Ontario ISC II Preseason Top 10

With the fastball season only about a week away, it’s time for the 4th annual preseason rankings. For the Ontario ISC II Rankings this year, we will be using the average score of the Ontario teams that are ranked by the Ontario members of the ISC II Ranking Committee.

1. Elmira Cubs – The 2005 ISC II Champions come into the 2006 season ranked on top and all eyes will be on ToC Top Pitcher & MVP Casey Halstead. The Cubs have added a couple more graduating Waterloo Juniors to the team and there is concern about playing time for some, but an already impressive lineup may be even better in 2006. The Cubs are taking a big early step with the Woodstock Legends tourney on the heels of St. Clement’s.

2. Alvinston Indians – After an impressive run to the semi-finals at the 2005 ToC, the Indians have brought shortstop Scott Macauley and pitcher Derwyn Hodgins out of retirement to bolster their lineup for 2006. Doug Charlton seems to get better with age and was throwing as hard as anyone except Konkle and Costello. The Indians will be in St. Clement’s and the Snapper Shootout early in the year prior to Innerkip.

3. Port Elgin Blue Devils – Finalists at the 2005 ToC, the young Blue Devils squad run away with the Blue Water league last year, but will need to add some pitching help to keep ace Rob Fawcett fresh. If Dan Martin returns and they can find a #3, the Blue Devils will definitely be around on Friday at this year’s ToC. Port Elgin will be in St. Clement’s in late May.

4. Niagara Snappers – The Snappers won six tournaments in 2005 and finished tied for 5th at the ToC. Have added 2nd baseman Jamie Morey for tournaments and will move Trevor Falk back behind the plate and Kevin Newhouse to shortstop. Key for the Snappers success will be for Dan Duemo to duplicate his monster 2005 this year. The Snappers are in the Jarvis ISC tournament before hosting the Snapper Shootout and then heading to Innerkip.

5. Bridgeport PROforma Braves – Todd Winkworth will share mound time with Jim Schnarr this year, giving the Braves a solid 1-2. With Jay and Jodie Schnarr at the top of the lineup the Braves can hit with anyone and will be going into the season with the knowledge that they can win when it counts after taking the South Perth title last year. The Braves will be in St. Clement’s and then the Woodstock Legends tournament.

6. Elora Wellington Brewers – With Todd Uhrig and Mike Pinder, the Brewers are set in the circle while Ryan Dilgee and Terry Martin bring lots of championship experience from their time with Harriston. Elora is in the Snapper Shootout prior to Innerkip.

7. Ottawa Team Easton Thunder – The million dollar questions is: What is Dan Konkle doing this year? The hot rumour in March had DK and Todd Fraser headed south to Pennsylvania, but that has cooled recently. Lefty Jeff Murphy and Darryl Buttar from Cobourg will travel east to join the Thunder for tournaments. They will be in the Fitzroy Harbour qualifier.

8. Micksburg Twins – Ace Corey Costello wants to bring the Twins to the ToC. Does anyone want to bet against him? Micksburg will try to qualify out of Fitzroy Harbour and Costello may be enough to get them to the ToC on his own, with some help from cousin Shawn.

8. Tavistock Smully’s Merchants – Tavistock will be in need of some pitching help to go along with lone holdover Steve Cook in 2006. There’s still lots of offence, despite the loss of Pinder, with the likes of Jamie Boyd, Jamie Rader and Dave Kollman. Tavistock is also in the St. Clement’s tournament before travelling down the road to Innerkip.

10. Harriston Mercury’s – Harriston pick up P Jeremy Osbourne and C Bryan Depencier from the wreckage of Highgate to go along with ace Scott Smith and DP Jeremy Creeden. While the loss of Dilgee will hurt up the middle, Harriston still has lots of experience and will be a force to be reckoned with in St. Clement’s and Innerkip.

10. Toronto Champion Indians – Toronto went undefeated to win the Ontario Challenge Cup last August. A team loaded with veterans who can hit the ball, the Indians see plenty of good pitching every night in the Oshawa league and will be a contender in Kitchener. They are playing in Waterloo and the Snapper Shootout early on in the year.

Other Ontario teams receiving votes:
Palermo Athletics – just falling outside the top 10, Palermo showed they still know how to win with their victory at last year’s OASA Intermediate Eliminations. Had a disappointing ToC, losing to Eric Steinbeck in the first round, but Palermo play top opposition every night in the ISC Travel League. Will be in Millgrove and the Snapper Shootout before heading to Innerkip.

Waterdown Hammer – With ace Tim Neill on board, the Hammer will look to duplicate the success they often have on the road by travelling to Fitzroy to try to qualify.

Shakespeare Falcons – Top gun Fred Follings heads to Innerkip with the Falcons who will look to build on their success in the South Perth league last year.

Glencoe Astros – Shaun Winship has spent all winter putting this team together. Looks good on paper, but can they make it work in Innerkip?

Blair Setford
ISC II Commissioner

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