Underdog Oildome wins Midget title

  John Patmore, 17, is enjoying his 6th consecutive season with the Oildome League. He is the son of Robin and Linda Patmore of Pipestone.

  The Oildome Midgets were considered the underdogs going into the Provincial AAA Championships.

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  “We are a 4-team league with a very small catchment area and had very few kids try out for the team,” said Robin Patmore. “Unlike Winnipeg teams who have a AAA league and play together all season, our team is formed after our Midget season and has very few practices or games prior to the Provincial tournament.”

  “John is a well-rounded player. That weekend, he played shortstop in all 5 games  as well as pitching in 4 of the 5 game. He earned 3 saves and got the win in the final game with a 3 inning appearance,” explained Robin. “He was asked to come into a bases loaded 0 out situation in the 6th inning of the final and got out of it with 3 consecutive outs. He then pitched the 7th and 8th extra inning to earn the win after Oildome scored 1 run in the top of the 8th inning. For his 5 strikeouts over the 3 innings with no runs allowed he received the MVP award for the game. John batted in the number 2 spot in the lineup all weekend and hit very well.”

  Unfortunately, due to harvest, and the fact that John’s Dad is coach for his younger brother, Billy’s AAA Peewee team, only his mom, Linda, will be travelling to Sherbrooke, Quebec for the National Midget AAA Baseball Championships, which run August 18 to 22.

  Patmore is also a member of Team Manitoba and has relied heavily on family to get him to all of his events. John’s grandparents took him to Dickinson in late June for a tournament, his Mom took him to Minneapolis for a tournament in early July and John, Linda, and Billy are headed to Fort McMurray, August 2 -9, for the Baseball Canada Cup, where the top under 18-year-old players in Canada represent their province.

  As far as the Oildome team is concerned, as long as there is a team, John will be there next summer!

The following story is courtesy of Charles Tweed/The Brandon Sun

  When the lights came on at Baseball Manitoba’s Midget Provincial final on Sunday, no one expected Oildome to be there - let alone win it.

  That’s just what they did, however, scoring the go-ahead run in dramatic fashion in the 8th inning to defeat the Winnipeg South Chiefs 4-3 and capture the Provincial Midget AAA Championship at Charleswood Park in Winnipeg.

  "We weren’t supposed to win Provincials," head coach Shaun Cory said. "But everyone gelled. We tried our best to put our players in the right roles, made a few switches and the boys just kept winning games."

  The final run was reminiscent of Eric Hosmer’s daring baserunning in Game 2 of the World Series last year that helped propel his Kansas City Royals to a championship.

  Cast in Hosmer’s role was Souris’s Cole Kirkup. Standing on second base with two outs in the top half of the 8th inning, Kirkup watched his cousin, Jack Kirkup, smack a ground ball up the middle. The inning looked over when the Chiefs’ second baseman made a great diving catch to reach the ball. Not taking anything for granted, both Kirkups hustled on the base paths. Jack narrowly beat the ball to 1st base, while Cole, who had built a strong secondary lead off second, made the turn at 3rd and beat the ball to home plate to cross as the game-winning run.

  "Right before the play they changed their pitcher and our first base coach, (Jeff Smart) he came up and told me:"We have two outs and as soon as the pitcher goes into his windup make sure Ihave a five-step running lead,’" Kirkup said about the play. "As soon as the ball hit the ground Iknew Ihad to go ... when Isaw the first baseman stretched out as far as he could go I knew he didn’t have enough time to get me at the plate. I crossed the plate and our whole bench was electric. It was amazing. The feeling was surreal and I almost can’t put it into words."

  Pipestone’s John Patmore shut down the Chiefs in the bottom half of the inning to cement the win. Patmore finished with three relief innings pitched in the final, picking up the win.

  Kirkup said the team had a chip on its shoulder as it wasn’t difficult to see the pecking order before the first pitch of the tournament.

  Oildome, which is made up of players from teams in Souris, Wawanesa, Pipestone, Melita, Hartney, Deloraine and Boissevain, was in Pool A with South Central, North Winnipeg and Bonivital.

  South Central was one of the favourites to win the tournament, while North Winnipeg was the top team in the Winnipeg AAA Baseball   Association this season.

Those two juggernauts, combined with Bonivital, played together in units all season, while Oildome was pieced together late in the year and only practiced and played together a few times.

  "Nobody even really knows who Oildome is,"Kirkup said. "We’re just a bunch of country boys playing ball for fun but when you look at it we have some top-end talent on our team."

  The underdog sentiment was shared by the team and coaching staff, according to Cory.

  "We didn’t know where we would fit in," Cory said. "We knew we had some good players and competitors, but you don’t know what’s waiting for you with these teams that have played all year together."

  A 6-4 win over South Central in their first game opened some eyes.

  "They made a few costly errors in that first game and we capitalized," Cory said.

  With wins over Bonivital and North Winnipeg, Oildome swept its pool play before pounding St. James 10-6 to punch its ticket to the final.

  "Our defence and our pitching got us there," Cory said while singling out Patmore and Wawanesa’s Dawson Cullen on the mound.

  Boissevain’s Jordan Foote, who manned first base and filled in at shortstop when Patmore pitched, provided the bulk of the offence.

  "Our hitting was good and it came alive when it had to but we didn’t outscore people for the most part. Everyone knew their roles and did them to the best of their ability."

  The Provincial win also extended Oildome’s season as the team will travel to Sherbrooke, Quebec, to play in the National Midget AAA Baseball Championshipswhich runs August 18 to 22.

  "I think that everyone is really excited and I know we have a lot of families and parents who are going to go to," Cory said.

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