Category: Featured

Around the Parks

The 2021 season has come to an end with the Divisional Finals ending this past weekend. The Gilmore Division saw the fourth place Caribooze claim the championship over the Royals in two exciting close games. The series opener was a fine pitching dual between M. Kelly and A. Ciccia which unfolded in the 6th inning when the Caribooze scored a couple to take the lead for good and prevail 3-1. Both pitchers went 7 innings and both were very effective with a great mix of breaking pitches and fastballs. In game 2 the Royals jumped to an early 5-0 lead as their bats came to life coupled with a few base on balls which they cashed in. The veteran Caribooze were far from done however as they chipped away and eventually took the lead in the fourth inning. Catcher M. Gallo showcased his great throwing arm as he nailed 3 young Royals trying to steal. M. Sandiford drove in 3 runs for the Caribooze including the go ahead and series winning RBI. A. Randle, who had gone nearly two years without pitching prior to this season came in as a reliever and tossed 5 scoreless innings for the 8-5 win.

The Clemente match up was quite predictable with the Geese and Rhinos having both finished with 10-2 records. Game 1 was an absolutely stellar pitching performance on both sides. N. Doesburg was on the mound for the Rhinos and M. Majeur for the Geese, both going 7 innings. Both pitchers had their best material on that night and kept opposing batters off balance. With both teams playing strong defense the game moved along quickly and remained scoreless until the top of the 7th when the Geese managed a single run which turned out to be the game winner. The Rhinos tied the series a couple of days later thanks to a brilliant pitching performance by R. McGregor who only surrendered two hits on his way to a 3-1 win. The 3rd and decisive game was played on a beautiful evening on September 12th with a rather sizable crowd on hand. The pitching match up was a repeat of game one with N. Doesburg facing M. Majeur. The Geese got on the board early when M. Majeur helped his own cause by launching a ball under the left field scoreboard for a 3 run home run. The Rhinos stayed close and managed to get 8 hits of Majeur, but in the 6th the Geese opened a 7-3 lead which held up for the victory.

The Robinson Division finals closed out the 2021 season at LSB and the only predictable thing was that the winner would be a first time champion. The White Sox and Cubs finished first and second during the season, with both teams made up of veteran and young players. The opening game was a close one that the visitors took thanks to a 2 run inning in the 6th and a save for Jorlis Graces who joined the Cubs in 2021 after an off year in 2020. Veteran B. Tremblay drove in 3 with 2 hits including a double. Game 2 saw a similar score but in favor of the White Sox. J. Mendez pitched another complete game scattering 8 hits and walking none while mixing a lively fastball and a hard breaking slider. J. Casas and A. Akram each drove in 2 runs for the White Sox. The final game of the season on September 13th attracted a good crowd on another lovely evening. The Cubs jumped ahead early and never really looked back as they found their hitting rhythm while helping starter R. Martin with some sharp defense.

Around the Parks

The 2021 regular season is now history, and the playoffs are about to begin. As mentioned in the previous edition several teams were still jostling for positions in the standings heading into the final week of the calendar.

In the Robinson Division both the White Sox and Cubs earned a by and will be playing in the semi finals that begin on August 24. Meanwhile some exciting series are on the menu starting on August 17th. The Dodgers and Jager Bombers will square off again after battling it out in the 2020 final. Both teams appear to be evenly matched and this series may well go to 3 games. The other Robinson series will see the Red Sox play the Cardinals. The top hitting team in the division, with Randle, Des Rochers, Tink and others will still have to deal with a fine young pitcher in J. Lopriore and a team that has often scratched wins playing small ball.

All 6 semi finals will begin the week of August 24th. The White Sox will be playing the winner of Dodgers-Jager Bombers, while the Cubs will wait the outcome of the Red Sox – Cardinals series. The Gilmore matches will see the first place Expos play the Caribooze, and the Royals battle it out with the Padres. In the Clemente Division the Rhinos edged out the Geese for first place based on the first tie-breaker which is runs against. Consequently the Rhinos will be facing the Braves and the Astros will be playing the Geese.

Division Finals will be played after the Labor Day Weekend.

Around the Parks

August is already upon us and there is still a great deal to be settled in the standings. The White Sox have clinched first place in the Robinson Division which will give the newcomers a by in the first round as they await the winner of 4th vs 5th place. Making a move in the Robinson Division, the Red Sox have used their bats to propel themselves into second spot and a potential by. The Red Sox are the League leaders in home runs with 5. S. Desrochers, who can be seen at the plate on the featured photo, has a pair of home runs while being in the top 5 for batting average. Still fighting for second spot the Cubs will need a victory against the White Sox in their final game to secure the by. Meanwhile the Jager Bombers have secured fourth spot which will see them play either the Cardinals or Dodgers in the first round.

In the Gilmore Division the Padres and Expos have swapped positions at the top and remain engaged in a tight race. The Padres have seen their bats come to life while veteran pitcher C. Stephens is having a fine season on the mound. The Expos continue to play a strong fundamental game with a well balanced line up and an experienced pitching staff that includes R. Ryan, S. Laberge, and C. Lachance. The Royals ended a 3 game skid with a 10-8 win over the Padres on July 30 with A. Ciccia pitching a complete game while going 4 for 4 with 3 doubles. The Caribooze are still hitting the cover off the ball with J. Paloulian, A. Randle and M. Gallo among the league leaders offensively, but have not been able to consistently convert this power into wins.

The Clemente Division has the Geese and Rhinos in a fight to the finish for first place and an encounter with the winner of fourth vs fifth position. The Astros have moved into 3rd spot which would potentially keep them out of the first round play in. The Braves and House of David appear to be headed for a first round meeting after which the winner will meet the first place finisher, the Geese or Rhinos.

Around the Parks

The first half of July provided a great combination of fine weather and exciting baseball.

In the Clemente Division the Rhinos have made a move on the Geese with 4 straight wins and a 1 game lead. With the Geese having 2 games in hand this may be a virtual tie that will go down to the wire with both teams meeting on the season finale on August 8. Meanwhile the Astros, House of David and Braves are engaged in a tight race to determine the remaining three positions and the potential first round playoff series that will feature the 4th vs 5th ranked teams. Worth noting is the July 5th game between the Rhinos and Braves which featured a brilliant pitching dual between J. Lyman and M. Dormajian who both went 7 innings with a final score of 1-0 for the Rhinos.

The Padres have found some long lost traction playing in the Gilmore Division with a 4 game win streak and a share of first place with the Expos who don’t look too much different from the 2018 Champions, albeit a few more gray hairs. The Royals and Caribooze are sitting in 3rd and 4rth place in the division and recently split a home and away series with both games decided by a single run in the final at bat.

The Robinson Division’s White Sox are the only team that remains undefeated as of mid July. They have a 2 game lead on the Cubs but the two squads have yet to square off and will do so on July 16. Meanwhile the other 4 teams are in a relatively tight race for positions 3 through 6 which will determine the first round match ups in the playoffs. The Cardinals, Red Sox, Jager Bombers and Dodgers are separated by only 1 1/2 games halfway into the season.

Around the Parks

The 2021 season began with a nasty curve ball thrown by mother nature on June 18 forcing the postponement of both games. This was followed by an absolutely splendid weekend which saw 9 games played in ideal conditions at both fields.

The month of June is a short one for our baseball season but a few trends are already taking shape across the 3 divisions.

The 6 team Robinson Division saw the new White Sox jump out of the gates with 2 wins and a solid lineup. Not to be outdone the Cubs also won their two opening games, including an 8 inning thriller. The Dodgers are back with pretty well the same well balanced team that features good speed and solid pitching. Despite loosing their first 2 games the ace of the staff, A. J. Porporino had a great 8 inning outing in which he struck out 13. The Cardinals will try again to play small ball with a young team flanked by a few veterans and so far have won 2 of 3 games. The Jager Bombers split their first two games with a roster similar to the one that won the 2020 Championship. The Red Sox are back and despite starting 0 and 3 have shown a positive trend as their bats have come to life with a 17 hit performance on June 27th. Manager A. Randle has hit the first home run of the 2021 season.

The John Gilmore Division is back in 2021, albeit with a different look. The Caribooze and Padres have joined the middle division after spending several years in the Clemente. The season opener saw the returning Expos take on the Caribooze in what turned out to be a fine game with good pitching on both sides. S Laberge and M.A. Lachance combined on a 6 hitter to help the Expos prevail 6-3. A few days later the Expos got their second win 7-6 over the Padres who promptly returned the favour with a 4-1 victory on June 27th. The Brewers and Royals squared off in their season opener and played an exciting game in which the lead changed several times. The Royals used some aggressive base running to generate some offense and ultimately prevailed 10-7.

In the Clemente Division the defending champion Geese are off to a 2-0 start with the returning Rhinos only half a game behind with a 2 and 1 record. The Astros are back and won their opener 3-1 over House of David thanks to a great pitching performance by J. Olson. The Braves and House of David both closed the month with 1 and 2 records. The two squads played an 8 inning game on June 20 in which House of David finally prevailed 6-5 with both teams getting great pitching. The Braves won their first game of the 2021 convincingly 10-4 over the Astros with yet another stellar pitching performance by J. Sangiovanni.

Play Ball 2021

The waiting is finally over ! After a 6 week delay our baseball season will begin on Friday June 18 with 16 teams eager to compete, albeit in a shortened schedule as was the case in 2020. This season will mark the return of several teams that were inactive in 2020 and competition across the three divisions should be intense.

The Robinson Division will have 6 teams for the first time since 2017. The 4 teams that competed in 2020; the Dodgers, Cardinals, Cubs and Jager Bombers will be joined by the 2019 champion Red Sox and by the new kids on the block, the White Sox.

In the John Gilmore Division both the Expos and Brewers will be back on the diamond after being absent last year and will try to reclaim a championship. The young Royals are also looking forward to the season in this division which will see the arrival of two former Clemente teams: the Padres and Caribooze. Both of those teams will bring some big bats and experience to the middle division.

In the Clemente Division the defending champion Geese will be challenged by the other 4 squads. The returning Astros will bring a potent lineup with great pitching, while the Rhinos could surprise several with a combination of young talent and experience. The Braves will try to replicate or improve on their great performance of 2020 when they finished second in the regular season while making it to the playoff finals. Last but not least House of David will look at using their blazing speed and airtight defence to claim the division.

To all our members, have a great season !

In search of Mr. Baseball

We have seen several individuals stand out in our League over the years, whether through their talent, dedication, passion, sportsmanship, longevity, or any combination thereof. As we await the start of the 2021 season we will feature one individual who has demonstrated all the passion for the game in its purest form. Many have played with him while many more may have played against him.

Several League players can recognize Joe Forget, perhaps in part for his 6 foot 3 frame. In 2020, despite a Covid-shortened season, Joe managed to be in the lineup for 81 games in 102 days with various teams. In addition to those played with the Braves in the Lakeshore Senior Baseball League Joe was in the lineup with a few other teams in other leagues, including the Giants in the B Conference of West Island Senior Baseball. Going back to 2019 Joe played 100 games, and another 96 in 2018. An astounding 277 games in three seasons and about 1000 at bats for the friendly giant are almost unimaginable numbers for any recreational player.

Joe began playing in the LSBL with the Cubs in 2016 during their inaugural season in the Robinson Division, but also called up with the Smokestacks that same summer. The following year Joe moved up a division with the newly promoted Smokestacks, helping the former Robinson team become a contender in the Gilmore Division in 2018. That same season he was also a call-up for the top division Orioles which he joined eventually in 2019 as a regular roster player and enjoyed a Playoff Championship.

In 2020 Joe competed with the Braves, a team that jumped to the Clemente Division during the Covid summer and finished a strong second in the regular season while making the finals in the playoffs. Joe plays mostly catcher but can be seen at the hot corner in some games.

In his youth Joe began playing for the LaSalle Peewee Cards, but stopped after his 13th birthday to return only 11 years later in senior baseball. Talking baseball with Joe is like discussing food with a chef. Here are a few questions he was asked about the game:

Q: Do you have any baseball idols, current or past ?

A: Gary Carter for what he represented in Montreal, his smile, his passion, and his talent. Tony Gwynn for his meticulous analysis of pitchers, his game preparation, and his .394 batting avg in 1994. Pudge Rodriguez for his durability and longevity in the majors as a catcher. Cal Ripken for his record of 2632 games played. Ricky Henderson and Tim Raines for their speed and the show they would put on stealing bases.

Q: What is it you like so much about catching ?

A: It forces me to be 100% focused, while allowing me to control the pace of the game. I enjoy having a game plan to face opposing batters and calling pitches as part of the strategy.

Joe’s passion and dedication for the game is not only limited to playing but also in practising his skills, particularly as a catcher. Joe got to work almost as early as major leaguers when he put on his gear on February 28 despite a white blanket of packed snow still prevailing everywhere.

For all these things Joe, you are our prime candidate for the title of Mr Baseball !

Around the Parks – Pre-season 2021

The Lakeshore Senior Baseball League held its first ever virtual meeting on Saturday February 27 with 17 teams represented. Several managers who were unable to compete last year with their squad are now eager to rejoin the League and this bodes well for a return to a three division format in 2021. Will the teams that played in 2020 show any significant advantage over those that did not ? Some will say that playing the game of baseball is somewhat like riding a bike. Time will tell.

A few rule changes were discussed and debated, eventually leading to a near unanimous consensus to adopt the changes this season. Among these, the base stealing limit has been raised to a 10 run lead, but it will also come with an automatic out should a base-runner steal with at least a 10 run lead. Regular season games will have a limit of 3 hit batters by a pitcher before he/she is removed, but this rule will be lifted for all divisions in the playoffs. Call-up rules have also been enhanced to not only give teams more options in fielding a team, but also to promote intra-league cooperation.

At this point we are closely monitoring announcements from Quebec as well as municipal authorities to finalize a schedule for the season. Meanwhile we have been at work revamping the web site for a fresh new look in 2021. On another positive note, municipal maintenance crews appear to be planning their work on both fields, which should correct some of the issues we have seen in recent seasons.

Since mid-March ganders of geese (not the ones managed by Chandler) have been seen flying overhead returning from the South, and this certainly adds to the optimism of seeing an early spring.

Which prompted a few die-hard league players to gather in a parking lot to get some early practice.

Around the Parks

Playoffs

In a division where all four teams were separated by less than 2 games it was going to be anyone’s call on the outcome. The Bombers met the Cardinals in the first of the Robinson semi finals and prevailed, with yet again a flurry of hits as they had done in the second half of the season. The other Robinson series featured the Cubs, coming off their best season ever, and Dodgers who in 2019 were runner up in the season and playoffs. After a decisive first game going to the Dodgers, game 2 was a close game in which the Cubs tried to even things out. Ultimately the Dodgers played sharp defence and their pitching strength came through in a 6-3 victory. In the finals, the Dodgers would host the Bombers in game 1. In a match that went back and forth along with some playoff flavoured chirping the teams found themselves playing extra innings. After an easy three up and three down top of the 8th, the Dodgers were at bat in the bottom of the inning and scored on a 2 out ground ball that was thrown home instead of at first. Game 2 featured again a game in which momentum shifted a few times. The Dodgers managed to hold off the Bombers’ big bats and built a 3 run lead late in the game, but a 3rd hit batter forced the young starter Anthony Porporino off the mound. This was a crucial momentum shift and the Bombers managed a dramatic comeback to push the series to the limit. 48 hours later on a beautiful but cool evening at Benevoles the biggest game of the season was awaited by the biggest crowd since Bill Lee dropped by in July 2019. Stands on both sides of the field were nearly filled to capacity, with several more catching the action standing behind the plate and along the fences. Dodgers ace and league leader in strike outs, Anthony Porporino, started on 2 days rest while the Bombers sent their pitching workhorse Tristan D’Silva to the mound. Two young pitchers, two different styles, but a common objective and both looked cool doing what they did best for their team all season. The teams exchanged a few runs early on but managed to stay away from the big inning. The Bombers were ahead 4-3 after 4 innings and whispers were already heard about potential extra innings. Things began unfolding in the 5th as the Bombers scored 4 runs on a couple of hits and miscues. The Dodgers retaliated promptly in the bottom of the inning with 3 of their own but the 4th run was thrown out at home on a strong throw from centre field. The Dodgers scored a run to make it 8-7 in the bottom of the 6th, but the Bombers again opened the gap in the top of the 7th with 4 more runs and a 12-7 lead. The Dodgers did get to Tyler Havlena in the bottom of the 7th, but not enough to overcome the deficit, and the Bombers won their first championship in their 3rd year at LSB.

The Clemente Divisional playoffs began with the Geese and Braves enjoying a by in virtue of their finish as first and second during the regular season. The 3rd place Orioles met the Padres in one of the series, with two very different styles facing each other. The Orioles’ sharp defence and pitching was facing an offensive line-up that could erupt at any time, and it certainly did early in the encounter. The Padres jumped all over the O’s for a 7-0 lead. The Orioles slowly nibbled away at the lead and tied the score in the 5th. The visiting Padres were not done offensively however and went ahead 11-9, headed to the bottom of the 7th and a potential first game upset. But once again, the Orioles poked away and scored 3 to take game one after nearly 3 hours of battle. Game two began the same way the first one ended, with a bunch or runs. After 4 innings the Padres held a 7-6 lead, and were hopeful to force a third game. The next two innings resulted in a flurry of runs, and at the end the Padres left the tying runs on base for a 15-13 Orioles win.

The other match up had the Royals and House of David, with game 1 resulting in a pitching dual. D. Golfman scattered 5 hits for a 5-2 win over J Solomon. With HoD declaring forfeit for game 2 the series went ahead to a decisive rubber match on a cool and damp evening. A battle of lefties between Solomon and Dusseault resulted in a few lead changes, until the Royals trailing 7-6 faced closer V. Rizzolo in the 7th and scraped a couple of runs after which they held on for an 8-7 victory and a meeting with the Geese.

With more than a week off, the Geese sent Kyle Hazel to the mound in game 1 against D Panasuk for the Royals who took a hard line drive in the stomach in the first inning but still managed to stick around for a complete game. The Geese won the game 6-0 outhitting the Royals 8-1. Game 2 was a similar outcome in which the Royals did come up with fine defensive plays, but a 3 run home run by M. Majeur to left center field was all the Geese needed. The game featured 58 year old Garry Vertolli getting one of the Royals 3 hits and making a stellar defensive play at second. The other semi also turned out to be a 2 game affair with the Braves prevailing over the Orioles. J. Sangiovanni was in fine form for game 1 helping his team to a 7-2 victory. Justin Lyman was also very sharp in game 2, with the Braves playing small ball while taking advantage a few miscues on defence for an 8-2 win and a trip to the final.

Game 1 of the Clemente Division Final on Sunday September 20 saw J Sangiovanni facing E Lalonde. The Braves were the only team to defeat the Geese during the regular season, and a win in game 1 would not exactly qualify as an upset. The Geese used their speed early on to put pressure on the Braves defence and by the top of the 5th inning led 11-0. The Braves came to bat facing a potential mercy situation, but managed to do something that had only happened once this season, that is to score 5 runs against the Geese in an inning and making it an 11-5 game. Each team exchanged a run in their next at bats, but in the bottom of the 6th the Geese put 4 more on the board and walked away with a 16-6 victory. Game two on September 22 coincided with Provincial authorities declaring a “Code Orange” in the greater Montreal area. Justin Lyman who put together a fine season as a starter faced M Majeur who 6 days earlier sent the Royals packing on a 3 hitter. The Geese scraped a few runs early but the Braves made key plays on defence to stay within striking distance after 4 innings, with a 4-1 Geese lead. The fifth and sixth innings saw the Geese adjusting their swings and putting a bunch of runs on the board, with the game ending 11-1 for the new Clemente Division champions.

Around the Parks

According to Environment Canada August 2020 was the second wettest in history, with 178 mm of rain vs 98 on average. This curve ball thrown by mother nature had to be dealt with at LSB to ensure the regular season would be completed on time. On several occasions some dedicated volunteers could be seen pumping water off the fields and prepping the diamond for evening games.

The final two weeks provided some exciting games, many of which had an impact on the final standings and consequently on the playoffs.

The Robinson Division turned into a 4 team race as the Bombers suddenly got hot in the second half while the Cubs put together their best season ever. Both teams finished tied but the Cubs are awarded 3rd place in virtue of the first tie-breaker which is runs against. In the season finale the Cubs and Bombers played a marathon game that ended 17-17.

Meanwhile the Cardinals who entered the League this year with several inexperienced players held on to first place in front of the Dodgers by one game. The Dodgers, despite finishing second, had the best run differential in the division and will be facing the Cubs in the first round. The other semi-final will feature the best defence, the Cards, vs the best offence, the Bombers. The four teams finished the regular season within 1 1/2 games of one another making it the tightest finish in years.

The Clemente Division was not nearly as tight but some interesting races emerged.

While the Geese maintained first place all season long, the Braves made a move early on and eventually took hold of the second spot in the division. This gives the Braves a by as they will await the winner of the Orioles – Padres series. These two teams feature very different styles, as the Orioles rely on pitching depth and defence, while the Padres have an offensive lineup that can explode at any time. House of David finished fourth with some momentum late in the season. The division has come to realize that their outfield can cover more real estate than Remax, with powerful arms worthy of the Clemente name. The Royals will be meeting them in the first round and are hopeful to cause an upset with their young pitchers. The winner of this series will be facing a huge challenge in meeting the Geese in the semis, but anything can happen.