The Wayside Press Savage Bulls charged down silver in Thompson-Okanagan Bantam A minor baseball playoff action last weekend.
The Bulls went into the final on an emotional high after a semifinal thriller, but fell 14-2 to Salmon Arm in the championship game.
“We burned up our pitchers in the semifinal game. The team was physically and emotionally drained but they gave it their all, even though they had nothing left in the tank,” said head coach Terry Chudyk.
To make it to the gold-medal game, the Bulls pulled off a comeback of epic proportions, rallying from an 11-2 deficit to clip Rutland 14-13 in extra innings.
Jeff Hiscoe, Brenden Zupp, Tyler Lacktin-Doyle and Kristian Currie were strong on the bats. Chris Boring and Alexi Schwartz did some excellent base running while stealing second and third.
Mark Trznadel and Dylan Cleland demonstrated some keen defensive plays in the field, and Keenan Joly and Garner Chudyk were strong as catchers.
Clayton Bateman showed his capable arm pitching and Dylan Emmons was rock-steady in the shutdown role, not allowing a run in the final three innings.
The Bulls finished the season with an impressive 17-2 record.
Chudyk thanked the coaches and parents for their hard work and support.
Meanwhile, the Vernon Canadians took a step up in competition when they battled in the Sussex Insurance Mosquito AAA All-Star Tournament last weekend at McArthur Island Sports Complex in Kamloops.
As the youngest group in the tournament (eight- and nine-year-olds playing against mainly 10-year-olds) the Canadians showed ability, skill and determination over four weekend losses to the Kamloops River Dogs, Spruce Grove Sox, St. Albert Cardinals and Prince George Knights.
Landen Harison, Eric Foufoulas, Hayden Lewis, Jacob Green, Maguire Lauridsen, Stevie Schols, Ryan Gamage, Kamrin Lubbers, Carter Morris, Chase Batchelor and Caden Colmorgen all had turns at the mound.
The weekend was highlighted by some great fielding and base running, but run production proved to be the team’s major challenge.
Game MVP honours went to Lauridsen, Colmorgen, Foufoulas and Batchelor.
The Canadians’ next games are Saturday at Edith Gay Park in Rutland and Sunday at Lakeview Park.
The more seasoned Vernon AAA Canadians fared a little better at the eight-team Kamloops tourney, placing fourth overall.
Vernon opened with a tight 9-8 loss to Sherwood Park on Canada Day.
Shaughnessy Barker made a highlight running catch in left field to keep the game close. The MVP for Vernon was Jaden Parsons.
Vernon rebounded with a 10-4 win over West Kelowna Saturday morning.
Strong hitting from Dawson Chase, Caden Doyle and Jared Leroux kept the West Kelowna fielders on the their toes. Parsons pitched three scoreless innings to preserve the victory.
Chase, with his strong hitting and stellar defensive play, was named the MVP.
Vernon ended the round-robin at 2-1 with a 9-1 win over Prince George.
Trailing 1-0 after three innings, the Vernon bats came alive in the fourth with five runs to take a 5-1 lead. Game MVP Kelvin Blaser tossed three scoreless innings to secure the win.
Leroux took MVP honours as Vernon bowed to Spruce Grove in their Sunday semifinal.
They settled for fourth after they fell to St. Albert in the bronze-medal game later that day.
The Canadians got solid pitching from Game MVP Nicholas Cherkowski, Shelby Porteous and Zac Orchard, but the offensive power of St. Albert proved too strong.
Issac Olson and Ethan Eisenhaur were the other members of the team who played some great baseball this weekend.
The AAA Canadians will battle in the Valley of the Champions, July 15-17 in Kelowna.