The Hamilton Bantam AAA Cardinals traveled to Pickering on Friday, May 28 for their first tournament of the season. The 10-team tournament featured top teams from Ontario and one all-star squad from Quebec.
The Cards opened round-robin play falling 10-5 to the Vaughan Vikings. Hamilton pitchers had trouble finding the strike zone and several errors and mental mistakes were too much for the Cardinals offence to overcome. Adam Rossit and Daniel Krasulja each had two hits for Hamilton in the loss.
Hamilton’s next game came against defending provincial champion Richmond Hill on Saturday morning. Cardinals starting pitcher Mitch Gardiner pitched brilliantly, throwing 6 2/3 shutout innings, fanning six batters and allowing only five hits en route to a 4-0 victory. Cards third baseman Devin Holmes went 2-3 with two RBIs and a stolen base in the victory.
Encouraged by their strong morning performance, Hamilton came out of the gate quickly in the afternoon against Toronto powerhouse North York. Facing the Blues’ top pitcher, the Cards put up seven runs in the first inning and went on to hammer North York 11-4. Hamilton outfielder Robbie White crushed two doubles and a triple and pitcher Trevor Ferri gave up just four hits over five strong innings of work. The victory gave Hamilton a 2-1 record and the third seed heading into Sunday’s playoffs.
Hamilton opened the playoffs against the Mississauga Majors. With the Cards trailing 3-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth, they capitalized on a couple of Mississauga defensive miscues and rallied for three runs to take a 4-3 lead going into the last inning. Unfortunately a bad hop grounder in the seventh allowed two Mississauga runs to score and the Majors held on for a 5-4 victory.
Daniel Krasulja and Ryan Hare both reached base in every plate appearance and Clayton Inrig was solid in middle relief allowing one run in three innings pitched.
Hamilton’s league record now stands at 8-1 in and 2-2 in tournament play.
After playing nine games in seven days Hamilton could rest for two days. The Cards return to Intercounty league play when they host the London Badgers at Heritage Green Wednesday night at 7 p.m.