The Vernon Canadians are off to the AA 13U Baseball Provincial Championships in Comox this upcoming long weekend.
The Cs earned their spot after going 3-1 at the Interior Zone Championships held at Coldstream’s Creekside Park, clinching their spot with a must-win 10-3 decision over the COMBA Sun Devils of Kelowna Sunday morning. Vernon joins the Salmon Arm Hornets (4-0) as the Interior reps at the provincials.
Kaleb Murray pitched a gem for Vernon, going 6.1 innings, allowing six hits and three earned runs while striking out four.
Down 3-2 after 2.5 innings, the Cs scored eight unanswered runs over the final four innings to pull away. Drew Christensen led the offence, going 2-for-3 with two RBI. Vincent Sanfilippo had a walk and an RBI to help stoke the offence as well.
It took Vernon two pitches to get started in the tournament.
Leadoff hitter Jonah Lee belted a 1-0 count over the right field fence in the first inning as Vernon rolled to a 22-0 romp over the Kamloops River Dogs. The Canadians belted out 27 hits. Blayke Butler went 4-for-r with two long bombs and six runs batted in. Jordan Herrington also went deep. Dominic Meyer started on the mound for the Vernon side and pitched very well, giving up two hits and striking out eight.
In their second game the Cs took on the Hornets. Up 8-6 after five innings, Salmon Arm pulled away with a six-run sixth inning for a 14-6 decision. Vernon had chances to close the gap but couldn’t cash in. Butler started on the mound for Vernon, going 2.1 innings, striking out four and allowing five earned runs. Wyatt Cleverley had two hits and an RBI and a run scored to lead the offence.
With their backs against the wall, Vernon needed two wins in their final two games to secure a berth to the B.C.s. They got the first one, a come-from-behind 8-6 decision over the West Kelowna D-Backs.
Herrington was given the ball and pitched well, allowing only four hits over three innings, but the D-Backs capitalized on smart small ball to create five runs over those innings to lead 5-3 after 3.5 innings. The Canadians tied things up in the bottom of the fourth after a walk to Butler and a single by Cleverley led to a clutch two-out, two-RBI single by Devon Sales-Parno.
Charlie Swartz pitched great in relief for the Cs, going 2.1 innings with no earned runs, but West Kelowna grabbed a 6-5 lead in the top of the sixth after a wild pitch led to a run scored. In the bottom half the Cs took back the lead for good after a single by Mark Johnson and a walk to Murray led to a two-RBI single by Butler to make the score 7-6.
Sales-Parno then knocked in an insurance run to make it 8-6. Murray struck out the side in the top of the seventh to lock down the victory. Morgan Hackman went 1-2 with a single and a walk in the win.