Creeks clip Port Dover for 7th straight win

Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal

GUELPH – The Guelph Silvercreeks broke open a close game with five runs in the fifth inning as they headed to their seventh consecutive Central Ontario Junior Baseball League win, an 11-1 mercy-rule victory over the reigning Inter-County junior champion Port Dover Clippers.

“We’re playing good and we’re a strong team,” Creeks coach Fred Loder said. “When we gel, I don’t know if anybody can beat us, but there are a couple of strong teams in the loop, too.”

The Creeks had scored two runs in the first inning to grab a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, but Port Dover responded with a run in the top of the fourth. The hosts started to pull away with their five runs in the fifth. They added another run in the sixth and scored three in the seventh to bring the game to an end with the 10-run difference.

Although Port Dover won last year’s Inter-County final with a series win over the Creeks, the locals didn’t consider Wednesday’s game a revenge match.

“Port Dover had a senior team last year,” Loder said. “They were a good team, but they’ve lost a lot of guys so now they have to rebuild, just like any team.”

Guelph struck for 15 hits and committed two errors while pitchers Tyler MacKillop and Garret Morgan held Port Dover to a pair of hits. The Clippers committed four errors.

MacKillop pitched five innings, limiting Port Dover to an unearned run off two hits and three walks. He had three strikeouts. Morgan issued three walks and had four strikeouts in the two innings he pitched.

Trystan Dennie connected for four singles for the Creeks while Nick Lannutti had a double and a single and Nathan Laird hit two singles. Mason Copeland, Lucas Smit, Tyler Randa, Ryan Malyk, Stephen Whelan, Scott Seifried and Phil Guilmette each had a single.

The Creeks lead the league at 10-2-0. They’ve hit double digits in runs in five of their wins including their last three and allowed double figures in runs in both of their losses.

“I knew we could compete in this league,” Loder said. “I’m actually surprised there are some teams that are a little bit weaker than I expected, but so was our loop (Inter-County Junior League) with certain teams. We got stronger because Kitchener lost their team so that helped us.”

The Oakville A’s are second at 8-2-0 and are followed by the Burlington Bulls at 7-1-0, Mississauga Southwest Twins at 6-6-1, Mississauga North Tigers at 6-1-0, Stratford Nationals at 5-2-1 and Brantford Junior Red Sox at 5-4-1. Port Dover fell to 3-5-0 with the loss.

Next league outing for the Creeks is July 13 when they’re to play the Junior Red Sox at Brantford.

The Creeks are to compete in the Brampton tournament this weekend. They’re to play Peterborough Friday night and face North York and Mississauga Southwest Saturday. They’re scheduled to have another game Saturday night if they advance out of their pool.

“It could be four games in a matter of one day,” Loder said. “It’s a lot, but we have a big roster so we’re prepared for it more than a lot of other teams. A lot of other teams are only carrying 15 guys and we’re carrying a full roster (24).”

The Creeks are also getting ready for the Ontario Baseball Association’s 22-team junior elimination tournament at Oshawa Aug. 4 to 7. The Creeks are to play Brampton in the opening round.

“We have to get our pitchers some work,” Loder said. “That’s been our biggest struggle because we have such a big roster and that’s why we’ve been trying to put ourselves in some more tournaments. This weekend will be good to get the pitchers some work. That’s the big thing.”