The WOSSAA silver medalists in baseball from MDHS were (back row, left): Mikaila Boon (assistant coach), Stevie Daum, Zach Dow, Ben Small, Jake Monden, Curtis Eidt, Noah Price, Clayton Rapien, Rick Boon (coach). Front row (left): Wyatt Huitema, Judd Walker, Eric Gettler, Ryan Harmer, Josh Eidt, Tanner Dietz. SUBMITTED
Published on: June 3, 2019 | Last Updated: May 31, 2019 10:22 AM EDT Mitchell Advocate
After what turned out to be a winter hiatus, the Mitchell District High School (MDHS) varsity baseball team quickly got into high gear and managed to bring home the silver medal at the WOSSAA championships last Thursday, May 30 in St. Thomas.
Baseball is played in the fall in the high school calendar, but the action on the diamond dragged on due to cold, wet weather which caused the delay after the Blue Devils claimed the Huron-Perth championship late last October.
“The boys played well, but our bats were a little too quiet to finish it off with a win,” said MDHS coach Rick Boon.
Mitchell started the one-day, four-team tournament with a narrow 3-2 win over London Lucas from Thames Valley’s Central division. Judd Walker pitched the first five innings, allowing three hits and striking out eight before giving way to Eric Gettler for the last two innings, who fanned three in hitless relief. Lucas struck for two runs in the top of the third on a throwing error to the plate, but in the bottom of the third, the Blue Devils scored three runs with hits from Ryan Harmer and Walker. Two stolen bases by Walker and Gettler led to throwing errors for Lucas and that allowed Mitchell to pull ahead.
“Judd was dominant with his off-speed pitches and well placed fastball,” Boon said, “while Eric just overpowered the hitters at the knees.”
Mitchell just managed four hits of their own with the other two coming from Walker and pinch-hitter Stevie Daum.
In the gold medal game against Tillsonburg, their pitcher was around the plate and although Mitchell put many balls in play, the Gemini defence was solid holding the Blue Devils to just three hits in a 2-0 loss – a double from Wyatt Huitema and singles from Zach Dow and Gettler.
Josh Eidt was the starting pitcher and went 3 1/3 innings, keeping the Tillsonburg players off guard with his pitch location. Tillsonburg scored both of their runs on good baseball plays, Boon said, a sacrifice fly in the fourth and doubled their lead one inning later on a clutch two-out hit. Gettler relieved Eidt and continued to dominate with four strikeouts and allowing just two hits.
Boon said the other teams in the tournament have been playing all spring whereas Mitchell has found it difficult to get out to even practice due to all the rain.
“Everyone contributed to the success we had this season. There were players who unselfishly knew their roles and only saw pinch-hit or pinch-run duties,” Boon said. “Others took time off work and other commitments to be at the park throughout the schedule.”
MDHS will lose Judd Walker, Noah Price, Ryan Harmer, Zach Dow and Clayton Rapien to overage for next year but that means Ben Small, Wyatt Huitema, Stevie Daum, Tanner Dietz, Curtis Eidt, Josh Eidt, Jake Monden and Eric Gettler will have to be the positive role models for the new, younger players who join the club next year, Boon noted.
“These guys were very close knit and played for each other,” he said. “I almost want the season to start up again right now. I’ve enjoyed watching them develop as a team and it was special for myself and my daughter Mikaila – who came to practices, coached first base and was our trainer all year – to be part of such a good baseball team.”