Costello dominant in fastball playoff opener for Micksburg Twins
The Micksburg Twins began defence of their Greater Ottawa Men’s Fastball League Championship with a 3-0 win over 14C Victory from Manotick. Corey Costello tossed a complete game, giving up only one hit and striking out 16 batters as the Twins took a 1-0 lead in the best of three quarter-final series. Game two will be played in Carp on Thursday night at 8 p.m.
Costello started strong by fanning the first five batters he faced and picked up all of the offence he would need in the bottom of the first inning. Veteran first baseman, Jamey Mick, blasted a towering solo home run over the right-field fence off of Manotick starter Neil Cooke to open the scoring.
The closest the visitors would come to scoring a run on Costello would be in the third inning when they used small ball to advance a runner to third. The number nine hitter, Matt MacDonald, hit a squibbler off the end of his bat and ran it out for an infield single. It would be the only hit of the game for the Manotick squad. MacDonald then stole second base and made it to third on a wild pitch, before Costello shut the inning down with two consecutive strikeouts.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Micksburg loaded the bases with nobody out, but failed to score when Cooke struck out Kyle Jackson, and Scott Conroy lined to the third baseman who completed a double play by tagging the runner at third.
In the fifth inning the Twins would break through for another run to take a 2-0 lead. Matt McIntyre led off the inning with a double, and after Cooke struck out Andrew McIntyre, Mick ripped a hard single into centre field to plate the second Twins run of the game. Consecutive walks loaded the bases, but again Cooke worked out of the jam by getting Kyle Jackson to ground out to first base.
The Twins got an insurance run in the sixth inning when Quinton Rook was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a throwing error by the centre fielder who tried to pick him off at first base after catching a fly ball. That error would prove costly as the next batter, Andrew McIntyre, singled to drive in Rook, giving the Twins a 3-0 lead.
Costello finished his gem by retiring the side in order in the seventh inning with three more strikeouts. The only blemish on his masterful performance was that 30-foot infield chopper in the third inning that spoiled his no-hit bid.
Micksburg finished second in the regular season, behind West Carleton Electric. The Fitzroy Harbor based team received a bye in the first round of the playoffs, while the other six league teams are playing a best of three opening round playoff series. 14C Victory finished last in the league, but gave the Twins all they could handle in the first game of the series.
The Twins have won the league championship twice in the last four years. The winners of the opening match-ups in the post season will join the top seed to play a double knockout mid-week tournament to determine the league champion.