Welland ball club comes from behind to win IBL championship


Published September 18, 2023 at 10:45 am

The Welland Jackfish won the Intercounty Baseball League championship on Saturday night in Barrie with a decisive 17-1 victory. (Photos: Welland Jackfish Twitter)

Four years after moving from Burlington to Welland, the Jackfish won their first-ever Intercounty Baseball League championship on Saturday (Sept. 16) playing in Barrie.

Despite finishing first during the regular season with a 31-11 record, the Jackfish found their backs to the wall in the championship round as the Barrie Baycats won the first two games by 4-3 and 5-3 scores in the best-of-seven playoff finale.

Welland slowly clawed its way back into the championship, reeling off consecutive 13-1, 3-2 wins before taking a three games to two series leads on Sept. 14 with a 4-2 win in front of their hometown crowd.

That led to Saturday’s match-up in Barrie where the Jackfish left little doubt from the start, pummeling the Baycats 17-1 to win the Jack and Lynne Dominico Cup title.

Welland starting pitcher and playoff MVP James Bradwell allowed an unearned run over 7.2 innings in Game 6. He scattered six hits, walked two and struck out six. Over three playoff rounds, Bradwell went 5-0 with a 1.03 earned-run average.

Offensively, Matteo Porcellato homered twice and drove in five, while Gianfranco Morello went 3-for-6 with a home run, two RBI, and three runs. Sam Cawker was 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs, Carlos Martinez doubled and drove in two, Hogan Brown had a pair of RBI and scored twice, and James Smibert drove in a run and scored twice.

During a Sunday celebration at Welland Stadium, Jackfish manager Brian Essery told local media outlet BP Sports Niagara, “When it all came together it was a surreal experience. When we came here four years ago, we didn’t know what to expect. To win in four years is incredible. You look at teams that haven’t won it in decades. It’s unbelievable.”

The Jackfish squad celebrate after a convincing 17-1 championship-clinching win in Barrie on Saturday night.



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