Baseball – Tournament provides chance for struggling teams

Mid-Summer Classic starts Friday at Butler Park

The annual Safety Net Security Mid-Summer Classic baseball tournament this weekend could easily be called the redemption tournament for the five teams competing at Butler Park.

The hosts Trail Jays come into the tourney smarting from a rough weekend at Fourth of July tournament in Spokane where they dropped four of five games.

That pulled their overall season record to 15-15, which still ranks as the best among the field of teams this weekend.

“It seems like at times this year we haven’t had our complete hitting really well and pitching really well,” explained manager Nick Combo. “If can consistently get our pitching and our hitting on at the same time we’ll do pretty well.”

There will one of five teams looking to highlight their season with a tournament title.

The St. Albert Cardinals left their Edmonton area home this morning for their second trip to Trail. Last year, the club reached the final game only to drop a 15-8 decision to the Jays. That came after the Cards beat the Jays 6-1 in the round robin.

This year, the Cardinals have struggled to take flight sporting a 7-20 overall record.

Nevertheless, the team is hoping a strong showing in Trail might be the springboard the team needs for their upcoming Alberta provincials beginning July 28 in Sherwood Park, Alta.

The Cranbrook Bandits will be looking to score some revenge against the Jays, who have won all four meetings this year. With a 5-28 overall record, the team did snap an 18-game losing streak last week in their first game of a tournament in Polson, Mont.

The Northeast 49ers from the Colville area are learning the ropes in their first year of Spokane American Legion AAA ball struggling to a 3-13 record in league play. Nevertheless, the 49ers did take two of three from the Jays in exhibition play at the end of May.

Rounding out the field will be the rebuilding West Kootenay Diamondbacks. The young AA team, who are sitting third in their Spokane American Legion North Division, will have their work cut out for them against the older, harder throwers from the other teams.

Action begins Friday morning at 9 a.m. with the Diamondbacks facing the Cardinals. The Jays play Cranbrook at 5:15 p.m. and follow that with a game against the Diamondbacks at 8 p.m.

Saturday’s schedule has the DBacks facing the Bandits at 9 a.m. while the Jays play the 49ers at 5:15 p.m. followed by a marquee game against the Cardinals at 8 p.m. The final goes Sunday at 2 p.m.