Big Grassy Braves defeat Stratton Eagles to claim fastball title
By Lucas Punkari
In only their third year of existence, the Big Grassy Braves are now kings of the Rainy River District Fastball League.
After leading the 12-team loop during the regular season, the Braves sealed the deal last night in Stratton with a 14-6 victory over the host Eagles in the “winner-take-all” finale.
“This is our first title and we’re the first team from Big Grassy to win the title, so we are pretty jacked about that,” enthused Braves’ pitcher Travis Tom.
“Our team is a really young one, but we really came together throughout the year and we are really proud of what we accomplished,” he added.
Stratton had forced a second-and-deciding game for the league crown thanks to an 8-7 victory Tuesday night at Big Grassy—which was the Braves’ first loss in the double-knockout format of the playoffs.
But Big Grassy made the most of their second crack at the title, scoring a pair of runs in the top of the first yesterday evening to grab the early lead.
The Eagles stormed right back with four runs in the bottom half of the first—capped off by a RBI triple from Brock Vandenbrand.
Soon after, though, the Braves used the long ball to move out in front for good.
Mitch Seguin, Tim Archie, Brendan Big George, Dakota Andy, and Tom all belted homers to give the visitors a 14-4 cushion heading into the bottom of the seventh.
“It was in the fourth inning, I think, that things turned in our favour,” said Tom.
“The bottom of the order started to get on base and were able to get a few runs in, and that just got everyone excited,” he noted.
“And for myself, that gave me a little extra push on the mound.”
Despite falling short in their quest for the RRDFL trophy, the fifth-place Eagles had an impressive run of their own to reach the finals, rattling off five-straight wins to stay alive in the playoffs.
“The team played really well all year long and I’m really happy with how things went,” said Eagles’ pitcher Guy Arpin.
“Everyone contributed in our lineup, and it was that total team effort that allowed us to win those tight games.
“Tonight we played against a tough Big Grassy team that is able to hit the ball well, and that is exactly what they did,” he added.