When it mattered most, the Langley Cardinals came through.
During the regular season, the team of 11 and 12-year-old baseball players managed just a pair of victories.
But despite the lack of results, the team steadily improved over the course of the season, and more importantly, the team continued to work hard and never give up.
And they capped off their season in style, winning the Langley Majors B championship with a 19-2 victory over the North Langley Giants on June 7.
The game was played at the George Zarelli Diamond at Walnut Grove Community Park.
The victory marked the first time the Cardinals beat the Giants all season.
Pitcher Juhan Park earned player of the game honours after striking out eight batters over three innings.
“Entering the playoffs, the team believed they could be competitive with any of the other teams,” said Lars Nordal, the Cardinals’ manager.
The Cardinals were seeded fourth for the playoffs and after losing 13-6 to the Langley Yankees — Owen Kredba earned player of the game and Brock Story had a pair of base hits — they faced a must-win game against the Langley B2s in the double knockout format.
And the Cardinals found themselves trailing 9-8 going into the last inning, scored four runs to take the lead and then hang on for the 12-11 victory after the B2s scored twice. Daniel Kim, who drove in the winning run, also nailed down the final out to preserve the victory.
In the semifinals, the Cardinals got another crack at the Yankees, this time prevailing 17-16 in extra innings.
The Yankees had the tying run on third base but Wade Alton forced a groundout to first base to seal the win.
Aaron Zhang went 4-for-4 in the game while Eric Nordal went 3-for-4 and pitched three solid innings to earn player of the game.
“The coaching staff and I have told the players at each and every game throughout the season to not focus on the score, but to think about what they can do to get the next hit, make the next out, or steal the next base; the score will work itself out,” said Cardinals coach Mark Kredba.
“They really came together as team in the last half of the season, with each player showing improvement in their baseball skills.
“Anything can happen and their hard work and determination paid off.”