Tillsonburg Glendale High School captured the TVRA Southeast/Central B championship with a win over Clarke Road in London on Friday, May 24.
Glendale advanced to Friday’s final with a windy B semifinal over Montcalm at Sam Lamb Field in Tillsonburg on Tuesday, May 21.
“It was actually really close for the first bit and we were like ‘uh oh,’” said Glendale’s Kevin Listar after a 10-1 win.
The Gemini (2-3), fourth in the Southeast, took control in the middle innings beating a winless Montcalm (0-5) to meet Clarke Road (1-3-1) in the B final.
If high winds were an issue, it affected both squads.
“For me, it’s been 14 years now playing baseball, so I’m kind of used to having windy days,” said Glendale’s Kevin Listar. “I just watch the pitcher’s hand and keep track.”
The wind was gusting hard from the south, blowing debris almost directly down the third baseline into batters’ faces. Good for pitchers, not so good for batters.
“Sometimes I lose track, then I just take that pitch.”
High fly balls seemed to carry higher, with less distance.
“It does affect the pitching, too,” said Listar, “but it normally depends on the speed of the pitcher. If it’s a slower pitcher it will move the ball a lot more. If it’s a quicker pitcher, it won’t move it much.”
Montcalm’s pitching tended to be ‘average to slow’, he said.
“This is really slow compared to what I’m used to. For high school, that’s about average speed.”
None of the six South East high school teams were loaded with experienced ball players this year, including Glendale.
“Central Elgin (St. Thomas) was the only team, they had two or three guys we knew could hit. IDCI had one guy from my Junior team, Tyler Neabe, who could hit – of course, he did well that day, he went 3-4. There’s a gap in the playing levels of this league.”
Mike Oliveira and Brett Parsons shared the majority of Glendale’s pitching, except for one outing.
“We had one game when five guys went in.”
Depth-wise, Glendale’s baseball team leaned hard on its hockey players.
“We’ve got a lot of hockey players, and a lot of them playing slo-pitch. We have some guys who actually have never played baseball before, too, but they can field and throw really well.”
“Two ball players, and about seven hockey players,” said Glendale coach Derek Partlo, smiling. “They love it once they’re out there. They’re playing slo-pitch now, getting extra at-bats, and they love it… they’re starting to love ball again. Good kids.”