C’s fall in B.C. semifinals

The Duncan River Rats stopped the Vernon Canadians 6-5 in Sunday morning’s semifinals of the B.C. Pee Wee AA Baseball Championships.

The Duncan River Rats stopped the Vernon Kal Tire Canadians 6-5  in Sunday morning’s semifinals of the B.C. Pee Wee AA Baseball Championships at Thompson Park in Port Coquitlam.

Vernon grounded the North Delta Blue Jays 5-1 Saturday afternoon to finish 3-1 in preliminary action at the 10-team tournament. Duncan defeated the Chilliwack Cougars 7-4 in Sunday’s final.

Carter Morris started on the mound against Duncan and went three innings before being relieved by Chase Batchelor, named the tournament’s Top Hitter.

Vernon faced Duncan fireballer Gavin Pringle, voted Top Pitcher of the tourney, but Vernon scratched out three runs in a tight, tension-filled classic.

“He’s (Pringle) a big kid, six-two and a first-year player,” said Kal Tire head coach Mark Batchelor. “He was throwing a bit of a curveball and a change-up, but mostly fastballs. He struck out 14 in six innings.”

In the second inning, Morris and game MVP Braden Beacom both singled and Morris later swiped home. In the fifth, Jack Janzen singled in Falcon Thomas, who had doubled.

All Vernon batters worked the counts hard to pile up the pitches against Pringle, leading to the critical sixth inning.

Nikoda Parker reached second base and Christopher McIntosh doubled in Parker to end Pringle’s day. Ryan Gamage, facing a two-strike count, greeted the River Cat reliever with a bomb over the left field fence to give Vernon the lead for the first time.

Vernon was one out away from heading to the finals, but Duncan prevailed by scoring one in the seventh to tie the game, and one in an extra inning, without Vernon responding.

The Saturday morning game was a must-win to get into the Sunday playoffs and the middle of the batting lineup came up big.

Batchelor had a single, a double and scored twice, while Morris supplied two doubles and two ribbies. Thomas, sporting new shoes, had a double and two RBI.

The Canadians’ defence continued their strong play continually snuffing out any potential come back. Pitching duties were shared by starter Batchelor, Morris and game MVP Gamage.

 

“The kids played awesome,” said Batchelor, assisted by Gus Morris and Colin Rafferty. “They (Duncan) got their winning run on a hit up the middle. We were one out away from reaching the final.”