Home support for OBA championships will boost Quinte 16U Royals

The Quinte Royals are set to host two Ontario Baseball Association provincial championships Labour Day weekend, including for president Chris Lisle’s 16-and-under club.

Lisle has focused on coaching, though, and notes vice-president Chad Crawford, coach of the other host club – the 14U Royals – has been able to do the same thanks to a small, but hardworking volunteer committee led by Christine Lisle. Umpire-in-chief Bill Van Boxtel is doing a great job, as always, working with local umpires.

“They just wanted to get it out of our hands and they’ve done an amazing job of putting this together. They’re working away at making it the best experience for all 400 competitors that will be coming between the two divisions with gift bags and MVP awards,” said Chris Lisle, adding the support from the Quinte community has been tremendous.

Organizers also created an interactive public Facebook group for qualifying teams named  2023 14U/16U Ontario Baseball Championships. 

“Everybody will be able to share their journeys up to and through the OBA tournament,” Lisle said.

Quinte’s 16U Royals have had a strong journey to the OBA’s, compiling an overall record of 21-10 and 18-6 in Eastern Ontario Baseball Association league play.

They hosted the EOBA championships in August, but weren’t allowed to compete due to their automatic entry into the provincial tournament. 

Lisle said local baseball fans were treated to a great EOBA event with the Whitby Canadians crowned champs to join the Royals as the local representatives at the OBAs. The Kawartha Cubs – the lowest-seeded team – were the surprise of the EOBAs, opening the tournament with a lopsided 14-2 victory over Whitby and defeated No. 1 ranked Kendal twice before falling to Whitby in the final.

Lisle expects there to be more exciting ball when Quinte hosts the provincial showdown.

“We feel really good about our chances to compete,” he said. “As the EOBA tournament showed us anything can certainly happen, but we like our opportunity to compete and hopefully make some noise, especially at home. We have big crowds at Bayshore Field on Sundays for our doubleheaders. The boys, being 16, they’re noticing that. They love seeing the big crowds and hearing the cheers when they make a play or have a big hit. It’s going to be exciting.”

Games for the 16U tournament will be played at Bayshore Field in Trenton, Wellington Field of Dreams in Wellington with some overflow at Rotary Park in Belleville. Results of the opening matchups will determine where next games are played.

Lisle anticipates even bigger crowds for the OBA tournament.

“The Quinte region has gotten behind this team so well,” he said. “It’s not quite on a level of hockey, I’ll admit, but it’s nice to see when you get a group of young men making some noise in the sport they love and the locals come out to cheer them on and they’re wearing the Quinte Royals fan swag. It’s nice to see.”

Players for the 16U Royals are Mitch Sills, Oliver Brackenbury, Joaquim Murray, Cole Baird, Jakob Briscoe, Colin Stephens, CJ Kerslake, Bryce Mitchell, Colby Coe, Ben Demille, Marcus Forbes, Locklin Stewart, Christian Fonger and Nick Martin. Joining Lisle on the staff are Steve Sills, Peter Brackenbury and Tre Murray.

Lisle said depth at the pitching and catching positions has been important due to pitch count restrictions and rules in place where players can’t pitch and catch on the same day. Overall depth has enabled the team to make lineup changes as needed during games.

“The kids are receptive to it,” Lisle said, adding that while it may sound cliche, “they play for the name on the front, not the back. That makes it a joy to coach.”

Make no mistake, the 16U and 14U Royals aren’t content with just being the hosts. They want to compete for the OBA title. Lisle said there is a lot of belief in both teams, which is why the organization took on the monumental task of hosting two provincials at the same time.

“We feel we’re ready and just gotta go out and perform now, have fun and be the team they’ve been all year long,” Lisle remarked.

Follow Quinte Baseball’s website and Facebook and Instagram pages for results throughout the tournament. The 16U Royals open the tournament Friday, Sept. 1 at 10 a.m. against Seaway at Bayshore.

Other competing teams are Essex, North York, Milton, Markham, Hamilton, St. Catharines, Kitchener, Collingwood, Lucan-Ilderton and Whitby.

Check out the schedule and results when available at: quinteroyalsbaseball.com/quinteroyals/16UOBAScheduleandResults