U17 Stittsville 56er’s boys win Provincial B Softball Championship

(The Stittsville 56er’s U17 provincial B Champions who won their tournament in Grafton, Ontario at the end of July. L-R Back Row: Assistant coach Vic Wootton, Assistant coach Tim Maxwell, Bennett Rusenstrom, Peyton Shields, Joey Kerluke, Daniel Read, Skyler Pharand, Ashton Ledain, Billy Wootton, Assistant coach Matt Wilson, Head coach Al Read; L-R Front Row: Reid Wilson, Hunter Beauregard, Cade Kuehl, Graham Maxwell and Ethan Howard. Photo: submitted)

The Stittsville 56er’s U17 boys competed at the end of July in the Ontario Amateur Softball Association (OASA) Provincial B Championships held in Grafton Ontario.

Their first game matched them up against Havelock. After being down 2-0 after one, the sixers finally put a run on the board in the 4th and another in the 5th to tie it at 2. Then in the bottom of the 6th with one out, Reid Wilson gave the 56ers a 3-2 lead with his first career home run! Unfortunately, the lead didn’t hold and Havelock scratched a run out in the top of 7 to tie it. The sixers couldn’t score in their half of the 7th and they were off to extra innings.

In the top of the 8th, Havelock exploded with 3 runs to take a 6-3 lead. But the 56’ers refused to go away scoring 3 of their own in the bottom of the 8th with an RBI single by Joey Kerluke and a 2-run double by Cade Kuehl and the game was back to a tie at 6. In the 9th inning, both teams traded runs. For the 56er’s, Reid Wilson scored on a Peyton Shields RBI single. But it was still tied at 7.

In the Top of the 10th , the 56’ers starting pitcher Graham Maxwell apparently had enough and struck out two Havelock batters and induced a pop fly to hold Havelock in check. In the bottom of the 10th with runners on 1st and 3rd , Cade Kuehl was at it again with the walk of single scoring Billy Wootton from 3rd to take the marathon game 8-7. Maxwell had the complete 10 inning game win.

Game 2 matched the Sixers up against a scrappy team from Fingal. Daniel Read was on the mound and was mowing down the Fingal batters early. The 56’ers bats were still hot from the night before scoring 2 in the 1st and 5 more in the top of the 4th to stake Stittsville to a 7-1 lead. Fingal stormed out in the bottom of the 4th though and got 2 back, but their rally was cut short by the laser arm of Bennett Rusenstrom from left field throwing the Fingal runner out at the plate and kept the score 7-3. Unfortunately, the momentum had still turned. With a 3 up 3 down top of the 5th for Stittsville, Fingal scored 3 more in the bottom of 5th and the lead was cut to 7-6.

In the 6th , Cade Kuehl hit a one out triple and scored on a fielder’s choice by Hunter Beauregard, and the lead was up to 8-6. In the bottom of the 6th , Stittsville tried to stem the tide sending Graham Maxwell back to the mound. Fingal still came back though with 2 runs, however, a game-saving diving catch in center field by Reid Wilson ended the threat. The game was tied 8-8 heading for the 7th. The Sixers scored a huge run in the 7th with an RBI double by Ashton Ledain, but with 2 outs in the bottom of the 7th , Fingal scratched a run across and for the second straight game, the team was headed for extra innings.

In the 8th , the 56ers exploded for 3 quick runs after a single by Ethan Howard, and another 2-run triple by Cade Kuehl. But again, Fingal fought back, scoring 2 runs to make the game 12-11. With 2 outs and the tying run on second, Fingal’s number 2 batter hit one to the gap. But it wasn’t enough for the speed of Stittsville’s star left fielder Bennett Rusenstrom, who made the nice running catch and end the game.

Game 3 was the undefeated game between Stittsville and Hillsdale. Daniel Read toed the rubber again for Stittsville, but the game didn’t start the way they hoped. Hillsdale scored 3 runs in the top of the first and 3 more in the top of the second for an early 6-0 lead. Things looked a little bleak. But the Cardiac Kids didn’t quit. With the help of a few walks, a few Hillsdale errors and some timely hits, the Sixers scored 8 times in the bottom of the second and took an 8-6 lead…after 2 innings!

In the 3rd inning, Hillsdale was right back at it and scored 3 more to make the score 9-8 for them, but in the bottom of the 3rd , an RBI single by Ethan Howard (who was later erased on the bases), a Cade Kuehl double and Hunter Beauregard massive 2-run home run put the Sixers back on top 11-9…after 3 innings!

Everything seemed to settle down after that. Read started dealing with a nasty change up and held the hot Hillsdale sticks off the board in the 4th and 5th. However, the Stittsville bats were quiet as well. Graham Maxwell entered the game in the top of the 6th and threw another scoreless inning. In the bottom of the 6th, now batting for Read, Maxwell laced a double in the gap and eventually came around to score to put the team up 12-9. They didn’t know how important that run was.

In the top of the 7th, Hillsdale came back, scoring 2 more runs to make the game 12-11 and had the bases loaded with none out. But Maxwell was able to strike out the number 4 hitter, then induced a fly ball to 3rd basemen Ethan Howard, and got a routine ground out to Beauregard at short stop and the Sixers won their second straight 12-11 thriller.

The finals on Sunday set up a re-match with Hillsdale after they knocked off Havelock in the morning (who took the bronze medal). The Iron right arm of Graham Maxwell was back on the hill for the Sixers. But after a single and 2 strike outs in the top of the first, Fingal exploded with a single and 3 doubles and took an early 4-0 lead. It stayed that way until the bottom of the third when Stittsville got their legs back. After walks to Billy Wootton, Rusenstrom and Ethan Howard, a double by Cade Kuehl, a single by Beauregard and a triple by Reid Wilson put the sixers up 5-4. Wilson then scored on a pass ball and the sixers were up 6-4 after 3.

The game stayed like that until the top of the 6th when Hillsdale went back to work. With 2 outs and a runner on second, Hillsdale got 3 walks, 2 singles, a double and a 3-run bomb, scoring 7 runs and took a commanding 11-6 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth inning. Down 5 runs in the bottom of the 6th would seem like an unsurmountable lead, however these incredible young men didn’t quit. After singles by Daniel Read and Peyton Shields, with one out Bennett Rusenstrom ripped a singled scoring 2. Rusenstrom later came in to score as well after a fielder’s choice and a Hillsdale error and the score was 11-9 heading to the 7th.

The top of 7 was not without drama. With 2 out and the bases juiced, Hillsdale’s leadoff hitter who already had a 3-run home run in the sixth, stepped to the plate and ripped one down the left field line. A full out sprawling diving catch by Rusenstrom was easily the defensive highlight of the year for the 56er’s team, keeping the game within in reach. Stittsville started the bottom of the 7th, with a leadoff walk to Reid Wilson, who immediately stole second. Daniel Read then laced an RBI single and the score was down to one. After a Joey Kerluke fielder’s choice, Peyton Shields hit a one out double scoring Kerluke and tied the game at 11! For the third time in 4 games, the 56ers were headed back to extra innings. In the top of the 8th, with the international tie breaker rule in effect and a runner starting on second base, the sixers got a quick out after inducing an infield fly on a bunt attempt. Then the Hillsdale number 3-batter hit a long fly ball to left field. Having the tournament of his life, Bennett Rusenstrom caught the long fly and fired a rocket to Howard at third base nailing the runner who had tagged up from second, ending the top of the 8th!

With Ethan Howard starting on second base in the top of the 8th inning, Kuehl hit a rocket line drive to left field, but it was caught and Howard was forced to stay at 2nd. Beauregard followed that up with a deep line drive to center which was also caught but Howard was able to advance to 3rd on the sac fly. So, with 2 outs, Reid Wilson stepped to the plate and hit a lazy fly ball to right field…however, the right fielder lost the ball in the sun, and with that, Howard scored the game winning and Provincial B winning run for the Stittsville 56’ers for their 3rd straight 12-11 win and the Championship.

An amazing weekend and an amazing accomplishment. This was only Stittsville’s second year competing at the OASA level, and all but 2 members of the team are first year U17 players. They overcame much adversity and grew together as men this weekend.

Onwards and upwards Sixers!


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