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A renaissance for Hamilton Cardinals? Community ownership helps bring fans back to Bernie Arbour Stadium (Hamilton Mountain News)

A bit of a buzz returned to Bernie Arbour Stadium this summer.

After years of wallowing at or near the bottom of the Intercounty Baseball League, the Hamilton Cardinals finished the season with a more respectable 15-21 record, their best performance since 2007 when they won 16 games.

True, the team hasn’t seen .500 baseball in many years, but given what has gone on with the franchise in the last decade or two, it is an accomplishment.

What’s more, the Cards upset London in the first round of the playoffs.

It was their first postseason series win in ages.

But the momentum appears to have hit the centre field wall as the locals are down 3-0 to defending champion Barrie Baycats with game four slated for Bernie Arbour Stadium on Tuesday night.

Barrie is looking for their fifth straight IBL championship.

The success this season has been reflected at the gate.

“We’re seeing 150 to 200 people per game and they’re loud,” said Cardinals general manager Jeff Lounsbury who joined the team last winter for his third go-round with the team.

Lounsbury credits the turnaround to the community ownership that took over the franchise in February and saved the team from possibly folding.

“The Mercanti family spearheaded it and the Carmens Group and they led the Renaissance,” Lounsbury said. “The ownership group has done a great job of saving the team and putting some good baseball people that know the IBL in charge of the day-to-day operations.”

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