Team Wins 2nd ORSA Championship in 3 Years
The sizzling weekend temperatures synchronized perfectly with the hot hitting Puslinch Kodiaks, catapulting them to another Ontario Rural Softball Association Men’s Championship.
On Saturday July 25th, the Aberfoyle Community Centre played host to the tournament amongst loyal fans, local families and market go-ers. The team battled against competition from Jarvis & Highgate for not only first place, but a berth in the 2016 Eastern Canadians – a tournament the Kodiaks qualified for in both 2013 & 2014. With the successful weekend, the team officially booked its ticket back to the tournament, typically held in Atlantic Canada.
The Kodiaks, coached by Tom Jefferson/Mark Slade, claimed their sixth championship and second ORSA in the last three years. Many of the core players began their baseball careers in Puslinch Minor Ball and have competed together ever since. The team currently plays in the Golden Horseshoe Fastball League regularly competing with world-class competition.
A hard-fought, 8-5 Loss at the hands of the Jarvis Jays was the only blemish in an otherwise dominant day for the Kodiaks. Both lefty Scott Gordon (3.0 IP, 6H, 4K’s) and knuckleballer David Jefferson (3.0 IP, 6H, 2K’s 1 BB) fell victim to the hot air and windy conditions, which resulted in four homeruns for the Jays. The Kodiaks clawed their way back to within one run in the sixth, on back-to-back-to-back homeruns by 2B JJ Gallo, LF Erik Horner & RF Matt Haines. DH John Blair also added a round-tripper within the inning, but the Jays tacked on three more runs in the bottom half to seal the deal and put themselves in the win column.
The second game of the day was a back and forth affair against the Highgate Rock, resulting in a 13-6 Win for the Kodiaks. Mike Haines (2.0 IP, 4 ER, 2 K’s) started the game but got into trouble early and was relieved by Gordon (5.0 IP, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K’s) who was able to limit the damage the rest of the way. The defense was highlighted by some impeccable plays by SS Brandon Viol, great game management by C Kyle McCaig while RF Matt Haines and DH John Blair continued their hot hitting, combining for 3 HRs and 8 RBIs.
The championship game – a rematch between the Jays & Kodiaks, was another offensive slug-fest, with a combined 23 runs scored. Jays righty Kent Wardell (4.0 IP, 9 ER, 1K) was touched up, highlighted by huge games at the plate by CF Mike Lajoie (4/4, 2 HRs, 7 RBIs), DH John Blair (4/4, 2 RBIs, 2 SBs) and SS Brandon Viol (3/4, 3 RBIs). Gordon (6.0 IP CG, 6H, 3Ks, 4BB) pitched very effectively, inducing 10 ground ball outs despite Jays’ brothers 1B Cory & LF Dylan McCarthy taking him deep. Puslinch would conclude their triumphant day by scoring 6 runs in the final frame, highlighted by a walk-off 3-run homer by LF Erik Horner (2/4, HR, 3RBIs).
The Kodiaks would like to thank all the loyal fans that cheered them on despite the heat and the Aberfoyle Community Centre with its picturesque grounds/facilities. Big thanks to the Optimist Club and Puslinch Minor Ball for their support over the years. Thank you to the ORSA committee for another successful tournament and a big thanks to Ken Roth’s food truck who provided everyone with tasty meals throughout the day.
If you’d like to see the Kodiaks in action battling for a GHFL playoff position, they play in Aberfoyle at 9PM on Tuesday August 4th and August 18th.