A group of local baseball players achieved near perfection on the diamond in Surrey over the weekend.
The Salmon Arm Hawks won the U11 Mosquito AA provincial baseball championships; they went undefeated in the tournament. The provincial championships were held at Lionel Courchene Park from August 4 to 6.
“It was obviously a great season for the kids – they developed a lot in the short amount of time that we had with them,”said Hawks head coach Scott Steward.
The Hawks played their first game of the tournament against the Salt Spring Blue Jays. Salmon Arm dominated the game 22 runs to four. The game was an especially exciting one for Avery Deisroth, who was named the Hawks’ MVP and got his first over-the-fence home run.
The opening game set the tone for the tournament, in which the Hawks posted double digit scores in all but one of six games and won by five or more runs in four of them.
Although he also praised the team’s defence, Steward said the undefeated run through the provincial tournament came down to consistent batting.
“All season long prior to the provincials, not once did we come together hitting like we did at provincials – the whole team in almost every game,” he said.
Steward said batting had been a focus for the team in their practices leading up to provincials.
In their second game of the tournament, the Hawks found little opposition from the Burnaby Braves. The final score was 13-1. Tate Spence was named MVP.
The Surrey Cubs gave the Hawks a run for their money in the third game of the tournament. Colson Johnston was the MVP in the 9-7 victory against Surrey. Deisroth’s hot streak in the batter’s box continued as he launched another ball over the back fence for the home run.
In a high-scoring contest, the Hawks overcame the Richmond Chuckers 16-13. Ethan Harrison was the Hawks’ MVP.
The Hawks’ success continued into the final games on the last day of the tournament; they won 11-4 against the Cloverdale Spurs, and 11-2 against the Comox Valley Jets.
Spence and Lucas Mahoney each got MVP honours in the final games.
Along with their impressive undefeated streak in the tournament games, the Hawks won the base running relay in the pre-tournament skills contest. The runners were: Harrison, Deisroth, Zach Veninsky, Tyson Allard and Andrew Steinwand.
According to Steward, teamwork was a large factor in victory at provincials. He said in their short season the team really came together and were very good at encouraging one another.
“Everything really came together for them – it was really nice to see,” Steward said.
The Hawks played several of their games during the season against AAA teams from Vernon and Kelowna, an experience which Steward said challenged the team to compete at a higher level.
Despite dominating the score sheet in some of their games the Hawks didn’t let winning go to their heads.
Steward said he received compliments from other organizations on how friendly and sportsmanlike the Salmon Arm team is.