Underdog Fat Cats prepare for league finals
Their name may imply riches, but it's up to the players on the Ottawa Fat Cats to work normal jobs as they prepare for the Intercounty Baseball League finals.
The semi-pro, unpaid players may have to rake the dirt at the Ottawa Baseball Stadium themselves before practice, but they've also been raking in the wins as they make a surprising run through the playoffs.
"We're pretty proud of ourselves right now; last year didn't make the playoffs, this year we've won two rounds," said second baseman Chris Latimer. "(We're) very happy where we're at right now."
The Fat Cats finished the regular season with 16 wins and 18 losses, sixth in the eight-team league and nine and a half games behind the league-leading Barrie Baycats.
It was an upset for them to beat the London Majors in the first round, but a four-game sweep of Barrie in the semi-finals was a real surprise, punctuated by an 8-5 win at home in the clinching game.
Their work on that same field is paying off in the stands.
"We've doubled attendance since last year," said Fat Cats catcher Rick Howroyd. "(We) appreciate the fans coming out, like playing with them here."
There are plenty of ways for fans to find the team entertaining besides their baseball skills, including a left fielder that shows his musical side on the field.
"I sing sometimes to relax, when it gets too tense," said Ladale Hayes, who leads the team with four doubles and ten RBI. "It's peace out here."
Ottawa is taking on the fourth-place Brantford Red Sox in the finals, who they beat twice and lost to three times in the regular season.
"We've played Brantford pretty much all year, I'm not scared to play them," said infielder Mark Charette. "That's a team you want to play there, they've won the last 3, and I think we can beat them."
The first two games of the series are Saturday and Sunday in Brantford. Ottawa will play Games 3 and 4 at home – Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. and Sept. 4 at 2 p.m.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Claudia Cautillo