Bayridge Blazers advanced to the final game of the Eastern Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic Association baseball championship tournament in Russell Thursday, before bowing in the championship match 12-5 to St. Joseph of Cornwall.
The Blazers earned the Kingston Area berth in the tournament with a 5-1 win over the Sydenham Golden Eagles Tuesday. After beating L’Escale of Rockland 12-0 and Thousand Islands of Brockville 3-2 in preliminary games on Wednesday, fatigue caught up with the Blazers pitching staff in the final, as Bayridge was touched for seven runs in the first inning.
Though the Blazers found their bearings, and got five innings of one-run relief from Matt Brash, it proved to be a hole out of which they could not climb.
A solo home run over the left-field fence by Mitchell Knights produced the first Bayridge run. It was the third home run of the year for Knights, who ended the season with a .429 batting average.
In the preliminary round, Brash and Cameron Leggett combined for the shutout against L’Escale, with Brash striking 10 out and allowing just one hit in four innings. Cole Casford tossed a complete-game five-hitter against Thousand Islands, which got both of its runs via a two-run home run in the sixth innning. By that point, however, a two-run single by Leggett in the fifth had staked Casford to a 3-0 lead.
A two-run triple in the third inning by Knights was the big blow against Sydenham in the qualifying game Tuesday. Casford and Brash combined for the pitching win with Brash, who entered the game in the fifth inning, striking out eight of the 11 men he faced, including the last five Sydenham batters.
Justynn Steven led Bayridge offensively, going 5-for-12 in the tournament, with four runs scored.