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Alvinston Indians Impressive at Ontario Challenge Cup

September 18, 2012

The Alvinston Indians traveled to Ohsweken on the weekend, for the 14 team 2012 ISC Ontario Challenge Cup.
Game #1 was Saturday at 9:00am, and the Indians squared off against the Niagara Falls Can-Am. Alvinston opened the scoring in the third inning, when they plated 3 runs on 2 hits, with 3 Can-Am errors. The Indians added one more run in the 5th inning, and cruised to a 4-0 win. Kyle Crawford was the winning pitcher for the Indians, tossing 7 innings of shutout ball, while allowing 6 hits and 4 walks, with 11 strikeouts.
Jeff Ingram was 2/4 in the game for the Indians.

Game #2 was Saturday at 1:00pm, with the Indians squaring off against the Ponsonby Sting, who were led by young right handed pitcher Michael Roote. Crawford took the mound again for the Indians, and the two pitchers would provide the onlookers with a quality pitchers duel. Ponsonby counted the first run of the game in the top of the 5th inning, and appeared to be headed to a 1-0 win, until the Indians had other plans in their last at bat of the game in the 7th inning. Chris Drew singled to lead off the inning, and 2 wild pitches got Drew over to third base. He eventually scored on a sacrifice fly to centre field by Cody Campbell, to knot the game at 1's, and send the contest to extra innings and the international tiebreaker rule. Both teams were scoreless in the 8th inning, but in the 9th inning, Ponsonby pulled ahead 2-1, when a high chopper to short took a funny hop, which allowed the run to score from third. Again, Alvinston needed to score a run in their half of the 9th inning, and they did just that. With one out, Aaron Stocking walked to put runners on second and first. A ground ball was hit to the second basemen, and they attempted to turn the double play to end the game, but an aggressive slide at second by Stocking forced the shortstop to throw the ball wild to first, allowing Jeff Ingram to score from second to tie the game, courtesy of a Cody Campbell fielder's choice RBI. Once again, both teams would go scoreless in the 10th, and Crawford shut down the Sting in the top of the 11th inning. In the home half of the 11th inning, with Kyle Vink at second base; Jeff Lyons walked, to put runners at first and second. Vink was able to advance to third via a pass ball, and then Chris Drew delivered the game ending RBI single to score Vink, to allow the Indians to win the exciting game, by the final score of 3-2. Crawford tossed all 11 innings, with 5 hits allowed, 3 walks issued, and 11 strikeouts to earn the well deserved marathon win. Even more impressive, was the fact that he allowed no hits after the 6th inning, including no hits in the 4 extra innings. Roote was the hard luck loser for Ponsonby, allowing only 4 hits, while walking 7, and striking out 7 Indians batters, in 10 1/3 innings on the mound. Andy Triest and Chris Drew accounted for all the Alvinston hits in the contest with two a piece, while Drew scored a run and drove in the game winning run.

Game #3 put Alvinston up against the Wiarton Nationals, who were last year's Ontario Challenge Cup Champions. The Nationals jumped over a fatigued Crawford in his third game of the day, en route to what ended up being an 8-1 win in favour of Wiarton. Jeff Lyons pitched the 6th inning for Alvinston allowing the final two runs, which cut the game off at the end of six innings. Andy Triest was 2/2 for Alvinston, while Jeff Lyons had the only other hit for the Indians, as Nationals starter Scott Smith threw a three-hitter, and was tough as always, fanning 12 Indians batters in 6 innings of work.
That sent the Indians to Sunday morning at 11am against the Kitchener Diamond Jaxx. The Indians would have to reel off 3 straight wins to get them back from the loser's side to the championship game. The Indians hit the score sheet first, when Stocking singled in the 2nd inning, advanced to second base via a wild pitch, and scored on a Alix Chisholm RBI single. The Alvinston squad would add one more run in the 3rd inning, when Lyons walked, and scored on an RBI double by Ingram to the left field corner down the foul line. That was it. Kitchener threatened in a couple innings, but were never able to muster the big hit off of Crawford, as the Indians starter went on to his second shutout of the tournament, where he allowed 4 hits and 2 walks, with 9 strikeouts in 7 innings of work. The final score was 2-0 for Alvinston. Hoffman pitched effectively for the Diamond Jaxx, but suffered the loss.

With the win, the Indians would then face the Sweaburg Crush. Once again, Crawford took the mound, while Sweaburg countered with Todd Winkworth. Both pitchers were effective, and the game remained tight for the duration of the contest. Cody Campbell was hit by a pitch with one out in the first inning for Alvinston, and then with two out, consecutive singles by Jeff Ingram and Chris Drew plated Campbell for the opening run of the game. In the top of the third however, the Crush would square matters, but the Indians retook the lead by scoring another run in the bottom of the third inning. This time Campbell singled to lead off the inning, and with one out an Ingram walk put runners on first and second, before Drew hit his second RBI of the game, as he singled to put the Indians back out in front by a run. The Crush would come back in the next half inning and tie the game yet again, when consecutive singles to start the inning, and a one out sacrifice fly tied the game. Neither team was able to score in the 5th and 6th innings, and Crawford shut the Crush down in the top of the 7th inning, setting the scene for perhaps another late game win for the Indians. The Indians did just that, when Andy Triest tripled to left field, and then scored on a sacrifice fly to centre field by Joe Triest, for what was the winning run in a thrilling 3-2 win for Alvinston. Winkworth was the hard luck loser for Sweaburg, while Crawford collected his fourth win on the weekend. Crawford went 7 innings, allowing 2 earned runs, 7 hits, 1 hit batsman, and striking out 9.

The win against Sweaburg sent the Indians to the semi-final against the Innerkip Eagles, with the winner going on to face a very fresh Wiarton team in the Championship game. Crafty veteran Tim Neil took the mound for Innerkip against Crawford for Alvinston in this game. For Alvinston, a big hit early set the tempo in this game. Innerkip was able to score early with a single run off of Crawford in the 1st inning. But in the bottom of the first inning, Campbell reached first via a fielder's choice, Lyons then followed with a walk, and Ingram did what he does with men on base, as he crushed a 3 run homerun off of Neil to put the Indians up 3-1. That was it. Both teams would put runners in scoring position for 3 other innings in the game, but neither team changed the score, as the Indians would advance to the Championship game with their 3-1 win. Crawford went the distance again, tossing 7 innings of 1 run ball (an unearned run), with 5 hits and 2 walks, while fanning 4 Eagles swingers.

In the championship game, the Alvinston Indians would face off against the Wiarton Nationals for the second time in the tournament. It was Crawford yet again for Alvinston, with the Nationals countering with silky smooth veteran Scott Smith. Smith was dominant yet again for the Nationals, allowing only one batter more than the minimum. Alvinston could muster only 1 hit, a solo homer by Lyons that had them in the lead until the bottom of the third, when Wiarton tied the game, and then counted single runs in the 4th and 6th innings, to win 3-1. Crawford went the distance for Alvinston, allowing 3 earned runs in 6 innings of work, while allowing 8 hits and 2 walks, and fanning 7 batters.

All in all, the Indians went 5-2 in Ohsweken in the 2012 version of the ISC Ontario Challenge Cup, playing back to back to back to back games on Sunday, bowing out in the Championship game, to a well deserving champion in the Wiarton Nationals. The Indians had 17 runs for on the weekend, with 16 runs against. They didn't hit terribly well as a team, but scored enough runs in many occasions, thanks to young starter Kyle Crawford, who kept the opposing teams off the score sheet, and giving the team an opportunity to win games. Crawford pitched 50 innings of ball on the weekend, finishing with a 5-2 record on the weekend, while allowing 43 hits with 2 shutout performances. He had 15 walks and 57 strikeouts, and a 1.54 earned run average on the weekend. Good team defence, great pitching, and scrappy runs when needed contributed to their success on the weekend. Crawford's battery-mate, Cody Campbell, caught all seven games as well, which cannot be overlooked in the team's success.

The Indians close out the season with 16 win and 14 losses in tournament play, as they attended 6 competitive tournaments this season. They currently hold a 21-6 record in league play, and will face the St. Thomas Storm in the 2012 St. Thomas & District Major Fastball League Finals, with St. Thomas always providing excellent competition in what should be a great series.







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