2003 Guelph AAA Royals Midget Baseball Team

Team photo of the 2003 AAA Royals baseball team

Back row: Gord MacLeod (Coach), Scott Moccia, Nick Stahl, Mike Walker, Jason Muller, Craig Fairfull, Mark Allen, Dan Coates, Kyle Langille, Rich Moccia (Head Coach & GM), Randy Mitter (Coach)

Front row: John Sutherland, Bryan Shantz, Mike Lunn, Aaron Artuso, Will Mitter, Adam Roosenboom, Justin Metz, Mike McDonald

The 2003 Guelph Royals midget AAA baseball team is a wonderful story of determination and teamwork that exemplifies what can be accomplished when sharing a common goal. What made this team special was that all players were local products, while most of their competitors had turned to recruiting players from across the province. So from the get go the Royals were underdogs.

They finished the regular season in the Inter County Baseball Association in second place with a 13-6 record. In the early August playdowns to determine Ontario’s representative at the Nationals, the upstart Royals went 5-2 losing only to the highly favoured London Badgers, but it wouldn’t be the last time they faced the Badgers for a title.

In the Ontario Baseball Association playoffs at the end of summer, Guelph once again entered the tournament as long shots, but they never doubted their ability to win. They defeated Hamilton, Oshawa, Leaside and the rival Badgers, with almost all games being extremely close, to secure a spot in the final game. Their opponent once again in this double knockout event would be London. Heading into the final inning, bottom of the seventh, Guelph trailed the Badgers 4-2, with only three outs to burn. But a leadoff double, and two walks loaded the bases. Kyle Langille came to the plate with the game in his hands and delivered a rope to right-centre field that plated all three runs in walk off fashion. A wild celebration ensued as the upstart Royals had won Guelph it’s only Major Midget AAA provincial championship since 1954 (when they began keeping records).

“This was a very special group of young men with strong character and heart,” said Rich Moccia, the team’s general manager and head coach.

Overall, including tournaments and various playoff games, the Royals record was an impressive 39-15. Six players from this squad would go on to win the Canadian Junior Baseball Championship in 2006 as members of the Guelph Silvercreeks, a team that has already been inducted into the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame.

Inducted into the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame – Team category – on May 16, 2018