Orioles soar to senior baseball title
In Major League Baseball, the Orioles are the undisputed bottom-feeders of 2018. Much to the chagrin of Baltimore fans the world over. In Prince George, there’s nothing but joy around the Orioles’ nest.
The Northern Traditional Homes Orioles finished on top of the Century 21 Prince George Senior Baseball League, capping a perfect 6-0 playoff run with a 6-4 win over the Inland Control & Services Tigers Wednesday night at Citizen Field.
The O’s swept the best-of-five final series over the first-place regular-season finishers, capitalizing on quality pitching and timely hitting that pushed the team’s offensive output in the playoffs up considerably.
They averaged seven runs in the three games and no Orioles starter – Jon Bourassa, Craig Langille and Dylan Johnson – needed any relief in the run to the championship.
“I think that was our first winning streak – we won the last seven games,” said Langille.
“With the Orioles, it’s the pitching. Jonny (Bourassa) is incredible and we all threw complete games in both series. The pitching was huge and defence was great and we had a lot of key hits, too.
“Usually, Orioles ball is 2-1 or 3-1 victories and we were putting up an average (seven) runs and that was nice to see.”
Langille, who joined the Orioles last year, delivered his finest pitching performance in two seasons in Game 2 on Monday, an 8-0 shutout with 13 strikeouts, allowing just two hits over seven innings.
“I was hitting spots and it was nice, especially against a team like that – the guys can swing it – it was really good,” said the 32-yearold Nova Scotia native.
Langille had another strong outing with his bat while playing centrefield in the clincher Wednesday, finishing 2-for-3 with two doubles and four runs batted in. He sparked the offence in the second inning with a bases-loaded double that cleared the bases and put the Orioles ahead 5-0.
But the Tigers did not go down quietly. They scored two in the fourth and two more in the seventh to make it a two-run game. But with a runner on base, Johnson forced heavyhitter Adam Norn into a game-ending ground-out to shortstop Kalen Kirkpatrick. The Orioles pitcher allowed four earned runs while striking out eight.
Lyle Boutin went 3-for-3 to lead the Tigers, driving in one run and scoring two himself.
Langille emerged as the top hitter and top pitcher of the postseason and was named playoff MVP. He went 7-for-11 in the first series, a three-game sweep of the P.G. Surg-Med Knights, then hit six-for-12 in the championship series with six RBI and three runs, including a home run in the second inning of Game 2. Bourassa also clubbed one over the wall in that second game and finished the series with six hits.
The mercury plunged to near freezing Wednesday night with a wind chill on top of that and rain, and that tempered the celebration on the field somewhat for the Orioles, who last won the playoffs in 2015.
“It was freezing cold (Monday) and last night was worse,” Langille said. “I haven’t played in that kind of cold since Halifax, when we play in October and have the cold wind coming off the ocean.”
The Orioles beat the Tigers 7-4 in the opener a week ago Thursday.
The Tigers eliminated the Queensway Auto World Red Sox in the other semifinal series.
Langille said his team thoroughly enjoyed playing the Knights, a team of teenagers fresh from winning the Western Canadian double-A championship in late August.
“They never make a mistake in the field, which bodes well for their coaching,” said Langille. “They’re pretty young, so when it comes to hitting it’s a lot more difficult for them when they’re playing against grown men who have been pitching for 20 or 30 years. But they fared very well.”
Usually, Orioles ball is 2-1 or 3-1 victories and we were putting up an average (seven) runs and that was nice to see. — Craig Langille
Northern Traditional Homes Orioles pitcher Dylan Johnson throws against the Inland Control & Services Tigers on Wednesday night at Citizen Field. In Game 3 of the best-of-five playoff championship series, the Orioles won 6-4 and completed a sweep of the Tigers. The Orioles prevailed 7-4 in Game 1 and 8-0 in Game 2.