The Barrie Baycats will defend their Intercounty Baseball League title against the Kitchener Panthers in the championship final.
No, this isn’t a repeat article from last year, or even the year before that.
For the third straight season, the Baycats and the Panthers will clash with the winner getting the Dominico Cup.
In the 101-year history of the IBL, the Baycats are the first team to make it to eight straight finals and are four victories away from winning their sixth title in a row.
In addition to the title they won in 2005, Barrie won its first of this current stretch when they defeated the Brantford Red Sox in 2014, who themselves had won a record six consecutive championships.
Should the Baycats defeat Kitchener in this 2019 series, they will tie the Red Sox, which has many fans in the IBL taking to social media to complain about the same team winning year after year.
BarrieToday received a very blunt answer from Baycats manager Angus Roy when asked for his thoughts on those who complain about his team’s success over the years.
“I really don’t care what other people think,” Roy said. “If you’re outside this team, meaning if you’re not part of the dedicated management who give all they can to us for us to be successful, or if you’re not on the field giving your all for the organization, I don’t care.
“Dynasties are a part of sport and they happen when a team gels after playing together for a while and after the many hours of practice and sweat that’s put in," the skipper added. "We’re following the same rules as everybody else and our core has been here from Day 1 of this stretch.
"Our guys aren’t listening to anyone complaining that their hard work is paying off.”
That core contains nine players who have rings from each of the last five championship seasons.
The last two IBL titles came after Barrie beat their opponents in the upcoming 2019 series, the Panthers, for league bragging rights.
The season series between the two squads had Barrie winning four of the six games played, including a memorable Aug. 6 one-game playoff to decide the winner of the league pennant and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. That game was needed when both the Baycats and the Panthers finished the regular-season schedule with identical records.
Roy knows this will be a baseball battle for the ages, starting Tuesday night.
“I anticipate every game to be extremely competitive, as close as you can get,” Roy said. “When the two best teams of the regular season meet in the final, it’s a good thing.
"That one-game playoff was close because both these teams are so damn close in comparison — pitching and fielding to hitting and just baseball intelligence," he added. "It's going to be great for anyone who loves the game.”
With two teams so similar to each other and a series that's sure to be as close as a coin toss, Roy explains why he has complete faith in his team.
“We’re talking about my best friends in the entire world,” he said. “(Kyle) DeGrace has been nothing short of an absolute leader on and off the field, as has (Jordan) Castaldo.
"The thing is, that can be said about any player in that clubhouse; every game a new leader steps and helps us win that game," Roy added. "I believe in this team 100 per cent and look forward to some more great games from them.”
Game 1 of the best-of-seven series will take place this Tuesday, Aug. 27 at Coates Stadium in MIdhiurst beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available at Coates Stadium box office on game day or online by clicking here.
The rest of the series is as follows:
Game 2 — Thursday, Aug. 29 in Kitchener 7:30 p.m.
Game 3 — Saturday, Aug. 31 in Barrie 7 p.m.
Game 4 — Sunday, Sept. 1 in Kitchener 7 p.m.
* Game 5 — Tuesday, Sept. 3 in Barrie 7:30 p.m.
* Game 6 — Thursday, Sept. 5 in Kitchener 7:30 p.m.
* Game 7 — Saturday, Sept. 7 in Barrie 7 p.m.
* if necessary