Competing in the Baseball Ontario Bantam Provincial Championships, Sudbury advanced all the way to the final game, dropping a tough 2-0 decision to Tecumseh and settling for silver medals.
The locals opened on a winning note as a strong pitching performance from Ryan Faubert combined with some aggressive base-running allowed the team to post a 7-5 victory over Wexford.
Phil Miller went three for four, stealing three bases in the game, while Brody McCaffrey also drilled a pair of hits as the team began to get a sense of their competitiveness.
Unfortunately, some untimely errors, a lack of hustle and plain old bad luck combined to ground the Sudbury side in game two as the squad dropped to 1-1 with a 6-5 loss to Ajax.
With the bases loaded and one out in the fifth, McCaffrey smashed a screamer — directly at the third baseman. The rally-killing double play likely saved three runs from scoring. It left coach Jack Miller and company in a "win or go home" scenario moving forward.
Josh Clark enjoyed a 2/3 performance at the plate for Sudbury, while McCaffrey and Nick Hillman combined for six strikeouts on the mound.
A refocused Northern Ontario crew made short work of Oakville in their first elimination game, stopping the A's 6-1 behind the pitching of Miller and a clutch triple from catcher Josh Favaro.
Favero and Clark registered two-hit games as Sudbury moved onto the quarter-finals, earning a rematch with Ajax. This one was truly no contest as the locals hit around in the third inning, scoring nine runs and cruising to a 15-8 triumph.
Connor Brown (4/4), Sebastien Stefankow (3/4) and Todd Timony (2/2) all enjoyed productive games at the dish, with Stefankow relieving in the third and holding the lead through the final five innings.
The semifinal encounter will quite likely stick in the memories of these players for some years to come as Sudbury overcome a 7-3 deficit, scoring six runs in the top of the seventh and holding on for a 9-8 win over Kingston.
Ethan Jodouin, Faubert and Favaro plated runs for Miller and company in the top of the first, but an elbow injury to starter Josh Clark taxed an already strained pitching staff.
Trailing by four entering their final at-bat, Sudbury showed signs of life as Brown led off with a walk, followed by a single from Hillman. Miller drove in both runners with a triple, and by the time Jodouin, Clark, Stefankow and Timony added RBI's, the visitors held a 9-7 lead coming home.
But Kingston was not about to go away, pulling to within one and enjoying a runner on third when Favaro made an impressive turnaround throw on a slow roller, recording the final out and sending Sudbury to the championship final.
Despite a complete game gem from McCaffrey in the grand finale, the northern lads simply could not get the bats going against an equally impressive starter for Tecumseh.
The encounter included a number of sparkling defensive plays, with Jodouin and Favaro flashing the leather for the eventual silver medallists.
"Our team went from being eliminated in two earlier tournaments to finishing in the medals at OBA finals, where it counts," coach Jack Miller said. "It was a great year for a great group of young men."