They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. So when the Soo Junior Black Sox faced the u19 EUP Travellers on Tuesday, July 19th, it is easy to see why the local club wanted to put on a strong showing; EUP has done so the entire season.
Crossing the river to face EUP on their home turf (Jessie James Field in Soo Michigan), the Sox turned to starting pitcher Colton Read. Read, making his first start since returning from the disabled list, relied heavily on an up-tempo approach against the opposing hitters. By throwing a high percentage of first pitch strikes, Read allowed an emerging Sox defense to lend a hand throughout the game.
The u19 Travellers took a different approach in the pitching department, rotating five separate arms throughout the contest. This barrage of changing pitchers, which included the likes of James Burton, Travis Myers, Logan Bailey, Nick LaCross, and Connor Myers, was able to neutralize the Sox hitters over the course of play.
After falling behind 4-0, the Black Sox found a defensive rhythm in the 3rd inning, led by rookie outfielder Erik Paradis. With one man on base and no one out, EUP’s Travis Myers smoked a line drive down the left field line. Without hesitation, Paradis broke towards the ball before making an acrobatic diving catch-and-roll to save a run, while denying a possible extra base hit.
Erik added to his strong defensive effort by slamming an off-speed pitch ‘the other way’ earlier in the ball game. He finished the night 1-for-3 with five conversions on fly balls, including his play-of-the-season candidate grab.
When asked about his effort, Paradis humbly declined talking about his own play, choosing to praise fellow teammates instead. “Even though our bats were silent, we played one of our best games defensively this year. Colton did a great job keeping us in the game- he gave us a chance to win.”
Sadly for the local club, this was not enough to secure a victory. The u19 EUP Travellers captured the victory, with a final score of 4-0. Read went 6 innings of work, scattering 6 hits while striking out 4.
This was the closest the Sox have come to cracking u19 EUP’s tough shell all season. In their first meeting, EUP cruised to a thunderous 26-1 victory over the Soo. However, each match between the two teams have led to closer and closer competitions. In just 6 short weeks, this Black Sox club has reduced the run differential between both clubs by an astonishing 20 total runs. This is a great indicator of the overall work ethic and perseverance of the players and coaching staff of the Sox.
EUP followed up their 4-0 victory over the Sox with an 8-0 win over Mount Pleasant two short days later. Lefty Connor Myers picked up the win, going 8 strong innings of work.
The u19 Travellers and Soo Black Sox will conclude their season series on Tuesday, July 26th in Soo Michigan.