The Muskoka Cup, hosted by the Muskoka Hornets, has always been a tremendous draw for young baseball teams, says Hornets president, Peter Haynes. This year it took three weekends to accommodate games for the more than 50 teams from around the province.
The local players competing were from the Hornets’ five travel teams: Rookie U9, Mosquito U11, Peewee U13, Bantam U15 and Midget U18. The first four divisions played at the select level and the Midgets played AA which is a higher level of rep.
The Peewee and Rookie teams played in Huntsville while the Mosquitoes played in Bracebridge. The Bantam and Midget teams played in both Bracebridge and Huntsville, using the larger diamonds.
The U11 Mosquito Hornets was the one local team to win their division, the B Championships. They also competed in provincial qualifier games on August 16-18 at Peake Fields in Bracebridge, winning one and losing one and playing a third game as a rematch but could not secure the win.
The four other Muskoka teams placed near the top spots in the Muskoka Cup. The Midget team earned their way into the semi-final game of the tournament but was unable to pull out a win. This was their final game of their season as they could not qualify for provincials. The Rookie team also earned a spot in the semi-final game and played hard but lost. They earned a spot at provincials in their qualifying games, a huge accomplishment for the team.
Both the Peewee and Bantam teams pushed through the semis and made it into the finals for their divisions but could not secure the final wins. The Peewees also played two close games for qualifiers but lost which ends their season. Bantam Hornets Coach Gunnar Mullar said, “The Muskoka Cup was a great tournament for us and we went undefeated all the way to the final game on Sunday against a very strong and older team from Sudbury who beat us by a few runs. We had stellar pitching from our key starters, Winston Young, Mark Holm, Ethan Nixon, and Archer Westgarth; hard deep hits from Amrit Brown, Zack Patterson, and Jake Chilton; solid defence behind home plate from Aiden Courville, Dammon Harriss and Nolan Quesnelle; excellent infield support from Isaiah Nikiforuk, and Outfield hustle by Hannah Collett, and Jacob Patterson.” A win at the York Simcoe Baseball Association (YSBA) tournament secured their spot at the provincial championships on the Labour Day long weekend. (Watch for more on that story on Doppler soon.)
These summer tournaments wouldn’t be feasible without the passionate, committed and knowledgeable volunteer coaches and volunteer staff that give their time and effort to make everything run smoothly. These volunteers just want to give back to their community and the Hornets program is grateful for them.
The Muskoka Cup usually bring in more than $400,000 in economic benefits for restaurants, hotels and local shops. Haynes emphasized the importance of revitalizing the diamonds at McCulley-Robertson Recreation Park and the need for the development to continue so that when Huntsville hosts tournaments such as the Muskoka Cup for out-of-towners, they play in a quality facility that is safe and up to the standards that the visiting teams are used to in other regions in Ontario. There haven’t been any capital expenditures for the facility in the last 30 years, which is why the current cost of upgrades is so high.
“These events that promote our Hornets program and community are really important and valuable,” added Haynes.
All of the Muskoka Hornets Rep teams and house leaguers will be at Kerr Park on September 29 for the league’s end of the season celebration and awards ceremony.
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