The 15U Ottawa Nepean Canadians finally strike gold in the Premier Baseball League of Ontario playoffs

(With players from Stittsville, the 15U Ottawa Nepean Canadians played in their last baseball tournament of the season during the weekend of July 21-23 in Kingston, Ontario. The team brought home the league championship. There were divisional teams (14U to 18U) from across the Premier Baseball League of Ontario participating in the year-end tournament. Photos: Kaitlyn LeBoutillier)

The Ottawa Nepean Canadians (ONC) are a local baseball team that play in the PBLO (Premier Baseball League of Ontario) and draws from all over Ottawa and its surrounding area, including Stittsville. Over the weekend of July 21-23, the PBLO hosted their playoffs for all their age divisions (14U-18U). 

(Kyler LeBoutillier (l), centre field, and Danny Finnie (r), pitcher and first base, both of Stittsville, play for the Ottawa Nepean Canadians. They played in the winning tournament in Kingston.)

All ONC teams had a good showing at their playoffs, the 14U’s had a strong effort in a tough division, the 16U’s were 1-2 and in a competitive tournament didn’t move on to Sunday, and the 18U’s were 2-1-1, making it to Sunday but facing a tough loss in the morning. Of all the teams, the 15U’s had the best performance, finding themselves in the finals. 

The Ottawa Nepean Canadians 15U team was nearing the end of a marathon summer. They started their season back in May with league games at Hamilton Yards, their home diamond, and since then have travelled everywhere from Ohio to Dorchester to Michigan and more. The 15U team competed in lots of tournaments and always had a good showing but never quite finishing the job. The best showing they had was at the Great Lakes tournament at the Dorchester Field of Dreams just outside of London, Ontario, where they placed second, losing to the hosting team in the finals. 

Heading into their last effort as a team, the Canadians were determined to come back to Ottawa with some hardware. So, with only one thing on their mind, ONC headed to Kingston to being their playoff run.

The Canadians opened up their playoff tournament Friday night against the London Badgers. They took a convincing victory over the Badgers in a 10-1 final score, just the strong offensive start they were looking for.  

In their second game of the tournament, the Canadians tied the Midwestern Ontario Bearcats with a 4-4 score to start their Saturday. Their final round-robin game was against the undefeated hosting team, the Kingston Junior Ponies. ONC, unfortunately, dropped the game in a back-and-forth 6-5 loss.

The way the playoffs were formatted this year, every team makes it to the knockout round but the standing determines who you play against. Because of the minimal impact that the round-robin games had on the final round, most teams saved their pitcher’s arms and roasted through their lineups. That meant that come Sunday each team would have all their best pitchers ready to go, making for some tight games on Sunday. After all the scores were tallied, ONC was matched up against the Badgers to start their playoff round in the semi-finals.

(Dylan Findley, pitcher for the Ottawa Nepean Canadians, winds up to deliver his first pitch of the winning game against the London Badgers.)

This contest against the Badgers was closer than the first. Dylan Findley got the ball to start the must-win game and had the dominant outing that the team was hoping for. He completed the game, going seven innings and only allowing two runs. The offence provided the run support that they were looking for and put up five runs, leading to a 5-2 victory for the Canadians, landing them a spot in the league finals.

For their final game of the tournament, the Canadians faced the Midwestern Ontario Bearcats, a team they had previously tied in the tournament and had a winning record against in the regular season. ONC won the coin toss and got to be the home team in the final game, meaning they took the field to start.

(Ethan Bathurst was the starting pitcher in the final gold medal game for the Ottawa Nepean Canadians against the Midwestern Ontario Bearcats.)

In the gold medal game, Ethan Bathurst was the starting pitcher and despite an effective first inning, gave up one run. However, the Canadians were quick to pick up their teammate, putting up a three-spot in the bottom of the first inning. The Bearcats would tack on another run later in the game, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Ottawa Nepean Canadians took the final game 4-2, winning them the league championship.

(Teammates (l-r) Kyler LeBoutillier, Danny Finnie, Will Martin and Ethan Bathurst excitedly pose with their winning league championship trophy after winning the U15 age category of the PBLO final tournament in Kingston.)

After a dominant regular season and some strong contests in tournaments across North America, the 15U Ottawa Nepean Canadians were finally golden. What a great way to cap off their season!

(After their final game, the players for the two PBLO U15 teams, the Ottawa Nepean Canadians and the Midwestern Ontario Bearcats, joined together for a celebratory photo on July 23.)



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