OSHAWA, ON: The Humber Hawks successfully defended their 2018 OCAA men's baseball title by knocking off the Durham Lords 9-2 in the final game of the 2019 championship tournament.
After losing their first game in the double knockout and being put into do-or-die final championship round game, the Hawks coaching staff gave the ball to veteran Steven Hough, asking him to toe the rubber less than 24 hours after throwing a complete game shutout the day before against this very same Durham Lords squad.
On his way to being named the Most Valuable Player for the championship, Hough was brilliant once again, surrendering only two first inning runs and then throwing up five consecutive blank innings on the way to his second win of the event.
The day did not start well for the Hawks. After going 2-0 and earning a direct spot to the finals, they saw the pesky and upstart Lords squad come up big in shutting down the explosive Hawks offence by a score of 3-1.
The good news for the Hawks is that they did have some wiggle room, as Durham would need yet another win against Humber, and what was to be their third game of the day. Durham had gone extra innings against St. Clair earlier that day to earn the trip to the finals.
The opening of the final game mirrored the first game between the two teams. Durham ran out to a quick 2-0 lead after one and were in position to extend the lead just an inning later. The big play, commonly referred to as the "TSN Turning Point" came in the second. The Lords had runners on first and third with just one out. An incredible inning ending double play got the Hawks out of the inning unscathed and fueled the fire for the offensive outburst that was to come.
If there can be two "TSN Turning Points", it took place in the top of the third. With Stephen Narhabeki on second and attempting a steal of third, Hunter Bisser drove a ball just inches beyond the reach of the Lords first baseman for a run-scoring single. A catch by the Durham player would have been an instant double play, and would have cut off the Hawks rally at that point.
After tying the game at two, the flood gates opened as Humber would score runs in each of the next four innings, five straight in total. The highlights were many, but two that were awe-inspiring. Bisser once again found his stroke, just missing his first home run of his career by less than a foot, hitting the wall at the 385 mark. Seeing this, teammate Dennis Dei Baning went one better, driving one over the wall at almost the identical spot for a two-run homer.
Closer Riley Pollard came into the game to get the last three outs to cue the celebration.
On the day, the Hawks outhit the Lords 13-6.