B.C. Little League: Trail narrowly misses playoff

After a great start, the Trail Major All Stars lost what proved to be a pivotal two-day game at the B.C. Little League Baseball championship

After a great start, the Trail Major All Stars lost what proved to be a pivotal two-day game at the B.C. Little League Baseball championship in North Langley.

In Trail’s match against Little Mountain on Wednesday, the game was called due to rain with Trail trailing 4-3 in the third inning. It resumed Thursday and a win would have guaranteed the All Stars a playoff spot, after going 3-1 in their first four games.

But it was not to be. Following a scoreless fourth inning, the hardworking crew would manufacture a comeback in the sixth, however, the effort would come up short as Trail would fall 7-5 to the Vancouver rep.

Trail then faced undefeated Vancouver South in its final game of the round robin on Friday, and lost to the tournament favourite 18-1, that included an eight-run outburst in the fifth inning. Defence was lacking, said Trail coach D. J. Ashman, but with Trail’s record at 3-3, they still had an outside chance of entering the playoffs if Beacon Hill, 2-3, were to lose to winless Forrest Hills on Saturday.

Despite a late inning rally from Forrest Hills and a legitimate scare, Beacon Hill would emerge with a 12-10 victory. The Victoria team would get the playoff berth because they had defeated Trail earlier in the round robin, despite having an identical 3-3 record as Trail.

“We watched the game today, and it was close to going our way,” said Ashman in a text. “3-3 got us nothing, which is disappointing, but (I’m) happy with everything too.”

Trail entered the provincial championship with a lot of promise, and showed it immediately with a big win over White Rock in its opening match.

The team played well and received some great performances from a number of players, including Reilly McKinnon who led the team at the plate and was second overall in batting, going 10-for-16 for a .625 average, with three doubles, two walks, and just one strike out. Austin Cox also finished in the top-10 for hitting with a .500 average, going 8-for-16 with a double, a home run, and three RBIs.

In Sunday’s semifinal matches, White Rock, a team Trail had beaten 11-5 in their opening match, would go on to rout Little Mountain 10-4 and Vancouver South shut out Beacon Hill 12-0, setting up the Monday evening final between White Rock and South Van.

South Vancouver has owned teams in this year’s provincials, outscoring opposition 79-9 over seven games, scoring more than 11 runs per game, with a team batting average of  .439 and a slugging percentage of .636.

South Van defeated White Rock in the round robin 13-3, but it could be a different White Rock team that is hungry to return to the Canadian Little League championship after losing in the final to Nepean, Ont. last year. Like South Van, White Rock went undefeated in the round robin, before losing the final match, 5-1.

Due to the late start, the final score was unavailable at press time.