Placentia captures Atlantic crown
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.
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.
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.