Titans advance to baseball championship

Titans advance to baseball championship
Posted on 10/11/2023
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By Larry Moko

Jack Bar of the Bishop Tonnos Titans displayed impressive pitching versatility in helping his high school team to its latest playoff baseball win.

Instead of appearing in the game as a late-inning relief specialist as he usually does, the Grade 11 right hander got the starting mound assignment Tuesday against the St. John Henry Newman Cardinals.

Did that change of routine – call it a change up -- bother, him? Hardly. Bar held the opposition scoreless during his four innings of work before shifting to third base as Tonnos topped the visiting Cardinals, 7-3.

And with that semifinal result, the defending champion Titans advance to Thursday’s Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic championship game at Bernie Arbour Stadium against the St. Jean de Brébeuf Braves.

Brébeuf took its semifinal, 3-0 over the St. Thomas More Knights.

“Jack has usually just been our closer this year,” Tonnos coach Chris Davis said. “He’s a big thrower. Instead of starting, we would put him in at the end.”

Bar, who also plays for Burlington’s Fieldhouse Pirates, received notice of the pitching switcheroo from his coach on game day. Said Davis, “I just texted him this morning and he said ‘no worries.’ I was excited about that.”

The only hit Bar allowed was a first-inning single to leadoff batter Baeden Agnew. After that, he struck out six batters and walked two.

“Our main starter (Jayden Pavao) was away on a college tour,” Bar explained. “So I had to step up and fill his shoes.”

Tonnos outhit Newman 12-5. The Titans scored one run in the second, three in the third, one in the fifth and two in the sixth. Newman replied with one in the sixth plus two in the seventh and final inning.

“Our boys were disciplined with the bat,” Davis said. “They weren’t thinking to hit the fence. They were thinking to put the ball in play. They did and it worked very well.”

John Raposo, who pitched the final three innings for first-place Tonnos, belted a pair of doubles. Bar knocked in two runs with a double and a single, while Ronan D’Andrea chipped in with three singles and a two RBI and George Aitas contributed a double and a single.

Jackson Lloyd stroked a double and Julian Sabourin drove in the final two runs with a single.

“I thought we played really well,” Bar said. “Offensively, we were kind of rough at the start but we picked it up.

“We got some good two-strike approaches. And with two out we scored a couple of runs.”

In Newman’s last at-bat, Mark Lees doubled and Ethan Blackborrow drew a walk before they both raced home on a double by James Kivell. And the threat continued when Dimarco Castellani reached base on a two-out throwing error.

Nick Tomasin then smashed a low liner to right field that was caught by Alessandro Pauletto.

“I was nervous,” Davis said of watching the game-ending catch. “He took a back track to it.

(Pauletto) is a really quality ballplayer who plays for a high-level elite team, the Ontario Terriers.”

Newman stood out defensively by making two double plays in the contest. Their other run crossed the plate on a double by Castellani followed by Nic Nicoletti’s single.

During the regular season, Tonnos finished with a 4-0 record. Brébeuf, Newman and More each had records of 2-2 while St. Mary was 0-4.

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