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Sudbury Voyageurs more than ready to do Battle for the Burgh

Tournaments like the Battle for the Burgh last weekend in Pittsburgh might well be far more about providing an opportunity for local baseball talent to showcase their wares before American schools and scouts - but winning is still way more fun than losing.

Both of the Sudbury Voyageurs teams did just that, with both the 18U and 16U lads working their way into their divisional gold medal encounters before settling for second place finishes, losing in their respective finals.

The depth of their pitching staff came in handy for the older northern Ontario crew, as five different starters took turns in the starring role through round robin play and into the playoffs.

Liam Socransky limited the Washington Renegades to just three hits and a solitary earned run, while Nova Scotia pick-up Nate Boutilier cleared the bases with a three-run double as the Voyageurs stopped the Renegades 10-1 in their opening contest.

Facing a squad of combined talent from northern Pennsylvania and Buffalo, Sudbury again looked strong in game two, upending the Northeast Twins 11-3 as Nolan O'Brien picked up the win with five innings of work, while Chris Benoit kept things equally clean in the sixth, coming on in relief.

It was a typical Joe Guzzo outing for manager Jean-Gilles Larocque in game three as the St Charles College workhorse threw 105 pitches over the course of six innings, surrendering two hits and just one earned run in a 7-3 Sudbury win over the Armstrong Grizzlies from Pittsburgh.

Carter Magee gave the Voyageurs the lead for good with a two-run single in the fourth, and was front and centre again in game four, scoring three times as Sudbury defeated the Mississauga Majors 11-5, with Justin Vaillancourt tossing a complete game.

Pitcher Josh MacNeil followed directly in his footsteps, touched up for just a single hit in a five-inning 8-0 shutout win over the Washington Renegades, with the Voyageurs defence doing their part, turning a pair of well-timed double plays.

A rematch with the Grizzlies awaited the locals, who dropped a 10-5 decision to Armstrong, despite an impressive performance at the plate from Caleb Cain-Plante, who belted three doubles and drove in three in a losing cause.

The 16U Voyageurs enjoyed even more thrills and spills along their route to silver medals, with each and every one of their final four games decided by a run or less.

The Sudbury reps were off and running early in Pittsburgh, knocking off both the TCT (Triple Crown Training) Kings from Coraopolis (Pennsylvania - 5-1) and the South Fayette Lions from McDonald (Pennsylvania - 10-4) in their first 24 hours abroad.

A 6-5 loss to the Diamond Dawgs Black 15U (Pittsburgh) only served to strengthen the resolve of the Voyageurs, who fought back to earn a 4-4 tie with Rogues Baseball, securing their spot in the semi-finals.

Trailing by three runs heading to the bottom of the seventh, coach Brodie Jeffrey and company would use a 7-6 walk-off win over the TCT Kings to catapult their way into the final, eventually beaten in an ultra-exciting match-up, 2-1, by the Steel City Dawgs.

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