It was a fitting end to another five fabulous days of baseball at the second annual Kyle Losse Memorial Bantam AAA Tournament.
The Tsawwassen teen, who tragically passed away from complications of a massive stroke in January 2018, would have been in his second season with the host Delta Tigers. The other Bantam AAA program he considered going to was the White Rock Tritons.
The respective B.C. Minor and B.C. Premier powerhouse teams met in Monday’s championship game with the Tritons defeating the Tigers 8-3 at Winskill Park.
It was White Rock’s second win over Delta after opening the tournament with a 5-1 decision in round-robin play last Thursday.
In that game, the Tritons filled out their line-up with some top Bantam age talent that had already made the leap to their PBL junior team.
The rematch saw the Tritons lean on their regulars — led by starting pitcher Jordan Tishler who worked into the sixth and surrendered just one run. Nathaniel Factor recorded the final five outs. Much of their offensive damage was done early on, opening up a 6-1 lead after three innings.
It was to the Tigers’ credit they worked their way back to the final after the opening game loss.
They took care of B.C. Minor rivals North Shore (10-3) and Abbotsford (11-0), setting the stage for Saturday night’s key encounter with PBL regular season frontrunners Langley Blaze. The Tritons provided some help by toppling the Blaze 8-0, with runs against being the tiebreaker.
Delta and Langley battled to a 2-2 tie in 10 innings — giving the Tigers the nod to join the Tritons in the semi-finals. The hosts produced the tying run in the fifth, when Taiyo Boily stole home with two outs, and leaned on outstanding pitching from Ryan Heppner and Noah Cassie.
It was then off to Monday’s semi-finals where more excellent mound work from Carson Latimer and Everett Swaim led Delta to an 8-3 win over the PBL’s North Shore Twins.
It was the second runner-up finish for the Tigers in as many tournaments after falling to Alberta’s Okotokos Academy back in May at the Langley Blaze invitational. There also was a 1-0 semi-final loss at the 14-team Best of the West in Kamloops in April.
Tigers head coach Cam Frick is hoping his team’s consistency will pay off with two big tournaments in the next month — the B.C. Minor and Baseball B.C. Championships.
“The one thing between all three of those tournaments is we have been the only team that has been there on the last day. So that’s something to build off of,” said Frick. “We have some things to work on the next few weeks but we are excited for (the B.C. Minor) provincials that are four weeks from now and will take place right here.”
Frick admitted the 10-inning battle with Langley took his pitching depth further than what he had initially planned out but he also believes his mound talent is deeper than previous years.
“I had to burn Heppner and Cassie yesterday. That was tough. Ideally we only use one of those guys and the other starts the final but it is what it is,” added Frick. (Championship game starter) Hayden (Cuthbertson) probably has the best stuff out of anyone on our team. It’s just the consistency and that comes from not throwing a lot this season or even last with our Bantam AA team.”
Heppner, who grew up with Losse coming through Tsawwassen Baseball, was named the tournament’s MVP for his all-round play. The Tritons’ Brady Wastila earned the Top Batter Award.