Sports

Duncan baseball team completes amazing season with gusto

On the buses, Duncan
On the buses, Duncan's RiverCats get ready to roll toward another victory in Swift Current.
— image credit: submitted

Setting goals is one thing.

Accomplishing them is quite another.

The Duncan Peewee AA RiverCats baseball team set out to capture the zone, provincial and Western Canadian championships this summer.

Mission accomplished.

The RiverCats completed the hat trick by sailing through the Western Canadian tournament in Swift Current, Saskatchewan after a loss in their opening game.

After that, it was no contest, with Duncan winning four straight games by lopsided scores — including 14-0 over Altona, Manitoba in the championship game in a five-inning mercy.

“I had a good feeling right from the start of the season this was the team,’’ said head coach Ken Ramwell.

“I was happy but I wasn’t surprised at the team’s success this year.’’

The core group of the team has been together many years and “we’ve been able to add some really nice kids and talent to the team,’’ said Ramwell.

Connor Hall and Brodie Comerford were also added to the team as pick-ups from Campbell River and fit right in.

It took the RiverCats a game to get settled into the Western Canadian routine and, in fact, they lost their first game to Unity, Saskatchewan Friday 4-3.

“We were really tight,’’ said Ramwell. “The kids were very nervous.’’

Once that game was out of their system, the boys got rolling like an avalanche on a Colorado mountain and no one could stop them.

Duncan beat host Swift Current 10-1, Altona, Manitoba 12-5 and Grande Prairie, Alberta 21-2 in five innings before finishing with the second victory over Altona.

It looked for a time like Duncan might have to play a tiebreaker, with just the top two teams from the round robin advancing to the gold medal game.

But Duncan came out narrowly on top of the tiebreaker and sat back to await the winner of a Unity-Altona showdown. Altona won 12-9.

All three teams were 3-1 in the preliminary stage, but Duncan advanced by allowing the fewest runs — nine compared to 10 for Unity and 15 for Altona. Twelve of Altona’s runs against came courtesy of the one game against the RiverCats.

“We were well-prepared to play the tiebreaker and still have the pitching for the final,’’ said Ramwell.

But it wasn’t necessary and Ramwell had his own son Billy waiting in the wings of the final, as it turned out, to relieve starter Gavin Pringle after his pitch count ran out but didn’t need to use him.

Brody Deverill was the top hitter of the tournament at .692, with a minimum of at-bats required for eligibility. His three home runs also led the tournament.

“Our kids were hitting really well,’’ said coach Ramwell.

“The boys got better and better as the weekend went on.’’

But it wasn’t just the hitting that catapulted the team to the top.

“Our defence was phenomenal — just flawless,’’ said Ramwell.

The RiverCats also got complete-game pitching performances from Comerford, Jackson Stephen with a one-hitter and Pringle with a three-hitter in the final.

“Everybody hit and everybody scored runs,’’ said Ramwell.

Batting averages for the players were: Connor Caskenette (.714), Deverill (.692), Evan Pywell (.600), Matteo Iorio (.556), Luc Wilson and Josh Hill (.500), Mike Arscott (.455), Hall (.444), Morley Scott (.333), Billy Ramwell and Comerford (.286), Hayden Plester (.250), and pitching aces Stephen (.231) and Pringle (.083).

Ken Ramwell, Western Higbie, Gobind Sall and Steve Bossons also formed a formidable coaching staff with the RiverCats.

“It’s the first time all four of us have been there at the same time,’’ said Ramwell. “That was a big part of the win. It’s been quite a ride this summer.’’

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