Wildcats Win Baseball Provincials

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Fw 1 Niverville Wildcats Win Baseball Provincials Pic
Back Row: Avery Pickering, Josh Bartlett, Logan Wolfe, Joshua Smeltz, Landon Nickel, and Mike Lindsey. Front row: Logan Dearborn, Kade Peters, Austin Spencer, Owen Bunn, Dayton Christensen, and Jace Woytowich. Coaches: Clayton Smeltz, Rod Wolfe, and Mike Lindsey Taran Peters

The Niverville Wildcats U11s played in the Provincial A Baseball Championships in Reston on the weekend of July 7–9 and brought home the championship banner. It is said that defence wins championships, and that was very true for this team which allowed only ten runs in six games, outscoring their opponents 41–10.

The Wildcats started off playing Brandon on Friday morning, and they turned out to be the best two teams in the tournament overall. Niverville lost the nailbiter 2–1. In the afternoon they played Red Lake, Ontario, and the bats started to come alive. The Wildcats mercied them by a score of 12–2 in four innings.

Saturday morning began with a game against the Portage Phillies, with the Wildcats winning again, this time by a score of 10–0 in three and a half innings.

The top two teams in each pool qualified for the playoffs. The Wildcats’ 2–1 record, with only four runs allowed in three games, allowed them to enter the playoffs ranked fourth. This set up a Saturday afternoon game against Birtle. The Wildcats again managed to pound the ball and won 9–2.

This placed Niverville in the semi-final on Sunday morning against Killarney. Killarney was ranked second, having closed out the round-robin with a 3–0 record. They had outscored their opponents by a combined score of 42–6.

The semifinal turned out to be a defensive battle with great pitching and many amazing plays. At the conclusion of regulation (six innings), the score was tied 1–1 with just two hits per team. Niverville, batting first in the second, started with runners on first and second and none out. They managed to get one run past the plate in the bottom of the seventh with a double by Josh Bartlett.

This set up a tense bottom half of the inning, as Killarney also started with runners on first and second and no outs. When Niverville’s pitcher Owen Bunn reached his maximum pitch count, relief pitcher Dayton Christensen came in to throw three pitches for a strikeout and the win.

This put Niverville in the final against Brandon, the only team they had lost to in the tournament. Brandon started with two runs in the first inning and Niverville came back with a leadoff triple by Owen Bunn. Niverville cashed in that run to be down 2–1 after the first.

The Niverville bats continued to be hot in the following innings with Joshua Smeltz hitting a two-run double, followed by Austin Spencer’s two-run single in the next inning, opening up a 5–2 lead.

Niverville scored one more run in both the fourth and fifth, allowing them to go into the top of the sixth with a 7–2 lead. Killarney scored one run in the sixth, but Niverville finished strong with a fitting strikeout to win the game by a final score of 7–3.

The weekend was an amazing experience for all players.

The Wildcats roster included Owen Bunn, Josh Bartlett, Mike Lindsey, Joshua Smeltz, Logan Wolfe, Landon Nickel, Kade Peters, Jace Woytowich, and Austin Spencer. Dayton Christensen and Avery Pickering were great pickups from St. Adolphe, and Logan Dearborn joined from St. Malo. Players who played with the team in provincials playdowns, but were unable to make it to Reston, were Jasper Doerksen and Jack Wallace from Niverville and Christian Duval from Ste. Agathe. 

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