Not as many sure things in life as we would like, but there is one locked-in bet to make for this weekend – the Grand Forks Blues won’t be playing in the money round at the Grand Forks International Baseball Tournament.
The Blues, in their second year representing the host community, allowed 48 runs in 13 innings in their first two outings, against the Trail Orioles (20-6) and San Diego Stars (28-2), and their tournament chances were done before lunch time Thursday.
That’s when the Orioles began their second round-robin game, against the UBC-based Team Canada squad. Regardless of the outcome of that, the newly (and excitingly) minted Western Canada Senior Men’s Baseball Champions will still be alive for the playoff round entering their third game, against San Diego, Saturday evening at 5 p.m.
That scheduling means, of course, that anyone of a mind to support local teams this long weekend can take in all three Smoke Eater games of the pre-season tournament AND make it to Donaldson Park to cheer on the Orioles.
Say this for the Grand Forks squad, as outmatched as they appear to have been from the get go, they did not quit.
The Blues scored four runs in the final inning against Trail, more than enough to prove they were still giving it, even in a lost cause.
Back to the Orioles for a moment. I don’t think one can overemphasize the contributions of the volunteer crew to the championship result the home team achieved.
Having the logistics handled by non players throughout meant the on-field performance could be optimal, and that was what it would always take for the Orioles to win.
Trail played late Saturday and then on a sweltering Sunday, both tight games, against the same team. Both were one-run games that required mental and physical sharpness from the players involved.
Being able, as their opponents were, to gear their rest and warm up periods just to optimizing their game performance, rather than dealing with tournament details, was a gift the volunteers gave the players, and boy did that work out well.
That’s how home field advantage can and should work.
Well done to all involved.
I will be out of country for the next month, but am going to try and relay items of interest from British grounds, fields and pubs while we tour.
The internet, of course, means the goings-on of local interest will be available to me.
Just a reminder, the Smokies still need your support to survive, so stay with this new squad while they work out the kinks.