By Fred Wallace
Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".
The field for the Ontario Amateur Softball Association Under 23 Tournament in Owen Sound last weekend wasn't large, just 7 teams, but the calibre of play and the entertainment level was very high.
I took in 7 of the 12 games in the tournament, and only the opening match between Alvinston and Wellesley was a " mercy " game.
Otherwise, every game I saw went the distance and in fact the Championship game between New Hamburg & Tavistock went beyond the distance.
In the Final, a well rested New Hamburg team faced Tavistock who were starting their third game in 4 hours as they attempted to come through the back door.
It started somewhat predictably with the Mustangs grabbing a 3-0 lead,.
But with an error here and break there, Tavistock fought back and actually took a 4-3 lead in the 8th before New Hamburg's Corey MacLean tied it with a clutch homer in the bottom of the inning to prolong the game again.
In the end, a floating single by Ryan Cadwell that went just beyond the reach of the shortstop and landed just inches in front of the charging leftfielder scored the winning run for New Hamburg.
Two members of the Mustangs won individual awards with hurler Tyler Randerson named as the top pitcher in the tournament while teammate Isaiah Whetstone was selected as the tournament MVP.
For Tavistock, the left side of their infield was highly impressive with excellent performances by 3rd baseman Mitch McKay and shortstop Zack Berg standing out every time they hit the diamond.
The Mustangs and the Hops along with the defending Canadian Champion Owen Sound Selects now head to Saskatoon for the Softball Canada Championship Tournament which begins in late July.
There will be more teams at the Canadian Under 23 Championship in Saskatoon than there were in Owen Sound this past weekend, but they'll be hard pressed to have a tighter tournament than what transpired here this weekend.
I'm Fred Wallace