There will be another chapter in the 2018 season after all for the majority of the Delta Tigers.
Hours after a stunning semi-final loss at Baseball B.C.’s 15U AAA provincials, the Tigers were approached about joining forces with runners-up Langley Blaze for this weekend’s Western Canadian Championships in Winkler, Manitoba.
In total, nine players and two coaches will be teaming up with seven from Langley and two of its coaches to represent B.C. at the Western showcase.
The late development was certainly a welcome surprise to a Tigers team that looked to be coming out of South Surrey with nothing despite playing outstanding ball for much of the weekend.
Delta scored 34 runs en route to a 3-1 round-robin record to win its pool group and earn a semi-final match-up with the North Shore Twins on Sunday morning.
The Tigers took a five-run lead into the seventh inning when their limited pitching staff caught up to them.
Starter Noah Thomas was forced to leave the game when he threw his maximum pitches in the sixth. Ideally it would be Luke Siemens coming in to mop-up but the standout right-hander was injured on the opening day of the tournament in a key 4-3 win over Whalley after throwing four scoreless innings. So was Boston Warkentin and his 0.92 era thanks to a compact tournament schedule.
The Twins jumped on the precarious situation — scoring six runs in the top of the seventh — highlighted by a bases clearing three-run triple from Ryan Engel with two out.
The Tigers got their first two runners aboard in the bottom of the seventh but the Twins turned a double play to get out of trouble. They went on to win their second straight championship with a 10-0 win over Langley in the final and will represent B.C. at the nationals in Ontario.
“It definitely would have been nice to have Luke in that situation. He has been a horse for us all season but he couldn’t even lift his arm up and was unavailable,” said Tigers head coach Cam Frick.
“They are a good team and I was surprised we were up 7-2. You knew at some point their bats were going to come together and they did that last inning. It was a combination of walks and timely hits.”
Earlier, the Tigers’ run to first place in their pool group was highlighted by a 12-2 victory over White Rock on Friday afternoon. Following an 8-5 defeat to Abbotsford earlier in the day, Delta was in must-win territory against a Tritons team that was 2-0 at the time.
An 11-1 win over Victoria on Saturday morning locked up first place while Whalley blasted White Rock 9-2 to grab the other playoff spot.
“We really have been hitting the ball well and it’s everyone in our line-up,” added Frick.