The Moose Jaw Little League All-Stars came within one single run of playing for a gold medal at the Minor ‘AA’ championships in Calgary this past weekend.
As it was, a tie in their final round robin game pushed them into the bronze medal contest, where they dropped an 11-5 decision to Rocky Mountain House, Alta. That did little to dampen what turned into an incredible weekend for the local squad.
“From the beginning of our season until now, if we had been playing like we did at the beginning of the season, I would say I wouldn’t have expect to do well at all,” said All-Stars coach Al Tarrant. “But the boys really improved and turned it around for this tournament. We beat some really good teams and tied a good team, so it was a great weekend.”
The All-Stars opened the event with a 19-11 win over Chestermere, Alta. before downing Airdrie, Alta. 9-3 and edging Calgary 6-5. That sent them into their final round robin game against Lethbridge, where they settled for a 2-2 tie. That game ended up meaning more than usual as the two teams ended up tied for first place in their pool with 3-0-1 records. Lethbridge had a better run differential and as a result were put into the gold medal game.
All in all, not a bad weekend, and one Tarrant felt the team could be proud of.
“We didn’t really know what to expect, we hadn’t seen any of these teams before, they were all Alberta teams that we faced and we were kind of going into it blind,” he said. “The boys played their hearts out, and even after our loss in the bronze medal game we didn’t have one sad face from the kids on the team. They all held their heads high and to go three wins, one tie and a loss, they did really, really well.”
With the success of the AAA Minor All-Stars and their gold medal performance at their Prairie Regional tournament, things are looking especially positive for the future of Little League baseball in Moose Jaw.
“Everyone knew this year that the Minor division was going to be strong,” Tarrant said. “So moving forward to next year and the year after, obviously Majors are going to be a strong presence.”