The B.C. Little League championship was decided Monday evening with heavy favourite South Vancouver continuing its perfect record with an 8-0 drubbing over White Rock in the championship match.
Joseph Sinclair went the distance for South Van, pitching six innings of two-hit ball, with no walks and 11 strike outs for the shut out.
“South Van reminds me of the 2012 Hastings team that went to the (Little League) World Series,” said Trail All Stars coach D. J. Ashman.
Hastings finished with a perfect record in the provincial tournament held in Trail two years ago, and won the Canadian Little League championship before heading to Williamsport, PA. for the World Series.
“It’s not even close, they just have one of those teams that’s a special team,” said Ashman. “I’m very happy for South Van’s coach, he’s been coaching Little League since 1999. This guy Brian Perry has got to be in his 60s, and just a great guy. If I was going to have anybody win that tournament, I wanted it to be him other than us.”
Trail had its best start at the tournament with a huge victory over White Rock in the opener 11-5.
“That’s one of Trail’s and my personal high points was beating them,” said Ashman. “It was a very successful tournament. It’s the best we’ve ever done since I’ve been coachng.”
Yet, with the big victory under their belt the team came out flat the next day, and dropped its match to Beacon Hill, 12-2. They bounced back with wins over North Langley and Forrest Hills before heading into a pivotal match versus Little Mountain.
“When we got to 3-1 we were happy as coaches, but all of us looked at each other and said we’re not guaranteed to get in, where every year I’ve gone to the provincials, three wins has got you in.”
For Trail, the rain-delay against Little Mountain was the turning point. The team rallied in the third inning to score three runs, to make it 4-3 with the tying run on third and Lucas Miracle at the plate; but at that moment, the skies opened and delayed the game until the next day.
Little Mountain came back with their ace, who was ineligible to play the previous day, and despite a late Trail rally, the Mountain would prevail in a close 7-5 match.
After losing to South Vancouver in its final game of the round robin, the All Stars needed to have Forrest Hills defeat Beacon Hill in order to advance to the playoffs.
“It was 12-10 with the bases loaded and they came within one swing of sending us to the semifinals.”
In spite of the disappointment of not making the playoffs, it was a great season for the 11-12 year-old All Stars and Ashman credits co-coaches Mike Boisvert and Jason Startup for much of the success.
“I just want to thank my coaching staff, the kids, and all the parents for their hard work during the season. It’s a team effort and the two coaches I count on and trust 100 per cent,” added Ashman. “Every day we sat down reviewed the previous game and went over what we were going to do in the next game, it’s the best strategizing we’ve ever done.
“We’re going to get there, I promise you. I’m just happy with the way baseball is going in our area.”