The Penticton Thunder U13 baseball team finished third at provincials held in Parksville Aug. 4 to 7.
“After winning our zones we knew that provincials would be a challenge, but we have been peaking, so we felt good about our chances,” said Thunder coach Stephane Delisle-Lavoie.
The Thunder struggled with offense in the first game losing 7-0 to the number one seed Tsawwassen, managing only two hits. Kaiden Skode earned MVP thanks to his defensive plays and pitching.
“I felt that we were a little nervous, as we issued them eight walks and batters were tentative at the plate,” said Delisle-Lavoie.
It wasn’t until the fourth inning of their second game when the Thunder’s bats came alive. In a scoreless game against Victoria, the Thunder took a 2-0 lead. Game MVP Ben Avila pitched five hitless innings and hit a three-run homerun helping the team to an 8-2 win.
Marlo Spence then stepped up for the Thunder earning the game MVP in a 10-0 win over Newton. The Thunder scored four runs at the top of the first inning and never looked back. Spence pitched a five inning complete game shutout which included five strikeouts. Five Thunder players had a multi-hit game.
To advance to the playoffs the Thunder had to win their next game against Prince George to finish in the top two in their pool.
“Up to that point PG was undefeated, thus in first place. Alam Woodhouse’s fifth inning solo homerun was all the offense we needed as starting pitcher Dominic Delisle-Lavoie pitched a seven inning complete game gem which included 10 strikeouts. For his efforts he earned the game MVP award,” said the Thunder coach.
Playing the number one seed from the other pool, Oceanside, in the semi-finals, the Thunder surrendered six walks and lost the game 5-0. The Thunder coach said Oceanside’s pitcher did a great job of keeping hitters off balance. Ryan Paulhus was named the game MVP because of his great overall play during the tournament.
There was no game for third place leaving both semifinal losing teams claim to the bronze medal. Oceanside defeated Chilliwack 18-11 for the gold.
“It was obvious that we had more depth at the pitching position than any other team, but we did fall a little short offensively,” said the Thunder coach. “Losing was a disappointment, but we have had a great season with more than 34 wins. As a coach, what I am the most proud of is the growth and development of the players from the beginning to the end of the season. Defensive errors were far and few in between as most plays had now become routine.”