Top to bottom lineup efficiency works for RiverCats
The provincial championships keep on coming.
The Duncan Junior Baseball Association’s Mosquito AAA Tier 2 Under 11 RiverCats team followed in the footsteps of the Peewee AA baseball team.
The mosquitos were indeed pesky in winning the 10-team B.C. tournament played at Duncan’s Evans Park Friday through Sunday.
Duncan played great in the round robin but really caught fire during the playoffs, beating Prince George 12-1 in a five-inning mercy and then finishing the job with a 13-8 triumph over North Delta in Sunday afternoon’s final.
“We went up 8-1 and then they tied it 8-8,’’ said RiverCats’ head coach Bryn Battye.
The open inning produced five Duncan runs that decided the issue.
Battye utilized some strategy to get Duncan into an early lead in the game.
“We won the coin toss and we knew we were a great hitting team,’’ he said. “We wanted to get up on them early.’’
So he selected visitors and elected to have his team bat first and it paid off with a quick three runs for Duncan. Even after North Delta battled back, there was no quit in the Duncan team and it didn’t want the momentum to swing the other way.
“They hit the ball all year,’’ said Battye.
The first four games featured Duncan with the most runs scored and the least against so “we were pretty confident,’’ Battye said.
It looked like anyone’s game after round robin play, with five teams sporting 3-1 records. Only four could advance to the playoffs and Tsawwassen was the odd team out on the tiebreaker.
In Pool A, North Delta took first and Duncan second spot after tiebreaking formulas were taken into account. Duncan beat Tsawwassen 13-3 and lost to North Delta 8-3 Friday, but defeated Cloverdale 16-3 and Kelowna 15-0 Saturday to make the playoffs.
In Pool B, Prince George landed first and Oceanside second, setting the stage for the final four.
The RiverCats made short work of Prince George with their impressive hitting quickly turning the game into a runaway. It was 8-1 for Duncan in the third inning and the team padded the margin enough to finish the game in five innings.
Kaleb Freer went three-for-three while Gavin Foss, Anthony Wilson, Arjan Manhas and Brendon Wilson each contributed two hits to the attack. Anthony Wilson hit a triple while Foss, Manhas and Brendon Wilson all had doubles.
James Joyce turned in an incredible pitching performance that left Prince George hitters mesmerized.
Brandon Gaboury was the only player to achieve any effectiveness against Joyce with a pair of hits.
North Delta nipped Oceanside 4-3 in the other semifinal.
The final a few hours later was especially sweet for Caleb Battye and Nathan Tiemer. They were both on the Duncan team that won the provincials last year in Mosquito, also against North Delta.
Bryn Battye acknowledged it was no easy ride for Duncan this year.
“It was great,’’ he said. “The competition this year was definitely a lot tighter. There were some great teams out there.’’
But balance made the difference for the RiverCats. They were solid at all positions and didn’t rely on any one player to get the job done.
“Everybody on the team can hit anywhere through the lineup,’’ said Battye. “To be honest, if you’re at the eight or nine spot, you’re not worried about it. The kid can do it.’’
Meanwhile, the Peewee AA RiverCats are heading to Swift Current, Saskatchewan this week for the Western Canadian championships where they’ll open against Unity, Saskatchewan Friday.
There are no Western Canadian playoffs at the Mosquito level.