Fortuna optimistic about IBL team’s future
While they fell short of the .500 mark and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in five games, the field manager of the Hamilton Cardinals feels the 2013 campaign was a success compared to several previous seasons.
“It was a success in that we made significant improvements in the level of talent compared to the other teams in the league,” said Matt Fortuna.
Under the new ownership of Stoney Creek businessman Gary Molinaro, the Cards finished the regular season in sixth place with 16 wins and 26 losses with 11 of those losses by three runs of less.
That is a significant improvement over the 2012 squad that stumbled to a 6-30 last place record while contending with equipment shortages and other off-field issues.
Fortuna said all of the close losses give him reason to be optimistic.
“That tells me we’re one pitch or one player away from winning those games,” he said.
Unlike last season, Fortuna said going to the ball park this year was fun for the coaches and players and with another season of Intercounty Baseball League experience behind them, his mostly young squad should be competitive again next season.
“We’re really close (to being a contender),” said Fortuna, who would like to add another right-handed power hitter to the line-up and a couple more starting pitchers to give the rotation a little more depth.
The Cardinals season ended in Barrie last Thursday, when the Baycats overcame a 5-0 first inning deficit to win the game 10-5 and capture the best-of-seven quarter-final series in five games.
Barrie scored seven runs in the top of the 12th inning to beatHamilton 11-4 in game four.
The Baycats beat the Cards 10-3 in game three and 3-2 in game two.
Hamiltonwon the first game of the series 13-8 in Barrie.
IBL semi-final action sees the first place Brantford Red Sox meet fourth place Kitchener, while second place London takes on third place Barrie.