Sackville PeeWee AA Hurricanes bring home gold from Moncton tournament

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12 Maritime teams compete in AA division of first annual Paul “Tubby” Melanson Memorial Tournament

The Sackville PeeWee AA Hurricanes were the winners of the Paul “Tubby” Melanson tournament over the weekend. Above, celebrating the win, are: back row, left to right, coaches Chris Vogels, Dale Ogden, Darren Estabrooks, Fernand Richard; second row, l-r, Justin Vogels, Bradley Ogden, Marco Cormier, Jackson Spencer; front row, l-r, Bruno Cormier, Jacob Estabrooks, Nic Richard, Emily Tower, Ashley Sherwood, and Lucas Cormier (lying down).

MONCTON, N.B. – Over the weekend, the Sackville PeeWee AA Hurricanes brought home the gold from the Paul “Tubby” Melanson Memorial Tournament in Moncton. Twelve Maritime teams participated in the tournament.

The first game pitted the Hurricanes against the Stratford A’s. In a very well-pitched game, the Sackville team found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-to-2 game.

Emily Tower started the game and pitched masterfully. She was also very solid in the field, making several key defensive plays. These efforts garnered her player of the game honours. Bruno Cormier and Bradley Ogden pitched very well in relief of Tower.

Offensively, the Hurricanes’ bats were very quiet as they could only muster three singles by Lucas Cormier, Ashley Sherwood and Jacob Estabrooks. Losing this first game put Sackville in a do-or-die situation for the remainder of the tournament.

Not bowing to the pressure, the Hurricanes came out very strong against their next opponent, the Halifax Mets. Bradley Ogden pitched the game of his life against the Mets, showing much-improved control as he threw strike after strike.

Backed by a stellar defensive effort, Ogden pitched five strong innings, giving up only one hit. Nic Richard came on in relief to finish the game.

At the plate, the Hurricanes’ bats came to life as they were able to push 14 runners across the plate. The hitters were led by Lucas Cormier, who had two doubles, Justin Vogels and Estabrooks, who each had a double and a single, and Jackson Spencer who had a single. The final score was 14-2 for the Hurricanes and Ogden was the clear-cut player of the game.

Up next were the Lancaster Stingrays. The Hurricanes started out quickly taking a 2 to 0 lead after the first inning; however they suffered one of their famous OBI’s (One Bad Inning) where they gave up five runs to the Stingrays and found themselves trailing 5-2 after three innings.

The never-say-die Hurricanes proceeded to chip away at the deficit, eventually winning the game by a score of 7-5. Sackville was led by strong performances on the mound by Estabrooks, Vogels and Richard and at the plate by Vogels, with a triple and a single, and Lucas Cormier and Bruno Cormier with two singles each.

Jacob Estabrooks, with a great pitching performance and excellent defense, was the Hurricanes’ player of the game. 

The tournament was divided into three divisions of four teams with each division winner moving on to the playoffs and the team with the least number of runs allowed per inning also advancing as the wildcard team. Due to their excellent defensive play, the Hurricanes easily clinched a spot in the playoffs as the wildcard team. 

Their semi-final game would see them matched up against the number one seed, the Stratford A’s, who had beaten them in the first game of the tournament. Where the Hurricanes’ bats in the first meeting had been ice-cold, they were suddenly red-hot in the rematch.

Richard broke out of a mini-slump at just the right time and led Sackville at the plate going 4-for-5 with two doubles and two singles. He also led the way on the mound, throwing a very impressive seven-inning complete game and earning player of the game.

Ashley Sherwood was a force with the bat, hitting four singles while Estabrooks had the monster hit of the game, stroking a ground rule double to deep left-centerfield. Marco Cormier also chipped in with two singles despite a bad knee which kept him out of action for most of the tournament. In the end, the Hurricanes took the rematch by a score of 15-3 to advance to the finals against the Tri-County Rangers. 

In the tournament final, Tower got the ball for the Hurricanes and was her usual strike-throwing self, giving up only two runs over five innings.

With some key clutch hitting from Cormier, Estabrooks and Vogels, the Hurricanes were ahead 5-2 after five innings. Estabrooks pitched the sixth inning, giving up one run to make the game 5-3 after six innings.

In the seventh and final inning, the Hurricanes got a couple of insurance runs on singles by Vogels, Cormier and a super clutch triple by Sherwood to make it 7-3. In their final at bats, the Rangers were down to their final strike on a number of occasions but continued to find ways to get on base and score runs, eventually making the score 7-6 with the tying run on third base. Vogels, who was on the mound for the final inning, struck out the final batter to seal the win and the championship for the Hurricanes.

The player of the game was the catcher Lucas Cormier, who was a real force as he went 4-for-4 with three singles and a double at the plate, caught three pop-ups, threw out two runners and made one outstanding tag out at the plate. 

Over the duration of the tournament, the Hurricanes had outstanding pitching, great defense and key clutch hitting.

Organizations: Mets

Geographic location: Moncton, Tri-County

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