They have their work cut out for them.
Brockville's Major A Braves (ages 11-12) have a tough chore ahead if they are to successfully defend their District 7 Little League title.
The Braves dropped a lopsided 13-3 decision to Cornwall in four innings at Brackinreid Park. With the loss, the team must win in Kemptville today (Saturday) if it is to secure another game with Cornwall for a chance to advance to provincials.
Friday night marked Brockville's first look at this year's Cornwall squad, and Braves coach Chris Servage said it represents a tough opponent.
“Whoever wins Saturday has got a tough road,” said Servage.
The Braves got into trouble early on Friday, as Cornwall hung up six runs in the to of the first inning to build a 6-0 lead.
The visitors added another run in the second and two in the top of the third to seize a commanding 9-0 lead.
Brockville managed to carve out a trio of runs in the bottom of the third to cut the deficit to 9-3, but it was close as the home side would get.
Despite the loss and having to play an elimination game on Saturday, Servage is pleased with the effort put forth by his undermanned squad this season.
Entering the year with only eight players in place, and only two returnees from last year's team, the Braves have faced considerable obstacles.
Servage notes his son, Jacob, was the lone returnee in Friday night's lineup, making for an inexperienced crew.
“We're a little green,” he the coach.
In contrast, said Servage, this year's Cornwall team is older and more experienced, with more returning players.
This, he noted, speaks to the cyclical nature of the baseball rivalry between the two cities, which seem to trade off for district supremacy on a year-over-year basis.
“It typically goes Brockville, then Cornwall,” he said. “This year, it's them.”
Servage said this year's Braves also played the year with a pair of players for whom it is the first season playing baseball.
Given all these factors, and how difficult it was to merely field a team this season, Servage is proud of his group.
“These guys have come a long way in three weeks,” he said.