Stonewall Blue Jays player-manager Adam Kirk (second from left) celebrates with his teammates after the team won the 2017 Winnipeg Senior Baseball League championship with an 8-3 victory over the Elmwood Giants at Fines Field Sept. 12. (Adam Peleshaty/Stonewall Argus & Teulon Times/Postmedia Network)
For the second time in three years, the Stonewall Blue Jays are Winnipeg Senior Baseball League champions.
Remaining at three wins after losses in Games 4 and 5, the Blue Jays’ bats came alive in Game 6. Stonewall had 11 base hits and benefitted from four defensive errors from the Elmwood Giants in an 8-3 victory at Fines Field Sept. 12.
The title is the sixth for the team in Stonewall (1996, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2015 and now 2017), in addition to two other championships when the Blue Jays were based in Grosse Isle (1993, 1994). With their sixth WSBL championship, the Blue Jays also break the record for most titles in league history, surpassing the defunct Carillon Sultans who won five.
“It’s unbelievable. Especially after letting (the Giants) come back in the series a little bit,” Stonewall player-manager Adam Kirk said. “To wrap it up at home, there’s nothing like it.”
Kirk, who played shortstop, was two-for-four at the plate and made a diving play, rolling to second base to get the penultimate out of the game.
“We got hot at the right times. We never said ‘die’ on this team. We always had fight in us. That’s what propelled us through,” he added.
Third baseman Rory Tycoles was two-for-three with a walk, while Eric Swanson pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing only two runs on three hits. Scott Harris replaced Swanson in relief and, despite a difficult seventh inning, was successful in getting the necessary four outs for victory.
“It’s a tough league; it’s a tough feat. It feels good to (win the title) with the same group of guys from before, doing it in two of three years,” Harris said after the win.
After a scoreless first inning, Harris’ infield single put Stonewall on the board in the second. It was followed by Kyle Turner’s two-run single for an early 3-0 Blue Jays lead. Orrin Hogue’s single added another Stonewall run in the third and a throwing error by Elmwood pitcher Brett Muron allowed the Blue Jays to score two more runs for a 6-0 advantage. A broken double play attempt gave Stonewall another run for a 7-0 lead.
The Giants scored in the top of the fourth on an error by Blue Jays catcher Nick Drews, but could not capitalize any further with the bases loaded. After Kyle Heroux’s double regained Stonewall’s six run lead, Elmwood loaded the bases again in the fifth, but only crossed the plate once to make the score 8-2. In the bottom half of the inning, the Blue Jays’ Josh Stolar thought he advanced to second base on an error while breaking up a double play, but umpires overturned the play and called him out on interference. Stonewall player and first-base coach Tyler Tataryn argued and was ejected.
“(The Giants) had a chance, there. If they came up with a big hit, it would’ve been a different game. But we beared down and got the outs we needed to,” Kirk said.
In the seventh inning, Harris hit Giants’ batter Phil Siemens to load the bases, but while Kirk’s defensive play allowed another Giants run, the Blue Jays pitcher retired
Steven Prichard for the final out.
Elmwood last won the WSBL championship in 2011.
Game 5: Giants 8 Blue Jays 3
Elliot Desilets pitched a complete-game five-hitter for the Giants in their 8-3 Game 5 victory over the Blue Jays at Koskie Field Sept. 11.
The Giants scored four runs in the second inning to increase their lead to 5-0. Nick Drews hit a home run for Stonewall over the short porch in right field to cut Elmwood’s lead to 6-3 in the sixth inning, but Elmwood scored two more runs to insure the win.