Troy Mutch and the Portage Phillies picked the right time of the season to get hot.
The Phillies mercied the Farmers of Plum Coulee in five innings in the Winnipeg Fastball League (WFL) finals to claim the league title Aug. 23 and finish the season on an incredible 8-0-1 tear.
The title is the Phillies' first since 2005. Plum Coulee had been the five-time defending league champions before the defeat.
Mutch has been a regular fixture on second base for the Phillies this season. The Neepawa resident scored the winning RBI in the bottom of the sixth inning in the A-side Finals against the Notre Dame Clubs to clinch a 5-4 win and a spot in the League Finals for the Phillies.
“There are some really good ball players in this league,” Mutch explained. “There are some guys that we've played against over the summer that get big bucks to play in the States. One guy who played in the playoffs is a pitcher for Team Canada.”
The WFL is a six-team league, and the league playoffs were double-knockout style.
This is Mutch's second year with the Phillies, but he's one of the veteran presences on the team, bringing with him 35 years of baseball experience including 11 years with the Neepawa Farmers and about four years with the Neepawa Cubs.
He's also played softball, but has gotten more involved with fastball in recent years because of the pace of the game.
“Fastball is a completely different game, everything is faster,” Mutch explained. “Everything comes at you a bit quicker because the mound is closer to home plate.”
Making the switch back to fastball in the past couple years has also brought Mutch back to his youth years, where he used to play the sport until he was about 16 years old.
“I remember, years ago, fastball used to be huge. There used to be tourneys all the time,” Mutch explained. “Now fastball's kind of a dying sport and it'd be good to build it up again.”
With his Phillies squad, Mutch has also been able to take part in some big competitions including the NAFA World Series in Des Moines, Iowa in mid-August. His team finished the series with a 3-3 record against some of the best fastball competition in North America.