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Red Sox return in Tillsonburg

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The Tillsonburg Red Sox are back.

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Organized by player/manager Kevin Listar, the men’s baseball team played its first game of the Southern Counties season last Friday, winning 6-0 at Sam Lamb Field against another local ‘reborn’ team, Walsingham Senators.

A new franchise, Listar said it was important to honour the old.

“The Red Sox means something in town,” said Listar, who played his minor baseball in Tillsonburg.

“The Lambs started something, and obviously it’s called Sam Lamb Field. They started this team, and to me it meant a lot. I approached Tyler (Lamb) and I asked if I could keep that going – and he was more than happy to – he sold me the jerseys at such a good price to help us in our first year. And that meant the world.”

The new Red Sox have roots from three teams. Most of the players were part of the Delhi team, along with players from an Ingersoll team that played in Tillsonburg a few years ago.

They supplemented those groups with homegrown talent Friday night including TMBI grads Jeff Prouse, Josh Vaters and Brendan DeClark.

“And then we’ve got two guys from Brantford,” Listar noted.

“So we’re just a collab of teams and, more importantly, friends. We’ve got a couple 20 year olds, most of us are mid-20s to around 30, and we’ve got a couple older guys too. We’ve got our veterans.”

Listar received the blessing and cooperation from the Lamb and Partlo families, who started the Tillsonburg Red Sox in the 1970s, along with baseball-owner advice.

Former Red Sox and Old Sox catcher/pitcher Trevor Lamb, Sam’s grandson, was the plate umpire for Friday’s game, which started with the Red Sox plating its first three batters – Rob Verhoeve, Listar and Braydon Verschueren – to take a 3-0 first-inning lead. Justin Wierenga later scored on a fourth-inning Josh Vaters home run.

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“We’ve got guys who just started playing a couple years ago, and guys who have played since we were 3-4 years old, so it’s a good mix,” said 26-year-old Listar. “We’ve got everything.”

The Red Sox are sponsored by Domino’s Pizza Tillsonburg and Maurice J. Verhoeve Funeral Homes, Burials and Cremation Services Inc. The team expects to add a couple more sponsors soon.

“For the first year I wanted to keep costs down for everyone,” said Listar.

The Red Sox are playing a 10-game season with the schedule being set only a couple weeks ago. Following Sunday’s 2 p.m. scheduled game at Simcoe Seniors, they’ve got games on July 16 at home to Walsingham 8 p.m., and July 18 at Simcoe Juniors 2 p.m., then back-to-back home games on the 23rd and 30th against Scotland and Simcoe Seniors, both at 8 p.m. The regular season wraps up with four August games.

“For our first year we want to be competitive,” said Listar. “It was a great group of guys in Delhi, it just felt good to come to Tillsonburg. I felt I could get more guys here to come play here.

“Walsingham, for a first-year team, they were good tonight,” Listar added. “They had great pitchers.”

cabbott@postmedia.com

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