The Vernon Canadians appear primed for the B.C. Bantam AA Baseball Championships starting Friday in Burnaby.
The C’s lost to Prince George in Sunday’s semifinal and fell to Central Okanagan Sun Devils in the bronze-medal game at the Kelowna Bantam AA Baseball Tournament of Champions, finishing at 3-0-1 in preliminary play.
Vernon opens the provincials Friday against the Cowichan Valley Mustangs at 3 p.m. and then take on the Ladner Red Sox Saturday and go up against Ridge Meadows #1 and Prince George Knights Sunday.
Colby Geiger was given MVP for his consistent effort and hustle in the bronze game, while Ryan Gamage took MVP in recognition for his defence and strong batting all weekend.
The Canadians ambushed Vancouver 10-1 Saturday night with Gamage pitching all six innings almost hitting for the cycle with a single, double and a 300-foot bomb over the left center fence.
Fortems went 3-for-4 with three RBI, while Geiger, who wears No. 11, came up with a true Kevin Pillar-style diving catch in left field for the highlight of the game. Cole Hutchison was game MVP for a gritty performance behind the plate.
The C’s mercied the Sun Devils 13-3 in five innings Sunday with Sapion Joe striking out six while going the distance as Vernon exploded for nine runs in the top of the 4th. Shortstop Ben Fortems was named MVP with dynamite defence while going 2-for-2 with a walk and three ribbies. Matthew Hansen was 2-for-4 with three RBI.
The Canadians outlasted the West Kelowna Diamondbacks 13-12 in their opener with Hayden Lewis supplying two walks, two hits and four runs.
Hansen rang up four ribbies on two singles and a double.
Dalton Stenberg singled and doubled and Nakoda Parker smacked a two-run dinger in the third. The play of the game belonged to MVP Joe, who blasted a grand slam over the left field fence at Edith Gay Park, capping a seven-run second. Liam Alstad came up with some impressive stretches at first base while registering nine outs.
Later on Friday, the C’s tied 5-5 with the Mission Twins, who were ranked third out of the Lower Mainland league. MVP Matthew Hansen pitched six strong innings without giving up a walk, and got dynamite defence from Fortems at short, Hayden Lewis at second and Nolan Stein in right field.
The U13 Vernon Canadians went 0-4 at its Vernon Invitational Tournament which featured teams from all over the province competing at Coldstream’s Creekside Park.
“All of the out of town teams had lots of fun playing here, and they said they hope to bring their families back to our beautiful city for a vacation sometime soon,” said tournament spokesperson Neil Thompson.
The Cs grew a lot as a team over the weekend, facing competition that is at a much higher level for the first time. This helped the Vernon kids to see how some of the best kids in the U13 division in B.C. play.
Game MVPs for the Canadians were Jameson Love, Cooper Hanson, Jace Weir and Nathan Thompson.
Campbell River Tyees topped the Kamloops Riverdogs 11-1 in Sunday’s championship. The Tsawwassen A’s beat North Langley Trappers to claim the bronze medal.
Other members of the Canadians included Levi Orchard, Nicholas Hawthorne, Tye Gore, Carter Scott, Brendan Halcro, Devin Jameson, Kassidy Schaper-Kotter, Tyson Stevens and Jackson Fedirchuk.
The Vernon Canadians U9 lost 10-0 to the Penticton Thunder and 7-6 to the Kelowna Sun Devils in a Tadpole doubleheader Saturday at Lombardy Park in Kelowna.
Even with strong days at the plate by Tyson Wicklund, who finished 2-2 with a double, and Luc Gilbert who went 1-for-2, the C’s could not keep up with the prolific Thunder offence.
Micah Davyduke threw a clean second inning by striking out three for Vernon. A fifth-inning rally sparked by Vernon’s Reehan Bradshaw and Tyson MacLeod was quickly snuffed out.
In Game 2, Vernon got stellar pitching from Luc Gilbert, Everett Brown, and Drew Christensen.
Vernon put up four runs in the top of the fourth with RBI-singles by Turner Hayward and Bradshaw. Defensive gems by Vernon’s Devon Gregoire-Gabriel put an end to a Kelowna rally.
Devin Sorensen led off Vernon’s fifth with a solid single but Kelowna shut down the threat.
With one out and a man on second, Kelsen Podworny drove in the winning run to right field