The Salmon Arm Heat travelled to Kelowna this past weekend for the Valley of Champions Tournament – and showed they were up to the title.
The tournament featured All Star baseball teams from the Interior and Coastal divisions and each team was guaranteed four games, with the finals for the top teams held on Sunday.
The blistering heat in Kelowna made playing two games on Friday and two games on Saturday exceptionally draining on the players, but all teams dug deep into their inner strength and competed exceptionally well.
Salmon Arm played strongly in the round-robin portion of the tournament, coming away with a three-wins and one-loss record.
The team then had to wait until the final game was played to determine their standing. As it turned out, their record placed them in first place overall and set the stage for the championship game on Sunday at noon against an impressive Abbottsford team.
The temperature at the start of the game was sitting at 37 degrees in the shade.
Salmon Arm got off to a slow start and were down 5-0 after the first two innings. Hits started to go their way at the top of the third and they held Abbottsford at bay in the bottom of that inning and came out of it down 5-2.
The fourth inning gave Salmon Arm another run and again they held Abbotsford from getting any runs as they moved to within two points.
Salmon Arm plugged another one point in the fifth inning and went into the sixth inning down 5-4.
The top of the sixth inning saw the team at their best as they drove in five runs to Abbottsford’s two and were up 9-7.
Top of the seventh inning gave Salmon Arm another four runs and they were ahead 13-7.
All they had to do was shut down their opponents in the bottom of the seventh to win the championship, but Abbottsford wasn’t about to accept defeat without a fight. They piled in four runs before Salmon Arm’s pitching and some spectacular defensive work finally ended the game in a 13-11 final score.
The team was exhilarated about winning the Valley of Champions tournament and were exhausted from playing in the unrelenting heat for three days.
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