Diamond Dust

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The St. Albert Cardinals fell one win short of advancing to the North Central Alberta Baseball League playoffs for the first time in team history.

The senior AA Cardinals lost Monday’s wildcard elimination game 4-1 to the host Westlock Red Lions after both teams finished league play tied with the Edmonton Primeaus for the fourth and final playoff spot with 8-8 records.

The NCABL’s last regular season game was Thursday’s 8-5 come-from-behind victory by the Primeaus over the Cardinals at Legion Memorial Park and a win would have secured a playoff berth for the Red Birds.

The tiebreaking scenario resulted in the Cardinals playing the Red Lions for the right to compete against the first-place Stony Plain Mets (14-2) in the best-of three semifinal series this weekend at Keller Field in Westlock, which coincides with the NCABL’s 50th anniversary alumni festivities.

Visit www.ncabl.ab.ca for the anniversary weekend itinerary.

The Cardinals joined the NCABL in 2013 and last year finished at the bottom of the standings at 3-15.

Hayden Chies of the Cardinals was the runner-up for the NCABL batting crown with a .474 average.

Kevin Stork, a St. Albert minor baseball product with the Edmonton Blackhawks, the defending league champions, was the top hitting with a .533 average.

Chies also led all players with 27 hits in 57 at-bats, 21 RBIs and four triples.

The St. Albert Cardinals are competing for medals at the U13 peewee AAA western championship, starting Thursday at Henry Singer Ball Park in Spruce Grove.

The third-place team at the Tier I provincials plays Saskatchewan Giants at noon and Friday’s game time times are 8:30 a.m. against the Camrose Cougars, the provincial runners-up, and 2:30 p.m. against Manitoba No. 1.

Visit www.stalbertbaseball.com for updates.

The Cardinals are 27-14 entering their second westerns in a row.

The U15 bantam AAA western championship starts Thursday for the St. Albert Cardinals against the host team from Kamloops and the British Columbia rep.

The six-team draw continues Friday against Saskatchewan No.2, followed by Manitoba on Saturday and Saskatchewan No. 1 on Sunday.

The top two teams advance to Sunday’s final.

Visit www.kamloopsminorbaseball.ca for updates.

The Cardinals qualified for westerns as the Tier I provincial finalists after going 24-9 in the Alberta Baseball League.

The team’s 3-2 record at provincials included losses of 23-7 in the tournament opener and 12-3 in the final to the host Okotoks Dawgs Black.

The Cardinals have four players on their roster from last year’s team that won provincials and finished fourth at nationals.

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St. Albert Gazette

The St. Albert Gazette has been the source for news and community information in St. Albert and area since 1961. Today the twice-weekly full-colour tabloid delivers award-winning journalism in print, online and on mobile.