A pair of Sarnia pitchers who have been best friends since their days at Northern Collegiate are back from the Ontario Baseball Association (OBA) Senior “C” Provincial tournament with championship rings on their fingers.
Andrew Goss and Mark Zylstra, both 29, were members of the Forest Dragons of the Western Counties Baseball Association, which captured the provincial title with a 6-1 record over the Labour Day weekend in Niagara Falls.
The Dragons beat Bolton in the title game.
Goss, a lefty, and Zylstra, a righthander, grew up playing SMAA baseball, as well as in the former Sarnia Hawks organization before taking their talents north.
Zylstra has played four seasons in Forest, while Goss has worn the Dragons uniform for the past two and a half seasons.
Perhaps the Dragons should have known they were meant to win the 11-team event after Zylstra tossed a no-hitter in the first game of the tournament.
It was the first no-hitter of his career, and was aided by a defensive gem in the middle innings by another Sarnian, Matt Moss.
“There was one game-saver for sure,” said Zylstra. “The first baseman made a diving stop on a ground ball and got the out at first.”
On top of solid pitching and defense, Goss says the Forest hitters came alive at the most opportune time.
“For the past month or so, we hadn’t really done a lot with the bats,” he said. “Then we just erupted during this tournament, with the exception of the one game that we lost,” Goss added.
He says the championship run will be lasting baseball memory.
“It was a special team to be a part of. We were a pretty close group of guys.”
Other players from Sarnia on the Forest roster included Brian Riedel, Andrew McCormack and Evan Chamberlain.