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'Special' Flames defy expectations, earn GBSSA championship berth

'I’ve never experienced anything like it,' says coach of PF's varsity boys’ baseball team that shocked the competition in its inaugural season
The Patrick Fogarty Secondary School varsity boys’ baseball team celebrated winning the Catholic School Athletics of Simcoe County championship on Thursday afternoon.

The Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School (PF) varsity boys’ baseball team pulled off an improbable upset on Thursday to punch their ticket to the Georgian Bay Secondary School Association (GBSSA) championships next week.

Amy Winacott, one of the coaches of the team, says this is the first time the school has fielded a baseball team since 2017.

“They started a football program in the fall,” she said. “Until then we didn’t know that it was an option to bring a sport to a high school like that as a parent.”

Winacott and her husband, Rob, volunteered to revamp the program, coach the team, and donated most of the equipment. When the Winacotts hosted tryouts in March, more 40 students showed up to try out for the team.

“The interest was huge,” she said. “Rob has coached in Orillia for years and would always get the odd PF student who would complain that they don’t have a high school team.”

During the regular season, the Flames baseball team finished with a 3-3 record, putting them third in their division.

“We knew we were up against St. Joseph’s, who is an undefeated team two years in a row,” Winacott explained. “There was some good talent out there and some good pitchers on all the teams that we faced.”

In the playoffs, the Flames showed up. Seeded third, they knocked out the sixth-seeded St. Joan of Arc Catholic High School, 6-2. In the second round, PF defeated Our Lady of the Bay Catholic High School 8-4, sending them to the Catholic School Athletics of Simcoe County championship final against the juggernaut, St. Joseph’s Catholic High School.

Using a strategic game plan, the Flames outclassed their opponent 3-0 on Thursday, sending them to the GBSSA championship series that starts on Monday. Games 1 and 2 of the best of 3 series are scheduled for 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. at the Barrie Sports Complex. Game 3, if necessary, will be scheduled for Tuesday at a to-be-determined time. 

“I’ve never experienced anything like it,” Winacott said. “Being a new program that we just started, we never expected to win the Catholic board (title).”

The Flames are up against Bradford District High School in the finals, yet another undefeated team. Despite the intimidating record, Winacott is confident in her squad.

“We have good pitchers,” Winacott said. “They are all going to be reset and ready to pitch their full games on Monday.”

Grade 12 catcher, Will Timpano, says winning the GBSSA on Monday will not be easy. 

"I know a couple of guys on the other team,' he said. "It will be a tough series, but we think we can pull it off." 

While PF is known as a basketball school, Timpano says it would be "special" to bring a baseball banner back to the gym on Monday afternoon. 

"The entire baseball team would be psyched out of our minds," he said.   

Timpano also plays "elite" baseball with the Team Ontario Astros. He says the high school experience has been vastly different from his usual competitive atmosphere. 

"There is a lot less firepower with the bats and on the mound," he said. "However, I find the team component is a lot greater." 

Timpano says with high school ball, everyone has to work together to win. 

"There is no one swing or pitch that is going to win a game," he said. "It really takes a team effort to win." 

While Timpano says the high school baseball experience has been "awesome," he wishes the program was made available sooner in his high school career. 

"We would have had a good team every year I've been in high school," he said. "When I was younger it would have been a great opportunity to play with some of the older guys." 

If the Flames are victorious on Monday, Timpano hopes it will give the baseball program enough fuel to last for generations to come. 


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Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
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