Intercounty Baseball at Christie Pits

Since the Blue Jays are playing Gosh Awful baseball with confiscatory prices for everything at a game including the tickets , my Tennis buddy and I decided to take in a Toronto Maple Leafs Intercounty Baseball game with the Kitchner Rangers at  Christie Pits. AccuWeather promised and delivered  a sunny afternoon but then partially reneged with a cool and clouding evening.

With the change in weather a little Buyer’s Regret and doubt started to creep into our pre-game chatter – “this game will be okay if there are not a slew of  errors[there were 2], perhaps a home run [there were 3] and  more than one double play [there were 2]”. And as the photos below testify, Intercounty Baseball at the Pits delivers an entertaining show.

Best Play of Game  for Kitchner Panthers

Rally snuffing double play.

Kitchner Panthers have been playing Intercounty Baseball in Southwestern Ontario since 1919. So this hundredeth year anniversary team has designs on the League Championship.

But the problem is that the Barrie Baycats have won the Championship the last 5 seasons in a row. Both clubs are off to a good start this year [5-1] as June begins But to add insult to injury in three of the last for Championship Series, Barrie has beaten Kitchner

Kitchener’s starting pitcher, Brad Schnarr,  had the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup handcuffed through the first four innings:
Kitchner pitcher scorned by trolling fans on the hillside

Based on this game, the Panthers showed some savvy skills on the basepaths. Two steals from first early in the game clearly signalled running prowess. But the clincher was a nifty double steal to put runners in scoring position which the Panthers subsequently cashed in on. 

baserunning
 Advancing to third on a close play

Based on this game the Panthers certainly could make contact with the baseball:

Extra base hit …

Best Play of Game for Toronto Maple Leafs

Safe at home

Toronto Maple Leafs baseball club is a comparative newcomer to Intercounty Baseball Leaue joining in 1969. The Maple Leafs have had 8 championship seasons in their 50 years of playing. They have also seen 4 players make the Majors including Pete Orr, Rich and Rob Butler and Paul Spoljaric the latter 3 playing for the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Maple Leafs have some talented players like last year’s League MVP catcher, Justin Marra. This year,  Marra is leading the league in home runs with a 440 batting average and is second in RBIs with teammate Marcus Knect. On the pitching side Justin Cicatello has a sizzling 1.50 ERA for the start of the season. 

In 2018 J. Marra was voted the MVP player in Intercounty Baseball. Having a strong hitter and defensive  catcher is a big plus:

catcher
Marra places the pitch

baserunner
1st to home base running. This was heads up play as a bauble in the Panther outfield presented the opportunity
Keeping signals straight

Justin Cicatello is a good pitcher with a very solid 2.50 ERA as evidence and a game winning home run as a bonus. 

Pitching is always  big in Baseball and the short season means you have to try out staff on the go.  So this game had a number of hurlers on trial once Kitchner got a commanding lead. 

pitching
Bringing real heat
pitching
Slider late in count
Late Night delivery

Baseball is a game of inches and close calls. This slider asks the question – What is your Call?

call
Hit or a strike?
call
Strike or Ball??
Hit or Strike??
hold?
Did he hold the runner on 1st?

There are more pictures of the Panther hitters than Maple Leaf players. But being outhit 16-6 and outscored 13-3 was a factor. The Panther hitters were in command at the plate.

it hitting
Solid contact – will it get through the infield?
Kit Hit
No seeing eye dog this was a straight rope liner
Kit Hit
There seems to be a synchro between batter and man on deck
Kit Hit
oops … a called strike
Kit Hit
Another syncro hit – Panthers are loaded with lefthnded battrs
TO Hit
Foul tip from a hero swing
TO Hit
Home run stance

This photographer tries to supply some different views – hre are some images that caught my eye.

behind the plate
Scene behind the plate
gear
Gear: Maple Leaf Helmets and Bats
gear
Gear: Panther Bats
scoreboard
Scooreboard was a bit tardy with info

Christie Pits is not just the Starting Point for the annual Toronto Santa Claus Parade or the site of the infamous Christie Pits riot of 1933; but is also a great largely free city sporting venue. For example, the Pits hosts  free Intercounty Baseball games twice a week on Sunday and Wednesday weather permitting from early May through to the first week in August. There maybe playoff games if the Maple Leafs [sitting at 4-5], make the cut. But Christie Pits also hosts lots of Sporting activities including Little League baseball, pickup basketball and even outdoor table tennis and kite flying. 

littleleakThere was a raucous Girl’s Little League baseball game going on just yards away from Center Field Fence of  Panthers vs Maple Leafs game. But as you can see your photographer was late to catch the thrill packed conclusion [based on the loud  choruses of cheering].

But there is all sorts of recreational action taking place thrughout the day at Christie Pits.  Table Tennis anyone?

littleleak2Ditto just across the way. There also was a Boy’s League  game that shared some of the excitement of the girls game; but again your trusted photographer only caught the post game walk-away.

However, earlier your photographer did not miss the action on the Christie Pits basketball courts:

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