Thomas Baker to plate two runs. Mitch McKay and Curtis Ruetz each added run-scoring singles in the fifth, and Ontario added a run on a fielder’s choice in the sixth to increase its lead to 6-1. Nova Scotia had a great opportunity to get back in the game in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases on a double by Fraser, a single by Brayden Woodworth and a walk, with Noah Berniquer hitting an RBI single. However, the next batter popped up on an infield fly, and the runner on first was tagged out trying to advance. The next batter lined out to leave two runners stranded at second and third. Nova Scotia kept pressuring in the seventh, getting a leadoff walk followed by a single by Nick White before Patton hit a sacrifice fly, but Torrie induced a fielder’s choice and a fly out to left to end the game. In a gutsy performance, Torrie earned his second straight complete game win in the circle and added a homerun in the gold medal win.
Ontario won its fifth straight gold medal at the Men’s Softball event, while Nova Scotia earned its first silver medal since 2001. Saskatchewan took bronze after winning silver in 2017.
Mitch McKay (ON) led the tournament with 17 hits, while Will Major (SK) tied the all-time tournament record with 6 homeruns (2005 – Bryan Abrey, BC) and led the tournament with 15 runs batted in. Ryan Bicknell (SK) was the top hitter with a .591 batting average. Nick White (NS) scored the most runs with 14.
David Watson (NS) was the tournament’s strikeout leader with 57 in 33 2/3 innings, while Nate Thiessen (BC) led the tournament with four wins and a 1.85 earned run average in 34 innings pitched.
Niagara 2022 - Men's Softball Day 5 Recap
20 August 2022 Gilles LeBlanc