Westman dominated the provincial Midget AAA baseball championships on the weekend in Morden, and in the end it was Midwest that got all of the bragging rights.
Midwest and the Brandon Knights went head-to-head in Sunday’s final and Midwest broke open a 4-4 tie with six runs in the top of the seventh inning to beat the Knights 10-4 and claim the provincial crown.
The rural squad never trailed during the game, and head coach Derek Shamray admitted beating a regional rival was the icing on the cake to becoming a champion.
“It’s very good,” he said. “We’ve had a nice little rivalry with the boys from Brandon for a while, since the boys were 11 years old. They’re a very good team and a tough team to beat, so it feels good.”
Midwest had a solid tournament, finishing second in its pool with a 3-1 record before topping Red River 9-5 in the semifinals to set up the all-Westman clash.
Dayton Heino picked up the win on the mound and scored three times in the final, while Adam Robidoux had a pair of hits, scored twice and drove in another run for Midwest. Brody Smith also had a run scored and driven in for a group of players that never let anything bother them during the event.
“A couple times all weekend whenever they got down a little bit, they always responded and put a run or two up and responded right off the bat,” Shamray said. “It was a very good weekend.”
Brandon, meanwhile, had its back against the wall for most of the tournament. The Knights dropped their opener on Friday and knew they had to win their next three just to make the playoffs, which they did.
Sunday proved to be a marathon for the Knights as they had to take on Bonivital in a tiebreaker at 8:30 a.m., which they won 6-4, before edging Winnipeg South 3-2 in the semifinals.
The exhausted team then went into the provincial final, which was their third game of the day.
The tiebreaker, however, forced the team to use up extra pitchers earlier in the event and Brandon just couldn’t complete the comeback in the final. Dale Penner took the loss on the mound, while Marshal Burgess had a pair of hits, scored twice and drove in another run. Mitch Lyall doubled and collected two RBIs in the losing cause.
This was the second weekend in a row Brandon lost a provincial final — the Knights dropped the Midget AA championship game in Neepawa on July 20 — but head coach Brad Schoonbaert couldn’t have been prouder of how his team battled in Morden.
“They had to play three games (on Sunday) and they gutted it out,” he said. “We were 4-4 going into the seventh. We played all day long and we never got a break. We never got to go eat. It was just play, play, play, play. They did an absolutely unbelievable job.”
The baseball season isn’t for either squad. Midwest will play in the national Midget AAA championship in Magog, Que., from Aug. 14-18, while Brandon will take part in the Western Canadian championship in Chilliwack, B.C., from Aug. 22-24.