American Invasion (aka Damn Yankees!)

The days of Ontario domination at the ISC II Tournament of Champions has ended (for this year, at least) as five of the seven pools were won by American teams, six of the Elite Eight were from south of the border and three of the Final Four come from below the 49th.

A howling wind seems to have blown in a changing of the guard at the ToC as the eight American teams in the tournament flexed their collective muscles and pushed most of the Ontario teams to the sidelines.

The upsets started in the first playoff game as wildcard Port Elgin Blue Devils finally woke up their slumbering bats and mercied the Harriston Mercury’s 9-1 before falling to A-1/Taylor Farms from California. It took A-1/Taylor nine innings to outlast the scrappy Ashland Merchants team 5-3 after Ashland eliminated the upstart Rockwood Rush. Rockwood had earlier turned out the lights on Pennsylvania Power 3-2.

Another wildcard, Jarvis Rock, ended the hopes of the Elora Wellington Brewers with a walk-off two-run HR by Brian Auld and were then knocked out by South Lebanon T.N.T. The final wildcard, Keating’s Fitness, eliminated Wyevale Tribe and Shakespeare Falcons, before getting dumped by T.N.T. in the the last quarter-final of the night.

Cutro Professional Inspections got a walk-off HR from Shaun Winship to eliminate the Bridgeport Braves before getting raked by the Niagara Snappers in the second round. The Snappers, in an all-GHFL quarter-final, triumphed in a 1-0 nailbiter to end the hopes of last year’s finalist Palermo Athletics. The last Ontario hope, Niagara Snappers, will play T.N.T. in the first semi-final.

California Lumberkings woke up their slumbering bats late in the game to eliminate Glencoe Astros 3-1 after Glencoe had disposed of Alvinston Indians 2-0. The Lumberkings would go on to eliminate Hoffman Rise 3-0, setting up an all-California semi-final matchup against A-1/Taylor.

Possible MVP candidates include Jeremy Tracy of T.N.T., Trevor Falk of Niagara and Jeff Twist of A-1/Taylor while Top Pitchers include Tracy, Jeff Van Hooser of Ashland, Corey Costello of Niagara, A-1/Taylor’s Dave Drotzman and Mike Egerdeen of the Lumberkings.

All three of the ISC II games on Championship Saturday can be heard at with both semi-finals starting at 9 am.

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