Jackfish crowned first-time IBL champions

Welland crushes Barrie in Game 6 to take title

The Welland Jackfish pose for a team photo at home plate of Vintage Throne Stadium after beating the Barrie Baycats 17-1 to win their first IBL championship (Andrew Stuetz/Toronto Observer) 

BARRIE, Ont. — Welland Jackfish are champions of the Intercounty Baseball League.

The Jackfish beat the Barrie Baycats 17-1 for their fourth win in a row to capture their first-ever title in six games to capture the Dominico Cup. They had fallen behind 2-0 in the best-of-seven, but came storming back.

Welland starter James Bradwell (5-0 in post-season) was named the playoff’s most valuable player after limiting the Baycats to one run on six hits and two walks over seven and two-thirds innings. He finished the post-season with an earned-run average of 1.02 in 35 innings.

Left-fielder Matteo Porcellato hit two home runs and drove in five while designated-hitter Sam Cawker went 4-for-5 with two RBI.

Jackfish leader and centre-fielder Gianfranco Morello had a home run and two RBI with three hits in six at-bats as Welland outhit the Baycats 12-5. Right-fielder Hunter Brown and catcher Carlos Martinez came through with two RBIs each, while shortstop James Smibert went 1-for-5 with an RBI.

Barrie DH Ryan Rijo finished 1-for-4 and drove in the Baycat’s lone run in the eighth inning. Shortstop Carson Burns had two hits in three at-bats.

Baycats’ Evan Soules took the loss, allowing six runs on five hits over 2.1 innings. He walked two and didn’t record a strikeout. 

Five Barrie errors resulted in nine unearned runs in the rout. Welland made only one miscue in the field.

The Jackfish wasted no time against the Baycats on Saturday night scoring four runs in the first inning.

Fast start for Welland

After Cawker scored Morello and advanced first baseman Steven Morello to second on a hard hit single to open the scoring, Porcellato put the pressure on and cranked a no-doubt, three-run blast to centre to break it open for Welland early.

After a scoreless second, Porcellato was at it again in the third, this time launching a two-run shot for his second round tripper of the game, but not without some jawing from Soules, who would then be taken out of the game by Baycats’ manager Josh Matlow and replaced with right-hander Brandon Hillier.

The Jackfish laid the hammer down in the seventh inning despite leading 7-0 by that point, plating seven runs in the inning. After an error, a single, and a walk loaded the bases for Welland, Aidan Rossel came in for the Baycats.

A collection of fielding errors would spoil the outing for Rossel before Cawker roped a double to drive in his second RBI.

The Jackfish led the Baycats 14-0 after the seventh inning.

Barrie wouldn’t be shutout in the loss despite the beat down as Rijo drove in Canice Ejoh with an eighth inning single for his first hit of the game and only second hit of the series. He finished two-for-19 in the finals.

Five-year IBL veteran lefty Chris Boatto was brought into the game to record the final out for the Jackfish – a strikeout of infielder Owen Jansen – before launching his glove high into the night sky in celebration.

Notes: No member of the Jackfish had previously won an IBL championship prior to Saturday night … Welland pitcher Casey Bouillere-Howard returned to the IBL finals for the first time since 2014 when he was a member of the Brantford Red Sox … The Baycats won six IBL championships in a row between 2014-2019.

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Posted: Sep 17 2023 9:27 am
Filed under: Baseball Sports