The head coach of the Sarnia Minor Mosquito (Under 10) Braves baseball club is hoping to cap off the season by adding to their win total at the Ontario Baseball Association (OBA) “A” tournament this weekend in Peterborough.
“It's going to be tough competition,” said Joel Ainsworth. “I would love to win a game or two.”
Sarnia's opener will be against the representative from the York Simcoe Minor Baseball Association, an area in and around the northern portion of the GTA.
Like any level of baseball, pitching is the key to his team's success, said Ainsworth.
“If the kids come in and throw strikes, I believe we have a chance to beat any team in the province.”
The Braves captured the London and District Baseball Association regular season pennant and then won four games late last month in St. Thomas to secure the playoff title. Overall, at press time, Sarnia is 35-9 on the season.
These accomplishments have come with just 11 players on the roster, Ainsworth noted, adding that he began the season anticipating a record hovering around the .500 mark.
“We've exceeded expectations by far. The kids have gone out there and surprised me,” said Ainsworth, a draft choice of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995. “Everyone has risen to the occasion.”
While Ainsworth has seen an improvement by his team in the fundamentals of the game, he is most proud that their passion and love for baseball continues to grow. He says the recent success of the Toronto Blue Jays has undoubtedly played a significant role in their increased zeal for the game.
“It's shades of '92 and '93 all over again,” he said, referring to the last two seasons the Jays participated in and won the World Series.