Tillsonburg Otters BDA Insurance mosquito rep baseball team has been consistent this summer.
Playing in the seven-team Southern Counties mosquito league, they finished 17-1, their only SCBA loss coming June 13th in Langton.
Last weekend, August 26-28, the Otters won the 2016 SCBA championship in Delhi. The regular season leaders had a first-round bye while the six other teams began the playoff tournament Friday night.
"Saturday morning we started off with Ingersoll Majors," said BDA Insurance coach Bob Evans.
Tillsonburg won their opener by mercy (10 or more run lead after five innings), then defeated Norfolk Saturday afternoon, again by mercy.
The Otters, ages 9-11, eliminated Ingersoll Minors in Sunday morning's semifinal, then claimed the championship with a win over Norfolk, both in five innings.
"We've won two tournaments this year," noted Evans. "The Simcoe Major A tournament a few weeks ago, and we won the Southwest Invitational in London (Aug. 5-7). There were 20 teams in that tournament.
"It's pretty been cool, the support we get from our sponsor, Burns Demeyere," said Evans. "They've contacted us every time we've posted tournament wins and they share the photos on their site. They've been pretty involved."
Tillsonburg had two mosquito teams in Southern Counties this year.
"We didn't go major-minor like other centres did," noted Evans, who had first choice of players in the spring, with 6-7 players coming from his 2015 mosquitoes. "Last year I had AE team."
The rep team's season wraps up this weekend at the OBA C tournament in Essex.
"We didn't do well at OBAs last year but this year we have high hopes. Our pitching is what's going to get us through."
Tillsonburg Dental rookie reps are also playing an OBA C in Essex County this weekend in Kingsville, a few kilometres south of Essex, and the two Otters rep teams are sharing a motel.
"Pitching will be our big strength going in there," said Evans. "You need depth in pitching. In our tournament wins, we had every single player pitch at least an inning. We've really worked on the pitching this year. It's going to get us far in that tournament, for sure. Especially now with the pitch counts."
At the mosquito level, players can throw 70 pitches in one day, then require two 'sleeps' before they pitch again.
"You can shut a pitcher down at 45 or less, and they only require one night sleep to be reset."
OBA rules also limit pitchers and catchers - they can't play both position in the same game.
"So when it comes to tournaments you really have to think ahead with your pitching, because at OBAs you could play up to four games in one day on the final day."
In both tournament wins, Tillsonburg went into the Sunday games with every single player eligible to pitch.
"The kids do phenomenal. I can shut kids down at 40 pitches, and bring another one in and pitch him 40... and the next day they're ready to go again. We have 13 kids on the team and every single one of them has been on the pitching mound this year."
The BDA Insurance mosquitoes also played a 'quarter' season (seven games) in the London DBA league.
"We didn't know this team would be what it was," Evans admitted. "We didn't want to do a full London loop - you can do a quarter schedule, half schedule, or full schedule. So we did a full Southern Counties loop, and a quarter London league. We played seven games and went 5-2. So we did well."
Had they known the team would do so well, he said they might have considered a full London season. But 8 p.m. games in Sarnia for 10-year-olds was not desirable.