By Chris Lazar • Photo by Brandon Taylor
Canada Day weekend is almost upon us, and it is always a celebration. It is a time to party, spend time with family and friends, and most importantly show off Canadian pride. In this week’s edition of the power rankings, we will highlight one thing that each team should be proud of so far this year.
#8. Brantford Red Sox (2-16, Previous Week: 8)
Matt Fabian. Who would’ve thought that nearly halfway through the season a member of the Red Sox would be leading the league in batting average? Well here we are, and it’s been well earned. The third baseman has racked up a .459 average in 13 starts, reaching base at a ridiculous .530 clip.
#7. London Majors (4-11, Previous Week: 7)
Owen Boon. In a season with far more downs than ups, The Majors have seen Boon be as effective as ever. Top five in the league in ERA, the veteran righty has been carving hitters all year long and it looks like he’s throwing the ball harder than he has in the past, which also could explain the league leading 39 strikeouts. Not only is he striking batters out at a high rate, he’s only walked five guys all season. The Western grad is certainly having quite a run in the first half of the year.
#6. Guelph Royals (6-12, Previous Week: 6)
Youthful Production. The Royals currently field the youngest left side of the infield in the IBL, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at their numbers. Rookie Corey Morro and second-year player Brando Leroux are both still teenagers, yet they have arguably been the team’s best hitters this season. Leroux is batting .397 with more walks than strikeouts while Morro was hitting over .400 coming into last week. The future is certainly bright in Guelph with these two.
#5. Kitchener Panthers (10-7, Previous Week: 5)
Christian Hauck. It seems the Laurier graduate is finally reaching his potential. The seven-year veteran has always possessed electric stuff, however he’s rarely been able to harness it consistently, and never has he had a run quite like the one he’s on this season. There have been stretches of Hauck’s career where he’s shown ace-like talent, and this year he has the results that show it. Leading the league in ERA is a difficult thing to do, but to do it with Jack Couch as your home yard? That makes his season that much more remarkable.
#4. Toronto Maple Leafs (10-7, Previous Week: 2)
Veteran Leadership. Toronto’s offense has been solid all season, and it’s been led by names that are familiar to anyone who’s been around the league. Johnathan Solazzo is either near – or at – the top of the leaderboard in basically every offensive category, while catcher Justin Marra has also showcased his power stroke with six homers so far this year and his brother Dan Marra in the top 10 in batting average. Justin has been in the league for seven seasons, while Dan and Solazzo are in their 12th and 13th seasons respectively – an experienced team led by some of the most veteran players the league has to offer.
#3. Hamilton Cardinals (11-7, Previous Week: 3)
Front Office. Hamilton currently sit one win behind their total from 2022, and it’s not even halfway through the season. The play on the field is the obvious reason for the turnaround, but it wouldn’t be possible without new owner Eric Spearin and the front office. Spearin has completely revamped everything about the Cardinals and it’s breathed new life into the franchise, both on and off the field. They are seeing attendance numbers they haven’t seen in a very long time consistently, and the team is playing at a pace better than it ever has – they are on pace to break the franchise record for wins in a season (22).
#2. Barrie Baycats (11-5, Previous Week: 4)
Championship Pedigree. The Baycats seven game winning streak has been led by two guys who helped win championships during Barrie’s dynasty – Frank Garces on the mound and Ryan Rijo at the plate. Garces has been in vintage form this year after a rough 2022 with a 2.29 ERA in just under 20 innings, striking out 22 and has yet to walk a single batter, while Rijo just took home player of the week honours after a sizzling hot week that saw him go 7-for-11 at the dish with a pair of homers. The big first baseman is having a career year, on pace to shatter his previous best numbers in nearly every offensive category.
#1. Welland Jackfish (14-3, Previous Week: 1)
Depth. Despite losing big on Saturday night, The Jackfish have been the most consistent team in the league, regularly finding ways to win games. This weekend was always going to be a tough stretch, as they had to play four straight days and were missing their ace Jake Harford, but they still came away 3-1 thanks to their incredible depth. Their pitching staff was asked to carry a heavy load in the absence of Harford, and besides Saturday’s hiccup they delivered as they have all year. Their lineup is no joke either and can beat you one through nine and even one through 13 when you include their bench. Their starting lineup sported seven hitters with batting averages over .300. The two guys who were under that mark? Steven Moretto and Gianfranco Morello, who also happen to be two of their most productive hitters this season. There simply aren’t many weaknesses on this team.
News: IBL Veteran Brett Lawson Re-Signs with Hamilton
The Hamilton Cardinals have re-signed veteran right-handed starting pitcher Brett Lawson.Standing tall at 6-foot-8 and hailing from Burlington, Lawson made a mid-season move to the Cardinals from the Welland Jackfish during the 2023 campaign. Despite a limited regular-season engagement, where he pitched 7 innings for the Cardinals, Lawson stepped up remarkably in the playoff series…
The Hamilton Cardinals have re-signed veteran right-handed starting pitcher Brett Lawson.
Standing tall at 6-foot-8 and hailing from Burlington, Lawson made a mid-season move to the Cardinals from the Welland Jackfish during the 2023 campaign. Despite a limited regular-season engagement, where he pitched 7 innings for the Cardinals, Lawson stepped up remarkably in the playoff series against Barrie, delivering a standout performance by striking out 10 batters across 8 innings and achieving a commendable ERA of 3.37.
With a rich career spanning over 500 innings in the IBL and accumulating more than 400 strikeouts, Lawson’s experience is unparalleled in the league. His illustrious career includes clinching the IBL’s prestigious Dominico Cup with the Barrie Baycats from 2014 to 2018. Lawson’s professional journey was kickstarted when he was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 15th round of the 2001 MLB June Amateur Draft, following his tenure at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, marking the beginning of a six-season journey in professional baseball. The Cardinals will continue to lean on Lawson’s proven leadership and track record of success throughout the 2024 season.
“Lawson is one of the model IBL veterans, and with a young roster, we’re fortunate to have him back with us,” said George Halim, Hamilton Cardinals General Manager. “He’s a lifetime pro who knows how to get outs, and knows how to compete while giving us a chance to win when he’s out there.”
About the Hamilton Cardinals
The Hamilton Cardinals Baseball Club are a member of Canada’s best league, the Intercounty Baseball League. The over 100-year old summer league is one of the oldest baseball leagues in the world, established in 1919. For more information visit: https://www.theibl.ca & https://www.iblcardinals.ca
News: JACKFISH ANNOUNCE CHAMPION VS. CHAMPION GAME AGAINST QUEBEC CAPITALES
WELLAND – The Welland Jackfish, Niagara’s sports entertainment destination, is excited to announce they will host the 2023 Frontier League Champions Quebec Capitales for a preseason game at Welland Stadium on Monday, May 6.Gates are scheduled to open at 6:00 p.m. and first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. Concessions will be available and tickets…
WELLAND – The Welland Jackfish, Niagara’s sports entertainment destination, is excited to announce they will host the 2023 Frontier League Champions Quebec Capitales for a preseason game at Welland Stadium on Monday, May 6.
Gates are scheduled to open at 6:00 p.m. and first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. Concessions will be available and tickets can be purchased over the phone by calling 905-735-9834 or by clicking here.
“It will be great to open the doors on May 6 for the exhibition against Quebec,” team President and Director of Fun, Ryan Harrison said. “I appreciate Pat Scalabrini and the entire Quebec Capitales for making this happen for us and all of our fans. It will be tremendous for our players – and our gameday staff – to get in a preseason game under the lights as we continue to prepare for Opening Day. It’s incredible to be home at the Pond.”
The Québec Capitales (French: Les Capitales de Québec) are a professional baseball team based in Quebec City, Quebec. The Capitales have been members of the Frontier League since the 2020 season after a merger between the Can-Am League and the Frontier League in October 2019. Since the 1999 season, the Capitales have played their home games at Stade Canac.
The Jackfish return to The Pond on Saturday, May 18th at 6:05 pm for their 2024 Home Opener. Season membership and flex plans are on sale now at wellandjackfish.com/2024 or by calling 905-735-9834.
The Welland Jackfish are a member of Canada’s best league, the Intercounty Baseball League. The over 100-year old summer league is one of the oldest baseball leagues in the world, with the league established in 1919, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. For more information, visit www.wellandjackfish.com or follow the Jackfish on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @wellandjackfish.
News: Leafs Re-Sign Pitcher Chris Nagorski
TORONTO, Ontario – The Toronto Maple Leafs Baseball Club (@MapleLeafsBaseball) announced today the re-signing of 5 time IBL Champion Right-Handed Pitcher Chris NagorskiNagorski returns for his 3rd season with the Leafs after spending 8 seasons in the IBL with Guelph and Barrie. Nagorski is 2nd all time in IBL career saves (25) and 12th all-time…
TORONTO, Ontario – The Toronto Maple Leafs Baseball Club (@MapleLeafsBaseball) announced today the re-signing of 5 time IBL Champion Right-Handed Pitcher Chris Nagorski
Nagorski returns for his 3rd season with the Leafs after spending 8 seasons in the IBL with Guelph and Barrie. Nagorski is 2nd all time in IBL career saves (25) and 12th all-time in appearances (136 games) . Last season in 12 games, Chris stuck out 8 and had an ERA of 5.26 in 13.2 Innings pitched.
“Chris is a tremendous team player and understands his role as a leader and late inning relief pitcher. He knows how to be ready to pitch and helps the younger players adjust to the IBL. We are excited to have him back this year.” GM Jeff Lounsbury
“I am thrilled to run it back with the boys and contribute to a new era of Toronto Maple Leaf Baseball” said Nagorkski
The Toronto Maple Leafs are a member of Canada’s best league, the Intercounty Baseball League. The over 100-year-old summer league is one of the oldest baseball leagues in the world, with the league established in 1919, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. For more information, visit www.mapleleafsbaseball.com or follow the Maple Leafs on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
This announcement is brought to you by NEW ERA CAP COMPANY official hat supplier of the Toronto Maple Leaf Baseball Team. New Era | New Era Hats & Apparel – New Era Cap
Photo: Craig Aikin