Majors win 2nd straight IBL title

The London Majors celebrate their 2nd straight Intercounty Baseball League title. Photo by Matt Hiscox, Hiscox Photography.

For the second straight season, the London Majors are champions of the Intercounty Baseball League.

The Majors staged an improbable comeback in Game 6 of the IBL finals and defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 8-7 to win the championship at Christie Pits in Toronto. Down 7-3 going into the top of the 9th, the Majors scored 5 runs to take a lead that they would not relinquish in the bottom half of the inning.

The Maple Leafs were poised to send the series back to London for a deciding Game 7 at Labatt Park, but the Majors offence had other ideas.

Robert Mullen led off the inning with a single and was replaced by pinch runner Phil Whalen. But Whalen’s speed wasn’t necessary, as Byron Reichstein followed with a 2-run home run to make it 7-5.

Two singles, two walks, and two wild pitches later, the score was tied at 7. A sacrifice fly off the bat of Taylor Wright gave the Majors an 8-7 lead.

After Grant Tamane led off the bottom of the 9th with a walk, London manager Roop Chanderdat went back to the bullpen, replacing Bo Lewington with Fernando Fernandez. The move paid off, as Fernandez got Greg Carington to bounce into a double play and then struck out Jose Vinicio. That lowered Fernandez’s playoff earned run average to 1.30. Fernandez was named playoff MVP.

It’s the 14th time the Majors have won the Intercounty title. That’s the third most of any franchise in the league. Brantford has won it 15 times, while Stratford won the championship 16 times.