Morning Star Staff
The Vernon Canadians dusted off the Cloverdale Spurs 7-5 and 7-4 to open the B.C. Midget AAA Baseball League season Sunday at Hillcrest Park.
Tyler Wellman pitched a complete game, striking out four batters in the the second game. He allowed five runs with only one run being earned and picked off two runners.
Tyler Liefke was 1-for 2 with an RBI-double, two walks, two stolen bases and two runs.
Dylan Eckland was 1-for 2 with two walks and one stolen base, while Jarod Leroux hit home the go-ahead and eventual winning run.
In Game 1, Cory Anderson tossed six strong innings, giving up two earned runs while striking out three. Caden Doyle earned the save, fanning one over one inning. Doyle walked the lead-off batter and then picked him off at first.
Offensively, it was a total team effort as Brett Lambert, Noah Allyene, Wellman, Liefke and Leroux all drove in runs.
“We found ourselves trailing in both games at one point,” said Vernon coach Ken Liefke, assisted by Chris Wellman and Rick Leroux. “The difference between this year and last year is that this group of young men do not hang their heads and roll over when we are behind. They are a resilient group and never gave up.”
The Vernon Bantam AA Canadians started their season with a pair of home wins Sunday.
Vernon ambushed the West Kelowna Diamondbacks 8-1 behind a spectacular showing by Ryan Gamage, who mowed down 12 batters, conceded no runs and allowed only one hit through five innings.
Gamage helped his own cause with a triple and a walk.
It looked like the West Kelowna pitcher was going to match Gamage until Dalton Stenberg hit a hard single past second for the Canadians’ first hit of the game. After that, every player got on base with either a hit or a walk.
Liam Alstad was 2-for-3 with two stolen bases and five outs at first base. Matthew Hansen smacked a two-run triple in the fifth, while Ryan Vandesande also had two RBI.
Hayden Lewis, Nakoda Parker, Colby Geiger and Stenberg each chipped in with one ribbie, while Nolan Stein was 1-for-2 with a run.
Ben Fortems relieved Gamage in the sixth.
Hansen started the second game and struck out eight batters over 4 2/3 innings as Vernon outslugged the Penticton Tigers 13-6.
He helped his own cause with a single and two RBI. The Penticton relief pitchers struggled to find the strike zone and the Canadians showed good discipline at the plate receiving 10 walks.
Parker was dominant at the plate with three hits, scoring all three times. Cole Hutchison was stellar behind the plate for both games and cracked a two-run double as did Lewis.
Vandesande was 2-for-3 and crossed the dish twice. Geiger, Stein and Parker all came up with great catches in the field in support of Hansen and Lewis on the mound.