GCVI rides underdog route to D4/10 baseball title

GUELPH – The Guelph CVI Green Gaels continued their District 4/10 high schools baseball playoff trend Wednesday to nab the league’s championship plaque.

The Gaels were the visiting team (meaning the lower one in the standings) in each of their playoff matches, but they knocked off their opponents each time.

Wednesday, the Gaels needed two extra innings to slip by the St. James Lions 8-7 at Hastings Stadium. That win followed a 7-6 win over the Bishop Macdonell Celtics at Pearson Park in the semifinals and a 9-3 victory over the Centre Dufferin Royals at Orangeville’s Prince of Wales Park in the quarter-finals.

GCVI had finished the regular season in fifth place at 2-3-1 while Bishop Mac was first at 5-0-1, St. James second at 3-2-1 and Centre Dufferin fourth at 2-3-1 by virtue of winning the tiebreaker with GCVI and the Centennial Spartans who also finished at 2-3-1.

Wednesday, the Gaels scored the winning run in the top of the ninth inning without the benefit of a hit. With one out, Mark Caswell and Aidan Cuetich were issued back-to-back walks before Griffin Cleghorn hit into a fielder’s choice to advance both runners. A walk to James Geddes loaded the bases and the run came in when Alex Keating was walked.

GCVI preserved the win in the bottom of the inning thanks to the arms of their outfielders. Nick Bombino, the first batter up for St. James in the bottom of the ninth, was hit by a pitch. Nick LoStracco followed with a single into left field, but Bombino was out trying to get to third on the play. After Noah Graham was walked, Nathaniel Maw stroked a single into centre field, but LoStracco was out at the plate trying to score the equalizer.

St. James had opened the scoring with three runs in the first inning as each of its first three batters scored. The Gaels tied it with three runs in the top of the fifth before the Lions shot ahead again with four runs in the bottom of the fifth. GCVI got a run back in the sixth and tied it with three runs in the seventh to force extra innings. High school games are seven innings in duration.

The Gaels had five hits in the game as Jacob Shackwell hit a double and a single, Jacob Elmes and Alex Keating each hit a double and Cleghorn hit a single.

The Lions also had six hits as Graham hit two singles, Noah Campagnolo had a triple and LoStracco, Maw and Caleb Bowles each hit a single.

Ryan Kush started and pitched four innings for GCVI. He yielded three runs off three hits and two walks and had six strikeouts. Caswell relieved and pitched four innings, giving up four runs off a hit and a walk. He had four strikeouts. Evan Terkildsen pitched the ninth for the win. He yielded two hits and a walk, but didn’t give up any runs.

LoStracco started for St. James and held GCVI scoreless through his four-inning stint. He surrendered two hits, didn’t walk anyone and struck out four. Campagnolo gave up seven runs in two innings as he yielded three hits and four walks and he had a strikeout. Ethan Dennie walked both batters he faced before Carter Keleher came in to pitch the final three innings. He held the Gaels hitless, but walked five and had a strikeout.

For the Gaels, it was their first league championship win since 2008 and their fifth overall. They advance to the CWOSSA playoffs in the spring.

  • Guelph Sports Journal