The route to get to the playoffs wasn’t pretty, but the playoff performance made it seem like they’d been winning all summer long.
The JRJ Construction Orioles got hot on the bats in the playoffs, coupled with impressive pitching and smart play-making in the field, to claim the 2019 Prince George Senior Men’s Baseball (PGSBL) title last night (Sept. 3) against a team that only had four losses in the regular season.
The O’s defeated the Queensway Auto World Mariners on a 2-1 comeback victory that needed an eighth inning to decide the championship in front of over 50 people watching from the Citizen Field stands.
JRJ Construction Orioles repeat as #PGSBL champions, beating the Queensway Auto World Mariners 2-1 (8); Craig Langille gets the win 🐤🏆 | #CityOfPG @PGMatters pic.twitter.com/1iTi7wGwvT— Kyle Balzer (@KyleBalzer) September 4, 2019
JRJ Construction ended regular season play with an under-500 record at 8-12 in a tie for last place and after winning the first playoff game by forfeit, soared through to the final making little to no mistakes.
Craig Langille pitched a complete game Tuesday for his second win of the playoffs, both times coming against the M’s green and white, trusting his fastball to take care of business resulting in seven strikeouts.
“It was definitely a different transition that was from the regular season, but we were able to hold it together in the playoffs,” Langille told PrinceGeorgeMatters following the win, who also had a game-high four hits. “The difference was the errors, too many to count, and we didn’t have a lot in the postseason; it was a great defensive play. It’s always nice to have depth in pitching and typically, you’ll get the win in that way.”
He also was part of a critical play that helped the Orioles tie up the game.
With one out and down 1-0 in the top of the 7th inning, Langille stepped up to the plate, saw one pitch go by, cranked the next ball into right-centerfield for a triple, and put the tying run 70 feet away from home plate.
Paul Wilson, the next batter, flew out, opening the door for Jon Bourassa to put the ball into centerfield for the easy RBI single.
“I was just looking for something that was middle-out and I was hoping I could stay close and drive the ball away,” explained Langille about his strategy while at-bat. “I got a really good piece of it and hit it in the gap. It was probably the hardest ball I’ve hit this year and it felt great. It was also great that Jonny [Bourassa] came in and got me in to tie up the game too.”
Going to extras! With 2 on & 2 out, Orioles survive bottom 7th to keep the score tied at 1-1 through regulation play 🆚 Mariners | #CityOfPG #PGSBL @PGMatters pic.twitter.com/Nuci02bwVv— Kyle Balzer (@KyleBalzer) September 4, 2019
Orioles’ Cole Waldie got the eventual game-winning RBI that brought in Bryan Allbee from third base.
After giving up a single, Langille threw two no-look strikeouts and set up Kalen Kirkpatrick to make the season-ending fly-out and win the PGSBL trophy.
This is Langille’s third year with JRJ Construction’s team taking home the championship back-to-back in 2018 and 2019, and says there’s simply one reason why he’ll keep coming out to play for more years to come.
“The boys! They’re great guys. I was new to town, met a lot of great guys through this league and made a lot of great friendships, so I’ll keep coming out for that. Also, obviously, I still have a passion for the game and I like to stick around the field as long as I can.”
Tuesday’s game was scoreless through the first four-and-a-half innings before the M’s got on board first thanks to an RBI single by Curtis Sawchuk.
He brought in Matt Knight from second, clobbering a ball over the shortstop and taking the 1-0 lead.
First score of the 2019 #PGSBL Final belongs to the Mariners 🔱 Curtis Sawchuk swings an RBI single into left-centerfield to score Matt Knight from 2nd base for a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 5th ⚾️ | #CityOfPG @PGMatters pic.twitter.com/OnxqojMncs— Kyle Balzer (@KyleBalzer) September 4, 2019
While on the mound, Sawchuk allowed 12 hits and threw three strikeouts.
The Mariners went 16-4 during the season and were the top-seed coming into the postseason.
Their playoff record this year is 4-3 in the triple-knockout format.
The D.O.B. Contracting Gladiators, Prince George Surg Med Midget Knights, and the Inland Control and Services Tigers were eliminated respectively leading up to the championship game.