The Trail Orioles Little League Minor and Major baseball teams hard work and preparation for the provincials paid off on the weekend as both teams won unprecedented bronze medals at the July 4th Firecraker tournament in Kalispell, Mont.
The Minor Orioles are getting set to take the field for the B.C. 9-10 Baseball championship starting Saturday and played their final games on Tuesday against Colville after taking bronze in the Kalispell tournament.
The 9-10 Orioles went undefeated in the round robin beating Kalispell 13-9 after coming back from a 9-5 deficit in the final inning. The Orioles downed Polson 14-3 highlighted by a fifth inning grand slam by Darrin Issel, before taking out the Missoula Mud Dawgs 8-1.
In the semifinal match up the Orioles played the tournament champion from Missoula who scored five runs in the second inning on their way to a 7-1 victory over the O’s.
“They scored five in the second and we couldn’t hit,” said coach Jim Maniago. “Basically we ran into a stud of a pitcher that overwhelmed us . . . Once he came out in the fifth we loaded the bases twice but couldn’t get a key hit to make it close.”
In the bronze-medal game the 9-10 Orioles beat Whitefish 3-1 to take third and then watched Missoula trounce Columbia Falls 16-0 in the final.
“The boys played great,” said Maniago. “Aside from the one loss, we played pretty well.”
The 9-10 O’s played a pair of final tune-up games against Colville Tuesday at Andy Bileski Park beating the visitors 12-9 in the first match before defeating them 13-3 in the second half of the doubleheader.
Meanwhile the 11-12 Major Orioles also performed well taking third place out of 20 teams in the Kalispell tournament.
The O’s dropped its first match to Florence 3-2 on Friday, before dumping Columbia Falls 14-4 and Medicine Hat 16-1. In the quarter-final match, Trail beat Missoula 3-2 before falling to eventual winners Lethbridge 10-0. The Orioles picked it up a notch in the bronze-medal game, gaining a measure of revenge with a 1-0 victory over Florence.
“Anytime you can come out with that quality of a tournament and place you’re doing something right, and we obviously played pretty well,” said coach Mike Boisvert.
The 11-12 Orioles will head to Langley July 18 for the Little League Major provincials from July 19-26 and have been practicing rigorously to get ready for the event.
For the 9-10 provincials at Andy Bilesky Park this week, Trail Little League is still looking for volunteers to help out with the concession, 50-50 draws, grounds crews, and prize tables. Go to traillittleleague.ca for more info or to sign up.
See Friday’s Times for more on the 9-10 B.C. Little League championship.