The Delta Blue Jays are back-to-back national champions following a 7-2 win over Quebec Sunday night at the Ray Carter Cup 15U Baseball Nationals in Laval, Que.
The Jays went 3-1 in the round robin portion of the tournament with wins over Saskatchewan (4-1), Quebec (3-2) and the host Quebec team (1-0) to clinch top spot in their pool and a spot in the semifinals.
Delta dropped their last round robin game 8-3 to Ontario.
In the semifinals, Delta walked off Alberta 6-5 in a thriller to give them a chance to defend their title.
The Jays were never challenged in the championship game scoring four runs in the first and never looked back.
“It’s a very special experience. It was a grind to get back here for sure,” said head coach Cam Frick. “There is very tough competition locally in B.C. and to have such a strong finish to the year to get us back to nationals is an accomplishment in itself. Here at nationals, everything just seemed to click this weekend. Everyone played great. It was a phenomenal experience.”
Frick said the Jays were battle tested going into the nationals playing a lot of close games throughout the season, which ultimately paid off.
“The big thing is we are playing a lot of teams who are great individually, have 18 amazing players, but they are new to playing with each other. It really helped us to have our 15 guys. We did have three pick-ups, but our guys are familiar with our systems, and in those tight games, having those things in place really does help,” he said.
“Our guys played phenomenal. All those close games could have gone either way. Some people say to me that it’s impossible to win all those close games year after year, but our guys are good at handling the pressure and they are use to it when it comes to these big spots.”
Under Frick, Delta won a silver medal in 2019 and gold in back-to-back years.
“Both championship teams are very different teams,” he said. “We had deep pitching both years. Last year our defence was phenomenal, but this year our offence really came alive, especially in the semifinal and the final. We were ready to go against two strong pitchers.”
Frick plans to take a few days off and then get back at it to try and do it all over again next year.
“Will take a week off and next Tuesday start again,” he said. “Consistently year after year, my assistant coaches are experts in what they do. I think we have a good chance to come back. There are 27 AAA teams in B.C., but somehow we manage to find our way back.”
The Jays 2023 championship team included: Carter Bestebroer, Lucas Holt, Tyler McWhinnie, Desi Tregaskis, Hayden Mangat, Mason Dubnov, Jack Redpath, Dylan De Meyer, Toby Wilding, Kesler Curtis, Aldrich Lin, Connor Fischer, Dimitri Papadopoulos, Lucas Yu, Tahano Northey, Nathan Reynolds, Jack Bello, Reece Abbott. The coaches included: Cam Frick, Ford Marcotte, Joseph O’Krafka and team chef Tommy Richards.