Two months of practices, games, and weekend tournaments came to an exciting close on the weekend at Andy Bilesky Park as Trail Little League held it’s season-ending Majors championship tournament.
Teams from Salmo, Beaver Valley, Castlegar, Trail and Nelson played a total of 20 games in the tournament finale and when the final out was made on Sunday, the Trail Mariners emerged as the Trail Little League champions with an exciting 13-8 victory over the Trail Dodgers.
The Mariners, coached by Rocky Dickson, cruised through the regular season, finishing first in the 11-team league with a 13-and-3 record, while the Castlegar Yellow Jackets and Nelson Giants came second and third. But it was all Trail teams when it came down to the final three of the round robin double-knock-out tournament this weekend.
The Mariners battled their way through the round robin, going undefeated on their way to the finals. The M’s defeated the Castlegar Spartans to open the tournament, then in one of their toughest games against the D. J. Ashman led Trail Rangers Saturday, the Mariners tied it in the top of the sixth inning and then won it on a bases-loaded walk to send the Rangers to the Loser’s bracket.
The Mariners defeated the Dodgers in the Sunday afternoon game to book their spot in the final, while the Dodgers, coached by Kevin Charters, faced the Rangers to see who would get another shot at the Mariners for the title.
In a tight pitcher’s duel, the two teams went run-for-run in a thrilling low-scoring match. Down 3-2 heading into the bottom of six, the Dodgers manufactured two runs to pull out a 4-3 victory and a berth into the final.
In the Little League finale, the Mariners built a 12-8 lead through five innings and with veteran hurler Landon Uzeloc on the mound, the graduating little leaguer shut down the Dodgers’ bats in the bottom of five. In the top of six, Uzeloc’s final at bat saw the Trail native foul off three straight pitches before belting a solo homerun to dead centre. He then pitched a scoreless sixth for the 13-8 victory, and a dramatic end to his little league career.