IBL Power Rankings: Week 12
By Chris Lazar
With only three weeks remaining in the 2023 IBL regular season and with the playoffs are right around the corner, teams are jostling for playoff seeding and trying to secure the best path to hoisting the Jack and Lynne Dominico Trophy. Let’s look at where each team stands on the first day of August.
#8. Brantford Red Sox (6-26, Previous Week: 8)
Losers of three straight, the Red Sox offense has slowed down over the past week, scoring only 10 runs over their last three games. They were in a tight battle in Kitchener on Thursday until the Panthers pulled away late, before getting stomped by the Barrie Baycats on Sunday. For Brantford the goal at this point is to hit double digits in wins, and they only have 10 games left to do so.
#7. Hamilton Cardinals (15-17, Previous Week: 5)
Things have quickly gone downhill for the Cardinals after a very strong start, as they have lost eight of their last ten games and are under .500 for the first time all season. Tensions boiled over Sunday afternoon at Christie Pits when benches cleared as the game ended after a spirited affair with the Toronto Maple Leafs, a potential playoff opponent. Maybe that sparks the team to go on a run in August, because things aren’t looking quite as bright as they used to in the hammer.
#6. London Majors (10-20, Previous Week: 7)
A gruelling weekend yielded outstanding results for London all things considered, as they took two out of three against the top three teams in the standings, including snapping the Welland Jackfish 10 game win streak. Owen Boon continues to build on a stellar season with a great outing on Friday, but Eduardo De Oleo was the star of the weekend after hitting four (!!) home runs on Sunday in Kitchener. Despite a tough loss to the Guelph Royals last night, the Majors have to feel good about where they’re at.
#5. Guelph Royals (14-19, Previous Week: 6)
The return of Claudio Custodio has clearly energized a Guelph team that desperately needed a boost. After announcing his signing, the Royals racked off three wins in their last four games, with their one loss being Saturday in Barrie where they had such little pitching that Darius Barlas (yes, the infielder) had to pitch in a fairly close game. The best part? Custodio looked just as good as last year, allowing one unearned run and two hits while striking out 10 in his debut. Nobody wants to see that guy come playoff time.
#4. Kitchener Panthers (20-13, Previous Week: 3)
After a busy four games in six days stretch, the Panthers found themselves on the wrong side of a couple of lopsided scorelines. They defeated Brantford and Hamilton to kick off the weekend before getting blown out in back-to-back home games by London and Toronto. Having allowed 32 runs in those two games, the pitching staff took a step back after a solid couple of weeks. Nothing to be overly concerned about, but a couple of more outings like that and there will be.
#3. Toronto Maple Leafs (16-14, Previous Week: 4)
The Leafs haven’t played much over the last couple of weeks, but they have played well recently winning three straight contests, including a very impressive victory last night against the Kitchener Panthers. Their offense has picked back up and with a few make-up games soon, they will have a chance to get into a good rhythm heading into the playoffs. This is about the time of year when Toronto starts to really take things seriously and turn it up a notch, and that appears to be happening again this season.
#2. Barrie Baycats (21-10, Previous Week: 2)
It’s no secret that Barrie wants home field advantage as long as possible during the playoffs, and they are doing a good job of securing that after winning five of their last six games and three in a row. The Baycats have their eyes on bigger things than second in the standings however, as they firmly believe they can win the championship this year. Based on their play thus far and how they’ve played the top teams, they have good reason to feel that way.
#1. Welland Jackfish (24-6, Previous Week: 1)
Despite having their 10 game winning streak snapped, Welland is still the team to beat, and barring a late season collapse that will remain the case until the postseason begins. If there is one cause for concern though, it’s that they haven’t performed well in games against some of the top pitchers in the league. They are 0-4 in their last four games against Frank Garces and Owen Boon. The Jackfish have the most depth in the league but come playoff team they will have to beat other teams’ best arms, the one thing they’ve had a tough time with this year.