Sparkling Performances by Titans in Ten Fall Ball Games

by Jim Stewart

Head Coaches John Bethune (15U), Jesse Barker(16U), and Lawrence Vera (17U) were pleased with both the performances of their teams and by some outstanding individual performances  this weekend as the Titans Fall Ball Season shifted from the last days of summer to the first days of autumn.  Brisk weather conditions reminded coaches, players, and parents alike about the climatic challenges of Fall Ball in Central Ontario. 

Despite some chilly conditions on the fields of play, some torrid performances were turned in by Titans teams and individual players in their ten exhibition games.  

15U Head Coach Johnny Bethune was impressed with his team’s hitting as the youngest Titans “scored 32 runs over their four games” and finished with a 2-2 record versus the Toronto Mets of the CPBL. Coach Bethune’s focus this coming week at practice will be “situational defense” as the coaching staff continues to teach the finer points of the game to this brand new team. Individual performances versus the Mets also impressed the 15U coaching staff:  In the Titans’ 9-8 win in Game 1, Tyler Pridham, Anthony Cressatti and Brandon Nandoo had 2 hits each. Gabe Oldenhof and Pridham lead the way with 2 RBI each.  Kieran Hernandez struck out seven Mets over his four innings of work. Philip Sato pitched 3 innings in relief, striking out 2 to earn the win. In Saturday’s narrow 1-0 loss in Game 2, Austin Sherman led the way with two hits. Even more impressive, according to Coach Bethune, was “the pitching trio of Oldenhof, Moe Fellman, and Luc Gilanias who combined to hold the Mets to one run. “ 

In the Titans’ 14-10 win on Sunday to close out the 4-game weekend, Fellman transitioned seamlessly from pitching to hitting by pounding out three hits.  Pridham and Samuel Puttock added two hits each, as well as 3 RBI and 2 RBI, respectively. Coach Bethune also highlighted Gabe Oldenhof’s hitting and pitching performance.  The Aurora resident contributed 2 hits and 4 RBI to his team’s Game 4 attack to cap his excellent weekend. In addition to his offensive production, Oldenhof also earned the win in relief, striking out 3 Mets over 1 2/3 innings.

16U Head Coach Jesse Barker’s post-weekend assessment of the Titans’ two games focused on “Key performances from Nik Andonovsky which included Nik’s solid defense at second base and a multi-hit game.”  Coach Barker also singled out “Aidan Gelhard’s 4-strikeout seventh inning pitching performance to preserve the tie against the Royals.”  He was also impressed with Jayden Bailey’s “solid 2 inning start in his Titans debut.”  Such fine pitching performances were reflective of a good pair of games on the bump for the 16U Titans:  “Pitching as a whole was very solid in both games; getting 7 guys innings over two games satisfied our team goal and the coaching staff was happy that all seven were solid.” Based on the 16U’s performance this past weekend, Coach Barker’s team focus for practice this coming week will be “on baserunning and the mental side of the game, especially staying alert regarding game situations at all times.” Despite outhitting the Royals 12-7, the 16U Titans lost a heartbreaker 10-9 to their CPBL expansion cousins. Andonovsky, J T Fenn, and Ryan Smith each had RBIs in the loss. Cameron Byers  surrendered six runs on four hits over two innings, striking out three.  Ethan Sanchez and Adrian D'Arpino pitched 2 1/3 innings and 1 2/3 innings of relief. Andonovsky  collected 3 of his team’s 12 hits to lead the club’s offence. 

In their 3-3 tie with the Royals, the 16U offence was sparked by Ricardo Pontual's Sac Fly RBI,  Nate Windle’s game-tying RBI double in the seventh inning, and JT Fenn went 2-for-3 at the plate. The 16U Titans also played error-free defence, led by infielder Bryan Chao who converted all 12 of his chances.

17U Head Coach Lawrence Vera was satisfied with his team’s 2-2 record over the weekend that featured 17-12 and 5-4 wins versus the Barrie Baycats on Saturday, as well as 10-4 and 15-3 losses to the older 18U Ontario Terriers on Sundays.  In their 17-12 win versus the Baycats, the 17U Titans put up seven runs in the sixth inning.  The offence was generated by walks drawn by Matt Brandt and Joshua McBride, a single by Tarek Emara, and a sacrifice fly by Nolan Thomson. Starter Marquez Allard was the recipient of much offensive support and earned the win. The Pickering resident allowed six hits and six runs over three and a third innings, striking out one.  David James McMaster and Jackson Burek closed out the game in relief. McBride, Emara, Jaxen Lehr, and Eric Rutherford each collected two hits to lead Titans 12-hit attack. 

The 17U Titans scored four runs in the fourth inning in their 5-4 victory over the Baycats. Eric Rutherford broke a 3-3 tie when he singled to drive in the go-ahead run.  Johnny Mantia’s RBI single, Jaxen Lehr's Sac Fly RBI, and Carson Barnett’s RBI  walk contributed to the 17U Titans offensive outburst in the decisive fourth. Eric Lanoue scattered eight hits and four runs over four innings, striking out three to earn the victory.  Wyatt Slocum  recorded the last six outs to earn the save. Mantia also led the Titans’ error-free infield defense as he converted all eleven of his chances.

Unfortunately, this kind of stellar team defense was not on display versus the 18U Terriers on Sunday as the 17U Titans committed four errors in the first two innings and lost 10-4. Faisal Al Ajeel pitched three innings, allowing nine runs on six hits and striking out four Terriers.  Jackson Burek threw four innings in relief. Nolan Thomson led the offence with two hits in four at bats. In their 15-3 loss to the 18U Terriers, Christopher McDonald was on the mound for 17U Titans. The Scarborough resident allowed four hits and six runs over three innings.  Matt Gallifent and Joshua McBride threw 1 1/3 innings and 1 inning in relief, respectively. Nolan Thomson and Burek pounded out two hits each to lead the Titans on a challenging Sunday for the 17U squad versus the older CPBL Terriers.

18U Weekend Recap to follow in a future feature.