Somewhere in the Ladysmith 49ers group hug after winning the Western Canadian Pee Wee baseball championship in Strathmore, Alta., is Vernon’s Kaleb Murray, who was picked up by the B.C. champs for the tournament and heliped them win gold. (Photo submitted)

Vernon pitcher helps Island squad win Western Canadians

Kaleb Murray was picked up by B.C. champion Ladysmith, and helped team go 5-0 to win gold

Vernon pitcher Kaleb Murray thought he had thrown his last pitch of the season as his Vernon Canadians baseball team was ousted from the BC Pee Wee Provincials in Comox on August Long weekend.

He thought wrong.

Murray, who Canadians team went 1-3 (finishing with win over Langley Trappers, was added to the roster of the B.C. champion Ladysmith 49ers, who went on to win the Western Canadian tournament in Strathmore, Alta.

The 49ers went 5-0 to take home the Western Canadian title.

In the tournament opener and seven-degree, bone-chilling weather, B.C. outlasted the Saskatchewan Comets 2-1 in a pitcher’s duel. Murray played right field for two innings, going 0-for-1 at the plate.

Game 2 had B.C. facing Alberta as both teams had opened up with wins. The Ladysmith pitcher was throwing gas that Alberta couldn’t match and B.C. came away with the victory, 13-0 in five innings due to mercy rule.

Murray made his mark with his new teammates in Game 3, a contest against Team Manitoba, a squad that not lost a game all season.

Murray got the start on the mound and came out of the gate quick, striking out the first two batters and getting the third out with a ground ball. After giving up back-to-back doubles in the second inning, Murray struck out the side to limit the damage to one run.

A scoreless third inning had the teams tied at 1 after three complete innings. Murray got the first out in the fourth and then‎ the second batter hit a laser beam up the middle off Murray’s knee. Murray talked his coach out of taking him from the game. Limping around the mound, he faced two more batters and recorded one more out before the B.C. coach went to his bullpen. B.C. mounted a late sixth inning comeback against Manitoba and went on to victory, 7-5.

In the final round robin game B.C. bounced the host Strathmore Reds 10-5 and earned themselves a spot in the final.

The gold medal game was a rematch vs Alberta, who shocked Manitoba in the semifinal.

Both teams were matching pitch-for-pitch early in the game with B.C. pitching their ambidextrous pitcher‎, a 13-year-old boy who threw right handed with a right-handed batter up to the plate and pitched left handed with a lefty up to the plate. This was for two innings but eventually Alberta got to him and put up some runs. The game was back-and-forth with several lead changes. BC eventually held on for an 8-6 victory, leaving the tying run on first base in the top of the sixth inning.

“The boys worked hard all season, never giving up. It was exciting to see all their dedication and commitment come to fruition with this win,” team parent Sharlene MacDonald told Black Press’ Ladysmith Chronicle. “We’re all very proud of how they played and positively represented Ladysmith and B.C.”


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