If ever there was a tale of the determined team that could, it would have to be about the Chemainus Bantam A’s, who took the BC Provincials by storm over the August long-weekend tournament.
A small association, Chemainus has to canvass hard to field teams in each division. This year wasn’t much different, but the team recruited 12 boys for Bantam house, and logged a 21-1 record in league play.
Of the original 12, ten continued to play summer ball for Chemainus, and two Nanaimo players were added to the roster. The team then went on to log a 5-1 showing in the Island Zone tournament, including a dramatic 11 inning battle with Victoria to secure top spot as the Island champs.
That set the stage for Chemainus’ gold medal finish in the provincials, which were held in Comox this year.
Chemainus opened the tournament with a 9-0 win over White Rock, that was coming into the tournament undefeated in their own summerball league. The win was led by a combined no-hitter from Jamie Roberts and Kolton Hogstead.
The second game was Chemainus’ only loss of the weekend, when Comox downed them 6-4. They bounced back that afternoon defeating Abbotsford 11-8 in one of their tougher games over the weekend.
The final round robin game against Newton ended in an 8-6 win, securing Chemainus’ spot in the semi-finals.
Monday morning semi-finals saw (small town) Chemainus versus (big city) Vancouver in one game; and Comox versus Port Coquitlam in the other.
Chemainus came out swinging, scoring 5 runs in the first inning, including home runs by Hunter Livingston and Adam Brownlow. Vancouver never recovered, Chemainus going on to mercy them 15-5 in five innings.
Port Coquitlam beat Comox in the other semi-final.
Chemainus powered through the final game, too, beating Port Coquitlam 13-1. Jamie Roberts pitched a complete game, allowing only 5 hits and striking out 11 players.
The Provincials win is a highlight for a group of players, many of whom have been teammates since their start in t-ball.
That showed in how well the guys get along and work together, the Provincials win was definitely a team effort, with all 12 players contributing.
Head coach Mike Rochon, along with assistants Neil Stevens and Peter Brownlow lead the team.
Most importantly, the team recognizes the key to their winning the provincial championship is the hard work and dedication of Larry Hopwo, President of Chemainus baseball for over 40 years.
Without him, these boys would never have had the opportunity.
Phil SimpsonSpecial to the chronicle