Bantams end season on losing note
St. Albert Cardinals drop last three games at bantam AAA Tier I provincials after winning the tournament opener
Wednesday, Aug 06, 2014 11:15 am
The St. Albert Cardinals were unable to build on their tournament-opening victory at the Baseball Alberta bantam AAA Tier I championship last weekend at Legion Memorial Park.
After knocking off the Spruce Grove White Sox – the host team for westerns beat the Sherwood Park A’s 3-1 in Monday’s final – the Cardinals lost their next three games by a combined score of 33-11.
“It was a disappointing end to the season but we did have a good season,” said Dave Maguire, head coach of the 26-23-1 Cardinals. “I told the boys each and every one of you your skill set from the beginning of the season to the end of the season got better.
“And the boys that are graduating to midget I firmly think that my coaching staff and I have prepared them to be successful at the midget level and the four boys that are staying behind will form the core of a strong bantam team next year.”
The Cardinals, ranked second in the five-team draw at 19-6 in the provincial seeding round, overcame an early 2-1 deficit to beat the White Sox 6-2 Saturday. It was the White Sox’s only loss at provincials.
Tylor Jans worked 6-2/3 innings before leaving the game after hitting the maximum 95-pitch count and Joseph Karall struck out the only batter he faced in relief.
“We were on the sticks from the beginning of the game until the end of the game. We got the hits when we need them. We also ran the bases well and I don’t think we made any errors defensively as well,” said Jans, 15.
The player of the game for the Cardinals described his performance as “comfortable” while battling hard every inning.
“I was just trying to throw strikes,” said the team leader in wins this season.
With one out in the seventh, Jans made the out at first base but was spiked above the right ankle by the base runner that drew blood. With his pitch count already maxed out he limped off the field and Karall took over on the mound.
The second game for the Cardinals on Saturday was the 7-6 loss to the Red Deer Braves. They were unable to hold the lead in the seventh after frittering away opportunities to extend the advantage in the middle innings.
“At the end I guess we just kind of let it slip away. It’s not that we played bad I thought, Red Deer did what they had to do in the seventh inning to take the lead,” Maguire said. “In the bottom of seven our first batter absolutely hit the ball as hard as he could right to the shortstop and that was kind of what she wrote.”
Sunday against the Okotoks Dawgs Black, ranked first in the provincial seeding round at 22-3, the Cardinals lost 12-1 to remain winless against Okotoks this season.
The downfall was unearned runs, according to Maguire.
“That's been unfortunately at times the tale,” he said. “Okotoks is a good team, I’m not taking anything away from them, but I think a couple of times we maybe had an opportunity for a hit that might have changed the complexion of the game a bit and it didn’t happen.”
Okotoks went on to edge Red Deer 3-2 in the bronze-medal game.
Monday in the last round-robin game of the tournament, and the Cardinals needing to win by at least 10 runs to move on, they gassed an early 4-0 lead in the 14-4 loss to Sherwood Park.
“To get to the gold medal game we would’ve had to mercy them and I don’t know if that had any affect on how the boys played the game,” Maguire said. “I told them after the game if anything the blame rests squarely on my shoulders. I obviously didn’t prepare them well enough for that game but credit to Sherwood Park; they just took it to us. Their best players were better than our best players – I guess we could sum it up that way.”
Visit www.baseballalberta.com for all the tournament scores.