The Trail All Stars didn’t make it easy on themselves this week at the B.C. Little League provincial tournament at Andy Bilesky Park, but they did show a lot of grit and determination as they fought back from deficits all week.
They fought back against Dunbar, down five runs in the fourth inning they stormed back and seized the lead only to lose in extras. They fought back against Forest Hills from five run and three run deficits, banging out nine runs in the fifth inning to win and give themselves a shot at the playoffs. And when they were down 10 runs to Beacon Hill on Wednesday, they remained confident that they would fight back once more – and, they almost did.
Beacon Hill jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first inning, punctuated by a three-run blast from Sean Young, but Trail clawed its way back into the game, only to lose by two runs in a disappointing but inspiring performance, as they bowed to Beacon Hill 13-11 Wednesday night.
The loss extinguished Trail’s hopes for a run at the playoffs, that begin today.
For Beacon Hill, perennial bridesmaids to Layritz in District 7, its rare trip to the provincials couldn’t have turned out better.
“I think the people of Trail are fantastic, they’ve been great hosts,” said Beacon Hill manager Gus Niketas. “. . . I’m very happy for my boys because we’ve never got this far, but in the same breath these (Trail) people have been very good to us here, and I know they’ve worked very hard this year to be here and to host this, so there’s a side of me that feels bad for them.”
The classy crew from Victoria will now face White Rock in the first semifinal match at noon today. Although Niketas won’t readily admit it, the Hill likely prefer to play White Rock given their close match in the round robin where it was a 4-3 game until the last two innings when WR added insurance runs to win 6-3.
“We had a close one in the round robin (against White Rock). . . it’s up to us, it can be anyone’s game when it’s that close so I think the boys are now on a roll, so let’s see how far we can go.”
In the other match up Dunbar will be heavy underdogs as they get set to face Hastings at 3:30 p.m. Hastings only loss came to White Rock in a close 7-6 match on Tuesday. In its other three round-robing games, the Vancouver-Burnaby team outscored its opponents 68-7, including a 17-0 win over Beacon Hill and a 19-4 drubbing of Dunbar.
Hastings has five hitters in the top 10, including tournament-leading slugger Steve Moretto whose .857 batting average, four home runs, and 15 RBIs in 14 at bats is indeed epic. Team mate Noah Hanson-Stafford is not far behind, hitting .750 for the tournament just ahead of Trail’s Brendan Makay with a .687 average.
Hastings’ bullpen is also better than most with Cortez DAlessandro, 1.40 ERA, Cole Dalla-Zanna, 2.33 ERA and Moretto, 4.50 ERA anchoring a very capable pitching staff.
While Hastings may have a definite edge with the bats, the depth of White Rock’s pitching is indeed profound with leading hurler Perrin Finley, who in five innings pitched has yet to give up a run, and has ceded only three hits and one base on balls while striking out six. Throw in Adam van den Brink, Ben Renner, and Jackson Hogg and the Rock is pretty solid on the mound.
So while the smart money may be on a Hastings and White Rock finale, Dunbar and Beacon Hill will have something to say about it in today’s semifinal matches.
“I think any team can beat any team at any time, you know they’re 11-12 year old kids, to say one team’s better than another – you never know what’s going to happen when you get on the ball field. Just like tonight who would have thought we’d score 10 runs in the first inning (against Trail),” said Niketas.