High school baseball bragging rights in southwest Manitoba will be up for grabs in the provincial championship semifinals today at Andrews Field.
The host Vincent Massey Vikings will meet the Boissevain Broncos at 11:30 a.m., with the winner earning a chance to play for a provincial championship at 5:30 p.m.
After cruising through the preliminary round, the Broncos were faced with a challenge in the quarter-finals. Jay Pringle scored on a Jordan Foote single in the bottom of the sixth to cap his complete game three-hitter on the mound as the Broncos edged the Virden Golden Bears 2-1.
“It’s good to show that we can handle pressure,” said Pringle, who struck out 10 batters. “It was a light, loose game the first two and then we struggled a little bit right off the start, but we found it at the end to get our two runs to win.
“I knew we’d come around; we always do. In the wildcard game we got our three runs in one inning and that’s what got us through the game and we did it again.”
Carter Cowlthorp, who was 3-for-3 in the quarter-final, scored on an overthrow in the sixth inning for Boissevain.
Ethan Strain scored Virden’s run in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by Brandon Masson. Marc Fleury went the distance on the mound for the Golden Bears, scattering seven hits and striking out four.
Meanwhile, the Vikings exploded for six insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth as they beat the Morden Thunder 11-4 in their quarter-final. Clark Whelpton threw a complete game in which he allowed eight hits and struck out five, while Jordy Stallard was 2-for-3 with two runs and a pair of RBIs.
The Vikings trailed by a single run going into the bottom of the first and third innings, but replied both times to take the lead, which Stallard felt was key to getting the win.
“A little (concerned to be trailing) maybe, but we kept it together, kept our game, got on our sticks and played good defence,” he said. “That’s so important just as soon as they get those runs to get back on the sticks and rebound right then.”
Brett Kitt drove in four runs for Massey, while James Shearer scored three times.
The Westwood Warriors edged the Dauphin Clippers 1-0 in Friday’s other quarter-final late last night.
The W.C. Miller Aces will take on the Stonewall Rams in the fourth quarter-final this morning at 9 a.m.
Pringle is anxious to hit the diamond to determine Westman bragging rights, but he’s also glad to know the region will be represented in the provincial final as well.
“It’s good to show that this is the strongest area for ball and not up in midwest and south central where everyone thinks it is,” he said.
In Friday’s other games:
Virden 5 Steinbach 0
Wyatt Kalynuk surrendered only two hits and struck out five to lift the Golden Bears (1-1) into the playoffs. Kyle Braybrook was 1-for-3 with a run and an RBI for Virden. Noah Vogt took the loss for the Sabres (0-2).
Westwood 3 Pilot Mound 0
Chris Wilson and Ben Schmidt combined for a no-hitter for the Warriors (2-0), while Connor Schmidt was 1-for-2 with two runs. Will Lovell took the loss for the Pilots (0-2) despite going the distance and allowing three runs on five hits and striking out seven.
Morden 6 Pilot Mound 0
Dustin Wiebe went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs and two RBIs as the Thunder (1-1) earned their spot in the quarter-finals. Brandon Hatley threw a complete game and allowed just two hits and struck out 10 for the win. Brad McLeod took the loss for the Pilots.
Stonewall 6 Gladstone 5
Brendan Labossiere’s single in the top of the seventh drove in Bob Procter for the winning run as the Rams (1-1) secured a place in the quarter-finals with a come-from-behind win. Ryan Humeniuk earned the win, while Kain Kramer took the loss for the Warriors (0-2).
Trey Evenson was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI for Gladstone, which scored four runs in the first inning.
Dauphin 6 Otter Nelson 1
Jared Lacoski threw a complete game one-hitter and struck out nine as the Clippers (1-1) advanced to the quarter-finals. He also was 1-for-2 with a run scored for Dauphin, which pulled away with three runs in the third. Ashton Ross was tagged with the loss for the Nikiks (0-2).
W.C. Miller 9 Steinbach 1
Josh Driedger earned the win for the Aces (2-0), who scored six runs in the first inning. Sam Friesen went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs as Miller clinched first place in its pool. Tyson Kehler took the loss.