Pennant Race Could Come Down To Sunday

by Neil Srivastava

Photo Credits - Cleveland Brownlee (by Matt Hiscox)  Justin Gideon (By RJ Rose) and Claudio Custodio (by Gar Fitzgerald)

First Place in the Intercounty Baseball League could take till Sunday afternoon to be decided, so be prepared to do some scoreboard watching where ever you are this week.   The London Majors head into action with a one-and-a-half-game lead in the standings over the Welland Jackfish and two over the Guelph Royals.

Here’s a look at the remaining games for each of the contenders for the IBL Pennant

London Majors 30-10  (2 Games Remaining vs. Guelph Friday, at Toronto Sunday)
For the London Majors, the path to the pennant is simple,  win both remaining games on their schedule.  Easier said than done with that said as their opponents this week are the Guelph Royals at home Friday night and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday at Christie Pits.      

Friday night is looking like a pitching match-up of Jose Arias (10-1 1.65 ERA ) for the Majors and Claudio Custodio   ( 10-0. 2.35 ERA) for the visitors from the Royal City.   A win by the Majors Friday would clinch a tie for first at least.  A loss will open the door for either Welland or both Guelph to finish in a tie for first in the league should either or both teams win their remaining games.  

Welland Jackfish  28-11  (3 Games Remaining vs. Hamilton Thursday, vs. Barrie Saturday, at Hamilton Sunday)
Welland would need some help to overtake the London Majors for first place in this final week of the regular season and win all three of their games to finish at 31-11. The Majors would have to lose one of their two remaining games to force a one-game playoff vs. the Jackfish.   The Majors lose both games and if the Jackfish take all three there would be a pennant in the Rose City.

Guelph Royals 27-11 (4 Games Remaining at Brantford  Wednesday, at London Friday,  vs. Brantford Saturday, at Kitchener Sunday)

The Royals have the most daunting task of the top three teams in the league in order to force a one-game playoff for first place.   They have to win all four games this week.   Yes, three out of the four games are against a below .500 opponent but they have to win 3 away from Hastings Stadium which to this point the Royals haven’t done consistently and are currently 9-9 on the road this season.

All three teams could potentially finish the regular season with a 31-11 record  which would cause a three-way tie for first place and would mean  one and potentially more playoff games to determine the pennant winner

From the IBL website the tie-breaker format is as follows:

FIRST PLACE - Where two teams are tied for first place, the team winning the division title will be decided by a sudden death game or games if more than two teams are tied.

The site for the sudden death game will be decided by comparing won and lost records against each other or if necessary, comparing runs for and against between the teams involved. If a tie still exists then a coin toss will establish home field.

Current Season Series Records

London and Welland split their season series 3-3
Guelph took their series with Welland 4-2
London holds  a 3-2 series lead over Guelph with one game to play Friday in London at 7:30 pm