Pla­cen­tia cap­tures At­lantic crown

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

De­fense and pitch­ing was the name of the game for the Pla­cen­tia Phillies at the un­der-12 At­lantic fast­pitch cham­pi­onship.

Led by the vir­tu­oso per­for­mances of hurlers Brady Judge and Blake O’Keefe, Pla­cen­tia out­lasted The Guys­bor­ough Jr. Broad­horns 1-0 in the fi­nal held in St. Croix, N.S., Sept. 17-20.

The pair of young­sters kept the high pow­ered Broad­horns of­fense at bay, lim­it­ing them to just one hit over six score­less frames.

“They threw fan­tas­tic,” said coach Daniel O’Keefe. “For un­der-12 ball, that’s re­ally great.”

Brady opened the game on the bump and pitched the first two in­nings. Blake fol­lowed that up with three more score­less in­nings, be­fore hand­ing the ball off to Brady to close things out.

Of course, a one-hit six-in­ning shutout does not hap­pen on arms alone. It takes im­pec­ca­ble de­fense to make ev­ery­thing fall into place.

Ev­ery­one in the field did their part in the im­pres­sive per­for­mance.

“We played ex­cel­lent de­fense,” said O’Keefe. “The whole team came to­gether. The whole at­mos­phere was in­cred­i­ble.”

The chips were stacked against the Phillies head­ing into the ti­tle game. They had lost their round robin game with the Broad­horns by a lop­sided score of 7-0.

That alone was enough to fire up the Phillies as they headed into the re­match. How­ever the Guys­bor­ough team was also on a sea­son-long win­ning streak af­ter win­ning their pre­vi­ous 42 games.

Un­daunted, Pla­cen­tia used it all as mo­ti­va­tion through­out the ti­tle match.

“We were the un­der­dog head­ing in,” said O’Keefe. “It lit a fire un­der the boys. We gave them their first loss of the sea­son.

“Kids were cry­ing and ev­ery­thing.”

Mem­bers of the team are: Brady Judge, Blake O’Keefe, Gavin Pitcher, Colby Pitcher, Ty Picco, Liam Mor­gan, Luke Wad­man, Allan Line­han, Jag­ger Ma­her, Jaiden Scha­ef­fer, Josh Spur­vey and Lawrence Walsh.

Coach­ing staff is Daniel O’Keefe and Desi Line­han.

The tour­na­ment

Be­sides the sin­gle loss to Guys­bor­ough in the round robin, Pla­cen­tia fin­ished sec­ond over­all head­ing into the play­offs.

They opened the tour­ney by dou­bling the team from West Hants, N.S., 6-3. Gavin Pitcher was named the player of the game for Pla­cen­tia.

In Game 2, they fell to Guys­bor­ough. Brady Judge was POG in that one. Later in the day, the Phillies re­bounded with a 11-5 vic­tory over Antigo­nish.

Ty Picco earned player of the game hon­ours for his per­for­mance.

They fin­ished the round robin with a 5-0 shutout of the fel­low New­found­land team, the South­ern Shore Crush. Blake O’Keefe was POG.

In the semi­fi­nals, Pla­cen­tia beat Hoyt, N.B., 2-0 to book their spot in the fi­nal. Colby Pitcher was player of the game.

What a year

The At­lantic ti­tle caps an in­cred­i­ble year for the un­der-12 lads from Pla­cen­tia.

In early July, the team cap­tured the Cst. Wil­liam Moss tour­na­ment ti­tle, which was fol­lowed by an un­der-12 pro­vin­cial ti­tle later in the same month.

“It’s great for the kids,” said O’Keefe.

The coach sees the At­lantic ti­tle run as some­thing his play­ers will re­mem­ber for years to come.

Although they’re young, the par­ent group is work­ing on putting to­gether a com­pi­la­tion disc of the team’s games to stoke the mem­ory fires when the time comes. They were streamed live via the In­ter­net, which should make that goal a bit eas­ier to achieve.

Re­gard­less, it’s some­thing they shared to­gether.

“Years down the road, they’ll be able to look back and say they brought home a gold medal,” said O’Keefe.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The Pla­cen­tia Phillies un­der-12 fast­pitch team shutout the Guys­bor­ough Jr. Barons 1-0 in the fi­nal of the At­lantic Un­der-12 Soft­ball Cham­pi­onships held in St. Croix, N.S., Sept. 17-20.

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