The Barrie Baycats will have to go through Welland to defend their Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) title.
The Baycats swept their first round opponent, outscoring the Brantford Red Sox 38-8 in those four games.
“The first round was a really good warm-up for us as the hitting came around and the pitching was solid,” said Baycats president Dave Mills. “Not taking away anything from Brantford, but I feel it was just a really good opportunity for our team to click and get ready for the second round.”
Barrie won the season series against the Jackfish, earning four victories in five head-to-head games.
This is the first year in the league for Welland, which boasts a youthful squad that finished in fourth place thanks, in part, to a tough pitching staff.
Mills feels that while the new franchise will bring everything they have, the playoffs are all about experience and that’s something the Baycats have plenty of.
“Most of the players have been here for awhile,” said Mills of the veteran-laden team that has won five straight IBL championships.
“We have some veterans but I think their presence comes through in the playoffs and we’ll be playing a younger team in Welland who is hungry and a tough squad," said Mills. "However, I feel this is where veteran players do what veteran players do and find ways to win.”
Mills has watched his team rise from their first season in 2001. The team has won six championships in total and he attributes some of that success fo a great fanbase.
“Its cliche, but our fans truly are the best in the league, hands-down,” said Mills. “They haven’t become complacent despite the years of success we have had and they still cheer as loud as they can and always treat the players like superstars.
"We’ve got a fun team, fun atmosphere and we’re definitely going to reward everyone real soon," said Mills.
Barrie opens the second round Saturday versus Welland while the Kitchener Panthers host the Hamilton Cardinals on Sunday in the other semi-final.
Tickets for Baycats home games can be purchased at the Coates Stadium box office on game day or through SeatGiant.
Here's the schedule:
(1) BARRIE VS. (4) WELLAND
- Game 1 - Saturday, August 17th in Barrie at 7:00pm
- Game 2 - Sunday, August 18th in Welland at 7:00pm
- Game 3 - Tuesday, August 20th in Barrie at 7:30pm
- Game 4 - Thursday, August 22nd in Welland at 7:30pm
- *Game 5 - Saturday, August 24th in Barrie at 7:00pm
- *Game 6 - Sunday, August 25th in Welland at 6:00pm
- *Game 7 - Tuesday, August 27th in Barrie at 7:30pm
*If necessary. Series is best of 7 games. First to 4 wins.