By Amber Marsh – Special to the Chronicle
The Peewee AA Ladysmith 49ers, also known as Team BC, came home with the gold medal and the title of 2019 Western Canadian Champions after this past weekend’s tournament in Strathmore, Alberta.
The 49ers went undefeated through round robin play to clinch the top seed for the gold medal final.
In the first round robin game they took on Team Saskatchewan. Though the game was delayed for several hours because of rain, when it went ahead the boys won 2-1, braving 40 km/hr winds and chilled single digit temperatures. Pick up pitcher Boyd Anderson, from Nanaimo, started the game with Alex Marsh and Dylan Hodson also coming in for the final innings.
Saturday brought sunnier skies as Team BC played Team Alberta, coming away with an easy 13-0 victory., Noah Atkinson pitched the whole game, with Hodson back catching. The second game on Saturday was against Team Manitoba, who were undefeated in their regular league play. Although BC was down 7-3 after 4 innings, the boys rallied in the last innings with some big hits, strong pitching, including Tighe MacDonald, and solid defence to win the game 9-8. Starting pitcher Kaleb Murray took a hard hit to the knee early in the game, but didn’t let it keep him down, which impressed fans and coaches alike and he received the MVP.
Heading into the final round robin game with a 3-0 record assured the team a spot in the final. Coach Shawn Freer played around with the line up in the last round robin game against host team Strathmore and came away with a 5-4 win. Alex Marsh came home for three runs, and hit in a fourth, while closing pitcher Nolan Freer took MVP for keeping Strathmore from rallying to get ahead.
In the gold medal game, Team BC once again faced Alberta, who had upset Manitoba in round robin play to make the final. Though the 49ers round robin game against Alberta was an easy victory, the final was a hard fought battle with Team BC prevailing in a 8-5 win. Pitching started with Anderson, Sam Smith came in to pitch mid game, with Hodson closing. Solid back catching by Myles Gray and excellent defence by shortstop Cooper Smith, kept the Alberta runners from scoring, while big hit from Blaine Willson rounded out BC’s runs.
“The boys worked hard all season, never giving up. It was exciting to see all their dedication and commitment come to fruition with this win,” team parent Sharlene MacDonald said “We’re all very proud of how they played and positively represented Ladysmith and BC.”
From excellent outfielding by Gabe Wiebe, Ryan Christenson and Marsh, to solid infield from MacDonald, Freer and Willson, rounded out by impressive offense from Chase Little and Atkinson, every player knew their roles and played them to the best of their ability.
Now the boys get a break for a few weeks until school and fall season sports start up.