MIDLAND, MI – Ward Gosse doesn’t blow the ball by hitters – not that he’s slow by any means. But his location, his movement, his pitches – the drop, rise and change? Superb.
With all his pitches working, Gosse fired a two-hitter in leading the Parry Island Hawks of Parry Island North Ontario to a 1-0 victory over the Aurora (IL) Dolan and Murphy Shamrocks in the championship game of the ISC II Tournament of Champions, Thursday.
“Being a part of this is great,” said Gosse, a veteran of several ISC World Tournaments and Canadian championships. “We had a great run, and the competition in the semifinals and the final was really good. It was a tough final.”
But Gosse was more than up to the task. Through five innings he was working on a perfect game. But Greg Punke put an end to that. But not by much. His swinging bunt hugged the third base line, staying fair, allowing Punke to reach first safely. He advanced to third base on a sacrifice and passed ball.
But that’s as far as he got.
Gosse reached back and struck out the next two batters. He blazed a hard drop by a swinging Mike Marrero, and then caught lefthander T.J. Chase looking with another well-placed drop ball on the outside corner to retire the side.
McCLEARY HOME SAFELY
The Hawks finally gave Gosse the only run he would need in the sixth. But it came tainted. Joe McCleary reached first on an error and eventually scored when Aurora pitcher Ales Jetmar fielded a chopper by Brad Matheson and threw wildly past third base trying to get McCleary sliding into the bag. The errant throw allowed McCleary to race home with the game’s winning run.
In the seventh, Aurora mounted a threat when P.J. McKinney led off with a single to leftfield. But Gosse struck out Valdemar Terkelsen swinging over an outside drop ball; coaxed Dave Schuett into a pop up, and ended the game by striking out right-side hitting Mike Drew swinging over the top of another hard-breaking drop on the outside corner.
DOUBLE AWARD WINNER
After the game the ISC II presentations of the Gord Newman Memorial Championship Trophy to Parry Island and individual awards took place. And it wasn’t a big surprise that Gosse received both of the tournaments most prestigious awards: The Most Outstanding Pitcher and the Most Valuable Player awards.
“He pitched amazing,” said ISC II Vice President, Joe Todd, who helped present the awards. “He has pitched his heart out since the ISC II started on Monday.”
Pitched amazing? Indeed.
The Hawks won four games leading up to the championship, and Gosse won three of them. One of those a 2-0 win over Aurora in an earlier round game in which he fired a two-hitter and struck out 10.
When all said and done, he finished with a 4-0 record and 0.035 ERA in 28.2 innings. He allowed one earned run, 10 hits and nine walks, along with 43 strikeouts.
The Hawks also got a big game from Frank Cox, who beat a tough Lanceros De Vargas (Venezuela) 2-1. In seven innings, Cox gave up the one run on four hits and struck out 13.
Gosse also swings a pretty good bat. In the championship game, he was 2-for-3, McCleary 1-2, run scored, and Matt Greer 1-2. For Aurora, Punke and P.J. McKinney had the two hits off Gosse.
JETMAR TWIRLS A GEM
As for Aurora’s pitching, Jetmar (3-1) battled Gosse even throughout the game. The tall right-hander from the Czech Republic allowed just four hits, two walks and struck out five.
The win was especially sweet for Parry Island manager Derek Pinkerton. He said that North Ontario finally got some well-deserved credit for playing good fastball.
“We’re a first year team and we wanted to play hard and let the chips fall where they may,” he said. “North Ontario has been an afterthought for (fastball) for a long time. I want to thank everyone involved with our team that made this possible.”