Hamilton’s Canadian Thunderbirds blanked Toronto’s Team Ontario 1-0 to win the Niagara Rebels Founders Cup Baseball Tournament at Welland. The two clubs are rivals in the Premier Baseball League of Ontario.
The Thunderbirds were unbeaten in round-robin play, defeating Team Ontario 4-1, Burlington Bulls 6-1, Bellefonte Bandits of Pennsylvania 5-2, and host Niagara Rebels 3-0.
Team Ontario reached the playoff round with a two wins-two losses record, the same as the Rebels and Bulls. However, Team Ontario advanced because of its 0.41 to 0.44 advantage over the Rebels in runs vs. hits percentage.
The championship was a tight contest as Hamilton pitcher Ryan Van Spronsen struck out seven batters through the opening six innings. Only two batters reached first base on hits.
Hamilton scored its winning ruin in the second inning when Jordan Windisch laid down a perfect bunt single along the third base line. He subsequently scored on Tyler Bradley’s single.
The Thunderbirds mounted a threat in the fifth as Bradley walked, but was caught stealing. Mike Finnamore followed with a triple to right field, but Sean Jamieson struck out to end the inning.
Team Ontario threatened with a rally in the top of the seventh when Van Spronsen walked leadoff batter Billy Hurley. However, Adrian Walter lined out to third baseman Christian Boghossian, who doubled off Hurley at first. Toronto bounced back with a single by Jonathan Muia, and a walk to Shaun Valeriote, but that was as far as they got.
Hamilton got off the hook when pinch-hitter Jason Diniz-Wood grounded out to end the game.