The Team North baseball crew did not sway a whole lot from pre-tournament expectations in Windsor, completing the 2014 Ontario Summer Games with a record of 2-3, and finishing fourth in their pool of six teams.
With only the top two in each pool advancing, coach Ryan Johns and company were on the outside of the semifinals, looking in, as the squad was just one game back of the 3-2 record posted by Team North at the 2012 Games in Toronto.
The northern boys were in tough right out of the gates, dropping a 10-1 decision to the Toronto Baseball Association, gold-medal winners in 2012, and just one slot back with silver this time around.
After Toronto opened with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning, the North answered, with Johnny Poulton belting a solo home run down the left-field line, cutting the margin in half.
While the North stayed close for a while, Toronto would eventually pull away, scoring three in the fourth, two in the sixth and three more in the seventh, as Thunder Bay native Darian Fuchs was saddled with the loss on the mound.
Understanding the level of their initial competition, the northern crew had little trouble remaining positive for Game 2, as Valley East pitcher Bryson McLoughlin limited the Western Ontario Baseball Association to three hits over six innings of work, striking out seven and leading the North to an 8-3 win.
A quick start offensively certainly helped the cause, with Vincent Bonhomme and Ryan Barton reaching base with first inning hits, with both coming around to score.
Bonhomme would finish the contest at 3/3 (double, two singles, three runs scored), with Barton (3/5 — all singles) and Poulton (3/5 — three RBIs) also chipping in offensively.
Facing another .500 team first thing Saturday morning, Team North provided little support for pitcher Vincent Bonhomme, struggling defensively as the Inter County Baseball Association capitalized on the errors, posting an 8-3 win.
Once again, however, Team North would demonstrate their resiliency. Going back and forth with the Niagara District Baseball Association in Game 4, the Sudbury-Sault Ste. Marie-Thunder Bay triumvirate used key two-out hits by Bonhomme,Tyrus Cuculick and Parker Savard, driving home six runs in a 7-3 victory.
Cuculick also combined with starter Noah Pearce to deliver the goods on the mound, with the former striking out five batters and allowing just a single hit in three 2/3 innings of outstanding relief work.
Facing a 4-0 Central Ontario Baseball Association squad in their final round-robin game, Team North could muster only a pair of hits, singles by Fuchs and Brett Melanson, in falling 7-0 to the bronze-medal winning team.
The 2014 Team North roster included Ryan Barton, Vincent Bonhomme, Tyrus Cuculick, Andrew Gorman, John Poulton, Bryson McLoughlin, Brett Melanson, Brett Mourot and Parker Savard of the Sudbury Shamrocks, as well as Sooites Noah Pearce, Tyler Sayers, Dylan Sewell, Braedon Whalen and Cole Wright, and Darian Fuchs of Thunder Bay.
The team was coached by the Sault Ste. Marie trio of Ryan Johns, Jeff Leonard and Kyle Leonard.