NEW CHAMPIONS – GREAT TOURNAMENT – JAYS FINISH 3RD
The 13th Annual Canada Day Weekend Baseball Blast was a BLAST – lots of very competitive games – 5 going extra innings including 2 in the playoff rounds! Three of the 4 teams who survived the 3 game round robin were the same as last year and one newcomer – Nanaimo Muckers. In the round robin Nanaimo had the best record – going 3 – 0 and having a better runs allowed record than Calgary Diamondbacks who were also 3 – 0. Both the Kelowna Jays and Highline Bears, last years champions and runner up, were 2 – 1. In the Nanaimo/Highline semi final the result was far from predictable as the Muckers pounded the Bears 14 – 4. In the other semi final, a repeat of last years where the Jays won, the Jays pitching fell off the wagon and the D’backs picked up an 8 – 1 win, after their round robin game with the Jays had been a thrilling 5 – 4 overtime win. Well in the final the Muckers tied the game 4 – 4 in the bottom of the 7th, forcing 1 extra inning, which didn’t produce a winner, so this game also went to International Rules. Calgary picked up 3 runs in their half of the International rules inning to none for the Muckers, thus winning their first Championship. International rules are a time saving innovation, to avoid tied games going way too many extra innings, and thus putting the tournament schedule way behind. Each team gets 1/2 inning where they start with a man on 2nd, nobody out, and they play until 3 out. This can also go more than 1 inning but normally, by starting with the runner already in scoring position produces a far faster result.
The Jays played well in the tournament, defeating Parkland White Sox 9 – 4 and Swift Current Yard Goats 5 – 4 in Int. Rules., however losing to Calgary in the round robin, in international rules, 5 – 4. Calgary pitcher Jarod Wong, was named tournament MVP, as he pitched 2 winning games, played first base in their other games, and contributed some key base hits. For Kelowna, center fielder Nick Ono had an outstanding tournament both defensively and offensively. The Jays played outstanding defensively, had some key hits from Riley Jepson, Josh Keithly, Ryan Green, and Trevor Loftstrom. The Okanagan Athletics, after starting the tournament with a one-sided loss to Calgary, bounced back with a good performance in a loss to and older Victoria Mavericks team, and a hard fought win against Swift Current.
All teams, winner and losers, left Kelowna satisfied that it was a great tournament, and Kelowna was a fun place to come, and all want to come back in 2017.