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2009 National Championships: London calling

OTTAWA – Tie breakers and dramatics were in full force in the final day of the Midget National Championship in Fredericton, New Brunswick and only one could come out with the title.

After all the scheduled games were said and done on Saturday night, Manitoba and Saskatchewan found themselves in a tie for the final playoff spot, which forced a tie-breaker game late Saturday night. The game was as tightly contested as the results in the standings, however it was Saskatchewan who moved on to the semi-finals with a 5-2 win.

Saskatchewan drew a matchup with Québec in the semis, but the momentum would end there for the prairie province as Québec would edge Saskatchewan by a score of 5-4 to earn a birth in the gold medal game.

The other semi pitted Ontario (London) and British Columbia in what was an instant classic. Baird Kelly (Stratford, ON) and Devon Stewart (Maple Ridge, BC) were entangled in an intense pitcher`s duel as both threw zeros through six innings. 

After Kelly threw a seventh consecutive shutout inning, London came to the plate in the bottom of the seventh. B.C. had London down to its last out to send this game into extras, when Trevor Barton (London, ON) hit a double to put the winning run into scoring position. Then, Cameron Firth (London, ON) put his team in the finals on one swing of the bat, by sending the final pitch of the game over the fence for a two-run walk-off home run and an exciting 2-0 win.

In the gold medal game, London carried the momentum from their thrilling semi-final victory and scored three runs early and never looked back as they would capture the Midget national title with a 7-1 win over Québec.

Ryan Zimmer (London, ON) threw five innings to earn the win, allowing one run on three hits and five walks while striking out nine. Zimmer also went 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of RBI. Baird Kelly went 3-for-3 with two doubles in the gold medal game.

For the bronze, British Columbia was able to regroup from their devastating loss in the semi-final and held on for a 3-2 win over Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan pounded out 11 hits in the game, including doubles from Evan Zerff (Regina, SK), Ryan Tulloch (Regina, SK) and Robert Doehl (Regina, SK) who hit two doubles, but they were not able to capitalize and B.C. was able to get the bronze.

Individual awards were handed out after the tournament and here are the award winners:

Evan Zerff (SK), Top Hitter
Manuel Verde (BC), Top Defensive Player
Cameron Firth (ON-London), Top Catcher

The 2009 Baseball Canada National Championships will begin its third week on Thursday, August 20th with four championships to be decided: Bantam Boys in Vaughan, Ontario; Bantam Girls in Toronto, Ontario; Senior Men`s in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and the Peewee Western in Red Deer, Alberta.