Micksburg Twins earn first-round bye in Greater Ottawa Men's Fastball League playoffs
Dave Baird of the Ottawa Valley As slides past Micksburg Twins catcher Chad Costello in Greater Ottawa Fastball action earlier this season.
A three game winning streak to close the regular season has propelled the Micksburg Twins into first place in the Greater Ottawa Men's Fastball League standings, earning them a first round bye in the playoffs. However, the bye means the Twins may have to wait three weeks before seeing any post-season action.
The Twins recently capped their regular season with a double header sweep of the defending league champion, I4C Victory of Manotick, winning 9-0 and 3-1. Joran Graham picked up the win in the first game with Corey Costello going deep to lead the offence. It was surprisingly, Costello's first home run of the season.
In the nightcap, Costello pitched a gem as he out dueled Andrew Putnam, in a battle of two of the league's top pitchers. Costello went the distance, allowing only one hit and striking out 18 batters. Kyle Jackson sparked the offence with a home run as the Twins finished their regular season with 12 wins and five losses.
Twins veteran, Jamey Mick, says he's not worried about the team being rusty because of the anticipated long break between games.
"We have some older players who could use the rest and they know what it takes to win in the playoffs. They'll be ready to go when our playoffs begin," Mick said.
Under a new playoff format, the remaining six league teams will play an opening round best of five series with three teams advancing to a double-knockout tournament championship. The tournament games will be played during the week with the remaining two teams meeting for the championship on a Saturday in September. If Micksburg advances to the final game they will host it because of their first place finish in the regular season.
The Twins have lost in the league final for the past two years after winning the championship in 2013. If they are to win another title, they will need the pitching tandem of Corey Costello and Joran Graham to be at the top of their game.
"Fastball is a game that is centred on good pitching," says Mick. We have two of the best pitchers in the game and if they are both healthy, we will be in good shape in the playoffs," Mick said.
Costello saw limited action on the mound this season as he battled a nagging knee injury. His strong performance to close out the season is a good sign for the Twins. Graham has pitched a lot this year as he has played in two leagues and has also pitched in several tournaments.