Men’s champs gathering steam


By the high standards of the Sight & Sound Wolves, it wasn’t a stellar regular season.
But they’re used to bringing their best when the real shooting starts.
John Desaulniers pitched a complete-game victory and the No. 3-ranked Wolves made their next step towards defending their championship with a 7-2 win over the No. 2-rated Couchiching Raiders this past Thursday in Rainy River District Fastball League second-round East Division playoff action at the Rodrick and Telford Bruyere Ball Field on Couchiching First Nation.
Desaulniers gave up a home run to Sheldon Kelly, Jr., but had help from his team with a four-run sixth inning against losing pitcher Sheldon Kelly, Sr., that broke open a 2-1 game.
Sight & Sound was handed its first win of the postseason on a silver platter when the No. 6-seeded Manitou Thunderbirds decided to withdraw entirely from the playoffs due to a lack of available playoffs.
The Raiders whipped the No. 7-ranked Northwest Bay Juniors 19-4 in their first playoff game last Tuesday (Aug. 6).
Wade Johnson homered and got the win on the mound over Terry Allen, while Jesse Morrisseau drilled a fence rocket in a losing cause for the Juniors.
Northwest Bay profited from Manitou’s exit, though, getting a forfeit win of their own to move into the second round of the Losers’ Bracket last night against the No. 4-rated Windey’s Warriors (score unavailable at press time).
Windey’s outslugged the No. 5-ranked Northwest Bay Chieftains 25-22 in its opener.
Rob McGinnis did enough to get the victory on the hill, with his better work coming at the plate, as he pulled off the rare accomplishment of hitting for the cycle.
His home run portion of that effort was accompanied by four-baggers from teammate Marcel Pagee, while Darren Smith replied with a tater of his own for the Chieftains.
The Warriors’ fortunes reversed sharply on Thursday, though, as the top-seeded Fort Frances Braves unloaded on Windey’s 14-3.
Jaden Gustafson tossed a complete-game gem for the Braves, who received homers from Tim Archie, Brandon McGinnis and Cole Tymkin after having a first-round bye.
Pagee was tagged with the loss on the mound, although he did go deep for the Warriors along with Jeremiah Windego.
The Braves and Sight & Sound met at VanJura Ball Park last night, while Couchiching hosted the Chieftains and Windey’s entertained the Juniors with the losers of the latter two games eliminated from the double-knockout playoffs (all scores unavailable).
In the West Division, the No. 1-ranked Dawson Tigers used the rest from their first-round bye to full advantage with a 13-1 roasting of the No. 4-rated Sabaskong Lakers.
The Lakers got past the No. 5-seeded Rainy River Royals 11-4 two days earlier, with Matt Comegan outdueling Chris Stone.
But Jeff Morrison of the Tigers got the better of Merlin Kelly of Sabaskong in the Thursday clash, with Bryden Kelly’s fence rocket the only mark on Morrison’s otherwise perfect night.
Other West Division games from last Tuesday included the No. 2-ranked Barwick Blue Knights overwhelming the No. 7-rated Sabaskong Goldeneyes 12-1.
JJ Landry made a triumphant return to the mound for Barwick after missing much of the season after an appendectomy, looking somewhat tentative, but still plenty strong enough to top counterpart Darryl Beacham and the Goldeneyes.
That same night, the third-seeded Stratton Eagles downed the No. 6-ranked Sabsakong Cubs 18-7, as Guy Arpin earned the pitching victory over Kevin Copenace.
Barwick and Stratton then collided Thursday in Barwick, with the Blue Knights prevailing 9-4.
Landry edged Arpin in the pitching showdown, while Kevin Gemmell pounded a grand slam for the Blue Knights to more than counter a four-bagger from Stratton’s Tanner Neilson.
Also on Thursday, the Cubs ended the season for the expansion Goldeneyes with a 7-5 victory.
Keenan Copenace homered for the Goldeneyes, but it wasn’t enough against Cubs winning pitcher Burton Woods, who bested the Goldeneyes’ Darryl Beacham.
West Division matchups last night saw Barwick visit Dawson, while Stratton welcomed Rainy River and the Lakers and Cubs doing battle in Sabaskong (all scores unavailable at press time).
The playoffs continue tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m., with matchups and locations unknown at press time.
Tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the Rainy River District Women’s Fastball League, the final six teams alive in the playoffs will do battle, with four of them faced with elimination.
In the Losers Side bracket, the No. 3-ranked Big Grassy Lynx will welcome the No. 5-rated Northwest Bay Beavers to Leland Indian Ball Field, while the No. 8-seeded Emo Renegades look to upend the No. 2-ranked Red Gut Babes in Red Gut.
The two unsuccessful sides in those games will be gone from the postseason with their second loss, while the winners will meet on Monday at 6:30 p.m. in the Losers Side semifinal at the home field of the higher-seeded team.
In the Winners Side bracket final, the defending champion and top-ranked Fort Frances Her-icanes will host the No. 6-rated Dawson Tigers at VanJura Ball Park.
The survivor advances directly to the league championship final that begins Aug. 21, while the victim will drop to the Losers Side final next Wednesday (Aug. 16).