Mosquito Bulldogs conclude successful summer
The finish of the Baseball NL mosquito AA provincial championships was not quite the storybook ending the Baseball CBN Bulldogs had in mind.
The teams had hopes of representing the province at the Atlantic tournament next month but were denied the opportunity after the Grand Falls-Windsor Braves defeated the Bulldogs 6-0 at the Kiwanis Field in Kelligrews on Aug. 23.
The Braves got a spectacular performance on the mound from starter Mitchell Dinn. The tournament MVP used a strong fastball and great control to scatter a few hits across six innings as he dueled the trio of Bulldogs pitchers he faced. On top of that, Dinn drove in a run with a pair of hits at the plate.
Bulldogs’ Owen Sparkes, Dylan Whelan and Christian Reardon matched Dinn pitch for pitch, but timely hitting pushed Grand Falls-Windsor over the top.
Despite the silver showing, the medal capped an impressive season for the pint-sized Bulldogs. It was the seventh tournament for the crowd from CBN and their seventh medal showing on the season.
The tournaments took the team to most major provincial baseball centres including Conception Bay South (twice), St. John’s, Paradise, Mount Pearl, CBN and Corner Brook and an impressive record of 21-9-1. That included the team’s 4-1 record in the provincial tournament.
The breakdown goes like this — two gold, four silver and one bronze.
“We didn’t really know what to expect. No one knew what to expect this summer,” said coach Dean Whelan. “That’s not too shabby of a record.”
Whelan, along with fellow coaches Josh Mercer and Cailey Drover certainly were not sure they’d see a summer that included a string of Sunday game days and championship appearances.
“There is a big commitment level that comes with travelling for seven weekends,” said Whelan. “That’s a big part of it.”
Confidence is a funny thing
Confidence can work in every team’s favour when the players believe in what they’re doing and in their abilities.
After the first tournament final appearance, the Bulldogs players started believing they were bound for Sunday baseball in every tournament they played in.
“The players started believing in themselves,” said Whelan. “They felt they had a chance every weekend and were ready to take these teams on. They started expecting to go into tournaments and be in contention.”
Competing with large associations
This season’s success can be seen as an indicator of the talent level that exists within the catchment area of the Bulldogs.
The mosquito group had just 24 players register for the 2015 season, a stark contrast from their opponents. At times, they were running up against associations with upwards to 150 mosquito players signed up.
“To go and compete with these larger centres, there are lots of talented kids in this area,” said Whelan.
As the summer progressed for the Bulldogs, the fundamentals of the game started to become a bit clearer. From ensuring they stayed on a base after a hit or throwing to the right cut off per- son when in the outfield, the players started exhibiting a greater understanding of the game as the innings started to pile up.
“We got contributions from everyone,” said Whelan. “The players grew as a group both at and away from the field. They were a great group.”
Alas, all good things must come to an end as they say. Even in baseball, when the summer turns to fall the good teams become figments of the past.
“It was a great summer that seemed to end a little to quickly,” Whelan lamented.
Players’ skills improved as summer went The CBN Bulldogs and Grand Falls-Windsor Braves met in the final of the Baseball NL mosquito AA provincial championship held at Kiwanis Field in Kelligrews Aug. 21-23. The Braves defeated the Bulldogs 6-0.