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Windsor Knights crowned NSIBL champions two years in a row


Dave Swindall ‘pitched his heart out’

WINDSOR, N.S. —

The Windsor Knights brought home the hardware for a second consecutive year following a hard-fought NSIBL championship.

Heading into the last day of play on Sept. 1, the Knights were undefeated 2-0.

Jason Hanes, the Knights’ playing coach, said that meant they’d have to be defeated twice in a row for another team to win the championship title.

“When we knew we had to be beaten twice, we knew we were in a good spot. But when it comes down to one game, you never know what could happen,” said Hanes.

The Noel Road Jays advanced to the final with the Knights after defeating the Sherose Island Schooners 11-7 Sunday morning.

When the Jays and Knights played that afternoon, the teams were tied 4-4 and required an extra inning. 

The Jays managed to eke out a win in the eighth, which forced a final do-or-die game to be played within the hour.

“It was a really close, tight game and a little bit hard on the nerves,” said Hanes in a phone interview.

With the Nova Scotia Intermediate Baseball League championship title on the line, Hanes said they relied on veteran pitcher Dave Swindall and he didn’t disappoint.

“We know he's a big game pitcher and he's gonna give you everything he's got. So we felt pretty good but it was a tight game,” said Hanes. “If they get one more hit or if we got one less hit, you know, they would've won and we would have lost. We were right there.”

In the final, the Knights jumped in front 3-0 early. In the sixth inning, the Knights lead 4-2. In the seventh, in one last valiant effort, the Jays scored to make it 4-3 but couldn’t find the equalizer and the Knights went home with the win.

Hanes said Swindall’s pitching performance was definitely a highlight in the final.

“He's been with us since he was a teenager, and he's pitched a lot of big games for us and he came up with another big one on Sunday. He pitched his heart out,” said Hanes.

“Everybody played well. A few tiny mistakes, but nothing serious. It was great team win. And you know, everybody had a part in it.”

The Knights’ centre fielder Joe Beaton also played a great weekend of ball for the Knights.

“I was seeing the ball well and was trying to make the most out of every at bat, and drive anything I could up the middle while being aggressive on the bases,” he said.

Swindall told the Journal that he wanted to give it his all when he pitched against the league’s best hitter, Noel Road’s Mike White.

“I wanted to throw every pitch as hard as I could at 110 per cent and mix the pitches up with fastballs and change-ups,” he said.

For Swindall, the victory was bittersweet as one of his biggest fans wasn’t in the stands.

“My mother would have loved seeing us win a second consecutive championship but I lost her over the winter but knew she was still watching over us,” said Swindall.

Looking forward to next year, Hanes said he’s hopeful the team will be able to continue to build upon their successes these past two seasons. The team is comprised of a fairly even mix of youth and veteran players.

“I hate to look too far ahead but I'd love to win another one,” said Hanes, noting the 2019 win was quite special as it marked the 20th anniversary of the league.

IN PREVIOUS PLAY

The Nova Scotia Intermediate Baseball League championships took place Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 and featured Windsor, Noel Road, Sherose Island and Amherst vying for the top spot.

In the opening game, the Windsor Knights went over the Amherst Athletics 10-4.

The Knights went up 1-0 in the second on a hit by Derek Hart, who later scored after a walk and an error and a wild pitch.

Beaton, Hart and Tyler Beach all doubled to start the bottom of the fourth. A Paul Humphreys single and a Swindall double finished the Knights’ scoring as the Knights connected for four runs on five hits to take a 5-0 lead.

Amherst came back with three consecutive singles followed by a Knights error to make it 5-1.

The Knights scored two more in the fifth on three runs and three hits and an Amherst error. Austin Sabean led off with a double for Windsor followed by a walk to Alex Patterson and a Beaton single.

The Sherose Island Schooners handed the Athletics their second loss of the tournament, eliminating them from further play.

Windsor and Noel Road then faced off for an afternoon bout, with Windsor winning 6-4. The Jays went up 2-0 early on thanks to RBI singles from Mike White and Nathan McCulloch.

The Knights tied it in the 5th on a bases-loaded triple by Tristen Horner.

The Knights then scored four runs in the sixth on five hits and a walk to go up 6-2.

The Jays left the bases loaded in the seventh after RBI singles by McCulloch and Josh Burke made the score 6-4.

With the Knights win, that set up the Sunday semi-final between Noel Road and Sherose Island.

To view a slideshow of photos from Day 1, check out: NSIBL championship final in Windsor expected to be an exciting one

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