Forman says Red Sox are focused on the prize

by Brantford Expositor

Originally appeared in Brantford Expositor August 8, 2013 by Brian Smiley

A little more than two years ago, the Brantford Red Sox were limping into the playoffs with a nine-game losing streak.

The Sox broke that streak with a win in their second to last game of the regular season and the rest is history. Brantford would go on to win its fourth straight Intercounty Baseball League championship in 2011 before winning a record-tying fifth last year.

This year's stumble to the finish line - three losses in the final four games - isn't nearly as troubling as the one in 2011.

"We didn't get to the point where we started to press (this season)," said catcher Wayne Forman, whose team opened the 2013 IBL best-of-seven quarter-final playoffs with a late game against the Guelph Royals at Arnold Anderson Stadium on Thursday.

"I think with the extended schedule this year, guys kind of lost focus. We had like 10 games left and we had secured first place.

"We've got an older team and those games took a toll on us mentally."

When the Red Sox championship streak comes to an end, many people will argue which team was the best ever during its recent run of excellence.

On paper, with the talent the 2013 team has, it would be hard to argue it isn't the best.

"This is by far the most talented team we've had since the run started in (2006)," Forman said.

"We've got pitching depth, we've got depth in the infield, we've got depth on the bench. We've got guys who just know how to go about the process of winning."

Great teams find ways to win when it matters. Brantford certainly did that in its final regular-season game on Tuesday at home against the Barrie Baycats.

Trailing 1-0 going into the bottom of the ninth inning, Terrell Alliman hit a two-run home run to not only win the game for the Red Sox but also snap that three-game losing streak and send the team into the playoffs on a high.

It's moments like that game-winning hit that a team can hold on to and carry into the playoffs.

"You mentioned the word momentum and that was the first time we really had any momentum in the last three or four games," the catcher said.

As for the team's first round opponents, Forman said despite the team's reversal of records - Brantford was first in the league at 33-9 while Guelph was eighth at 9-33 - the Sox know it takes 12 wins to capture a title.

"Clarkey always does a good job of saying one game at a time and win every inning," Forman said of manager Adam Clarke's philosophy.

"That's about all you can do in the game of baseball because anybody can beat anybody on any given day.

"I think in a best-of-seven series, we certainly have some advantage over Guelph in the first round but you never know what will happen. We could come out and kick the ball around, not hit or not pitch and all of a sudden Guelph has a chance."

This will more than likely be the final run for many of the team's players, Forman included.

"I played in the league when I was 16 with the London Majors and I would have never thought of winning a championship, let alone winning six championships," said the now 36-year-old.

"It almost becomes your social network. Some of the guys on the team are my best friends and life friends. It's hard to think what we're all going to do when this finally ends. Hopefully we'll all stay in touch but this has become a lot of our lives. We've moulded our lives around what goes on here in Brantford.

"(Owner) Paul's (Aucoin) been really supportive of that. When someone gets married, we're all at each other's weddings and we're mingling and hanging out in the off-season.

"It will be a sad day when some of the guys start to retire."