Hamilton Cobra struck at the right time to take the National Bantam Baseball title. The triple-A team of Under-15s scored a 7-0 gold medal win over Alberta to claim the Canadian crown on Sunday in Windsor.
The gold medal win was sweet revenge for the Cobras, who came out of round-robin play with a 3-1 record in the A Pool. Their one loss was an 8-5 setback from Alberta that gave the Westerners first place in preliminary play with a similar 3-1 record.
With Hamilton finishing second, it meant they had to face host Windsor Riverside, who came through round-robin play with a perfect 5-0 record in the B Pool. Windsor, who showed plenty of offence and defence (39 runs scored, only five allowed), ran into a hot Mike Gottschalk.
Gottschalk, who also plays shortstop, struck out 11 batters in silencing the Windsor batters in Hamilton’s 6-2 win. And if that wasn’t enough, the Hamilton pitcher was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate, including a home run that produced two runs batted in. He got some more offensive help from Darnell Duckett, who was 4-for-2 with a double and two RBI.
The win against Windsor set up the rematch with Alberta, who were no slouch at the plate. Alberta had a 40-19 runs for/runs allowed record to Hamilton’s 25-12 coming out of round robin play. But that didn’t faze Hamilton pitcher Zack Ranta, who allowed only five Alberta batters to get a hit. To help his own cause, Ranta gave a 2-for-3 performance at the plate which produced one RBI.
Milly Martinello was 2-for-1, including a double and two RBI. Ranta and third baseman Steve Hubbs were voted to the tournament’s all-star team.
Alberta Pitcher Keegan Hucal struck out eight Cobra batters but five errors led to five unearned runs.
Other members of the National Champion Cobras are: pitcher Jake Eliopoulos (Newmarket); second baseman Travis Flint; catcher Josh Hayes; pitcher Bill Ralston (Burlington); pitcher Kevin Nickel (Kitchener); outfielder Cal Smith; outfielder Eric Johnson; pitcher Matt Hill (Caledonia); second baseman Damon Dicenzo; pitcher Johnathan Solazzo (Mississauga); outfielder Ryan Green (Watwerdown), and first baseman Derek Bergstrand. The coaches were Dean Dicenzo, Anthony Blainey, John Hashimoto, and Darin Johnson.