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Thunder brings home third
The Duncan RiverCats beat up on the Richmond City Chuckers 10-1 to win the Valley of Champions peewee baseball tournament at Kiwanis Field Sunday afternoon.
Three hours earlier, the Penticton Thunder handed the South Jasper Jays from Edmonton a 20-10 defeat for third place. The matchup pitted Thunder coach Aqil Samuel against his brother, Saad.
“We got him twice this weekend, so that was good,” said Samuel, whose Thunder team opened the tournament with a 19-5 win over the Jays and finished with a 3-2 record.
No trash talk was exchanged between the brothers.
“He threw a few jabs in there,” Samuel laughed about his brother. “That’s all that needed to be said.”
And the Thunder coach was pleased to take third.
“It’s funny because I think the proper teams got the proper placings,” said Samuel. “Duncan ended up winning it and they were clearly the strongest team there. Richmond wasn’t that far behind. We think we were better than the other two.”
During the weekend, Samuel was pleased with the performances of his pitchers and the team defence. With offence not one of their strong points, the team has focused all season on limiting offence.
“The boys really put that together this weekend,” he said. “We got key hits when we needed to get key hits. Pitching and defence is what carried us for sure.”
Samuel said the Thunder played well with the exception of their loss against the Chuckers.
Below, Thunder pitcher Tate Larson watches his pitch against Nanaimo.
They competed and Samuel said that was good to see.
The group’s confidence is growing and has been each week since the season started.
Samuel, who praised their tournament volunteers, added they received positive comments from the visiting teams about the facilities and the umpires.
“That’s a pretty good feather in Penticton’s cap,” said Samuel. “It takes quite a lot to pull a tournament like this off.”
Now the Thunder are focused on getting ready for the Okanagan zones hosted by Vernon July 25-26.
The four-team championship, which includes Vernon, West Kelowna and Kelowna, will send the top two teams to provincials. Samuel said it’s a chance for them to return, which would be great.