The Vernon Canadians finished 2-2 at the B.C. 11U AAA Tier II Baseball Championships in Campbell River last weekend, good for fifth place in the 10-team tournament.
After opening 2-0, the Canadians dropped games to eventual champions Campbell River (12-2) and eventual fourth-place Aldergrove (11-1).
Vernon had strong starts from pitchers Blayke Butler and Mark Johnson, but struggled to put runs on the board. Johnson was 2-for-3 against Campbell River and Reid Johnson was 1-for-3 with two RBI. Player of the game Dominic Meyer was 1-for-2 at the plate and pitched two strong innings.
Against Aldergrove, Butler was 2-for-2 with a triple and a single, and Chayse Brumpton pitched a shutout inning in relief for the Cs. Player of the game was Johnson who followed up a good pitching performance by reaching base twice.
The C’s brushed back Abbotsford 9-8 and grounded Cloverdale 8-7 to open the provincials.
Player of the Game Jonah Lee went 3-for-3 with three runs and pitched two innings, allowing one run against Abby.
Game 2 was a wild one. Vernon was up 6-0 after five innings before Cloverdale scored seven in the top of the sixth to go ahead. Umpires suspended the game due to darkness. Play resumed Saturday morning and the C’s scored once in the bottom of six as Butler drove in Kacey Miller. Butler then went out and shut Cloverdale down in the top of seven and Vernon scored in the bottom half as Ryan Cox singled up the middle, reached second on a passed ball and moved to third on Lee’s infield single to deep short.
Mark Johnson hit a hot shot to second base and the Cloverdale played knocked it down but it trickled by to score Cox with the winning run. Game MVP Kaleb Murray hurled two shutout innings and collected two hits.
“It was a great tournament experience for our boys,” said head coach Nathan Lee. “We fell short on Saturday but the scores do not reflect how well we played. We as coaches (also Derek Murray and Lance Johnson) are very pleased with our performance this weekend. We have a group of boys (of which only one that had played summer ball previously) that have built on their love of the game and who have developed the skills to compete with the province’s best.”
The Canadians ended the summer season with a 13-10 record.
The 10U Vernon Canadians played in Richmond at the 11U A Provincial 10-team tournament. Vernon 0-4 but left with their heads high and with having gained a tremendous amount of experience in a big tournament setting.
Vernon fell 12-7 to the Tri City Indians in Game 1 and then lost 13-3 to the Abbotsford Angels, 7-1 to the Comox Jets and 14-4 to the the eventual gold-medalist Cloverdale Spurs.
The weekend was filled with clutch hits, diving catches, solid pitching and outstanding teamwork. While the Canadians were unable to walk away with a victory on the field, the boys worked hard and played extremely well.
“We focused all year on not only developing skills but more importantly on effort and attitude,” said Vernon head coach Michael Sanfilippo. “I could not be more proud of how the boys played all year long. Just to make it to a tournament of this calibre is a huge testament to how hard these kids practised and played all season
“The memories that these boys will have will last a lifetime. They learned about baseball for sure but they really learned about sportsmanship, teamwork, dedication and having the will to never give up.”
The entire coaching staff and kids gave major props to all the supporters who came out to the ballpark this year, especially the parents and helpers on and off the field.