They did it with a core group of players that had been together since Rookie Ball. At the Ontario Playdowns at St. Thomas in 2019 the Cubs outlasted a field of 22 teams and defeated Brampton in the finals to earn their ticket to the Nationals in Repentigny, Quebec. Just getting out of the Ontario playdowns was, arquably, their biggest challenge of the season; compelled to play eight games in four days, the Cubs began their grueling journey to the Canadian championships with victories over Milton, Whitby, and perennial nemesis—Brampton—in the finals. Not only did the Cubs receive the ‘Ontario 1’ title but also a $15,000 stipend from Basenal Ontaro to offset the cost of travel and uniforms.
“The boys just had a never-quit mentality, which was typical of our guys,” said coach Dube. “We were always, on average, the smallest team on the field. but we were just gritty. hard-working and alwavs plaved for each other.”
In Repentiqny, Quebec, at the National Championships, the Cubs reeled offt pool play victories against Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and host Repentigny before defeating P.E.I. in the semi-finals. This created a rematch with Repentigny for the title. Cubs long-time ace Mark Rogers was dominant on the mound, throwing a complete game 4-2 victory using less than 85 pitches while striking out 13 opposing batters.
Dube said they were truly a team, something that distinguished them from others. “That was the reason for their success. They were truly a team that cared about each other, that played for one another. It was never about the individual.” The coaches had instilled this concept since Rookie Ball, a trait that both the players and parents embodied. The team had their eye on a national championship for the previous couple of years, but one of their coaches, Brian Cole, had planned to retire. “We were able to keep Brian involved as a non-parent volunteer,” said Dube, “to make a run for the Nationals.”
Though permitted to draft up to six players to make their run at the Nationals, they opted for only two. “That’s all we needed.”
While other provincial teams were comprised of all-star players, the Cubs were a Cambridge team. “With the same core group of Cambridge players since rookie ball, we were a community team.”
Aside from the fabled Terriers of the Senior Intercounty league, Cambridge has only won four AAA provincial ball championships in its history, and this group of players have been responsible for three of them, not to mention being the only Cambridge team to win a national title.