The end of last month brought with it the finish to another season of Major League Baseball. So this seems an appropriate time to look back at what happened in the pros and also with local minor baseball teams this past year…
It was certainly a storybook season for the St. Louis Cardinals. Manager Tony La Russa called it “unbelievable, amazing, incredible,” and he wasn’t exaggerating. After trailing badly in the race for a wild-card berth, the Cards came from behind to squeak into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season. They then knocked off the heavily-favoured Phillies and Brewers to advance to the World Series. There, they were twice just a single out away from elimination in Game 6. But they rallied to win and stay alive and after that you had to know they were the team of destiny this year. Sure enough, they prevailed 6-2 in Game 7 against the Texas Rangers.
In local ball, all-star coordinator Peter MacNeil sends word that Nanaimo Minor Baseball fielded several summer all-star teams this season. The oldest of those was the bantam AA team coached by George Kelly, along with Dave Turner and Jordan Clarkson. Players aged 13-14 who made that team were Patrick Bajkov, Kevin Bishop, Joshua Carless-Jones, Connor Jones, David Cosbey, Owen Kelly, Thomas Negrin, Aaron Page, Jim Ryynanen, Matthew Stevenson, Jordyn Taylor and Jordan Turner.
At the 9-10 age level, a mosquito A entry was coached by Glen Waatainen. Players on the team were Cody MacArthur, Aaron Marsh, Nicholas Williams, Ryan Waatainen, Wyatt Dorman, Dakota Cullum, Myles Van de Leur, Connor Carson, Thomas Fridriksson, Dylan Brock, Justin Dumont and Jack Harrison.
From players aged 11-12, a peewee AA team had Travis Kirby as coach. Players involved included Dylan Kirby, Jacob Demecha, Cameron MacNeil, Ben Fridriksson, Will Fridriksson, Adam Humphreys anders Cederberg, Jayden Marsh, Noah Banman, Isaac Bevis, Derek Krall and Campbell Walker.
In addition, another pair of Nanaimo Minor Baseball all-star teams did especially well and qualified for provincials this past season. Nanaimo formed a mosquito AAA squad which won the Island zone championships in Victoria, beating Duncan 12-9 in the final. The team then advanced to the provincials where they posted a 2-2 record for fifth place. On the squad were players Drew Hnatyshyn, Jake Nikirk, Brandon Hannibal, Tim Holyk, Josh Laukkanen, Alex Stevens, Aden Richardson, Layne Schad, Tucker McLeod, Ryan Humphreys, Brooks Branchi, Logan Taylor and Spencer Walton. Head coaches for the team were Barry Hnatyshyn and Mike Holyk.
Nanaimo Minor Baseball’s peewee AAA all-star team qualified to compete at the provincial tournament held in Port Coquitlam. There, the team played well but were eliminated in a semifinal game by the Abbotsford Angels.
That wasn’t the end of the season, however and a perfect chance for redemption came due to the fact that Nanaimo this year was host to the Peewee AAA Western Canadians at the Serauxmen Sports Fields. From the opening pitch it was clear that the Nanaimo boys would not be denied, as the Pirates completed an unbeaten sweep through the Western Canadians by downing the Angels 7-0 and claiming the gold medal in front of their hometown supporters.
Congratulations go to coaches Scott Leaf, Jordan Rogers and Jordan Romine and of course to players Colin Borrelli, Finn Martin, Dylan Ferguson, Brendon Dumont, Shane Rogers, Dylan Coghlan, Lenn Nakatsuka, Jordan Paterson, Matthew Skingle, Thomas Leaf, Sam Avila, Mackenzie Marquis, Brandan Kingsbury, Daelen Magcalas, Josh Burgmann and Owen Yarocki.
Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.
Ian Thorpe writes about sports Saturdays.