Many of the top Bantam age teams from the province’s two baseball associations are set to square off at Tsawwassen’s Winskill Park, starting Thursday, for the 2019 Kyle Losse Memorial Tournament.
The five-day event was launched a year ago in memory of the talented Tsawwassen teen who tragically passed away a few months earlier from complications of a massive stroke. Losse would be in his second season as a member of the host Delta Tigers.
The inaugural tournament was a tremendous success, attracting elite teams from the B.C. Minor and B.C. Premier leagues. This year is no different in what will be a preview of the provincial 15U championships come August.
“The Losse family have done a great job putting on a great tournament,” said Tigers head coach Cam Frick. “We are helping out and there are lots of volunteers from Tsawwassen Baseball stepping up too. The best teams want to be here. I think we have five of top seven from the PBL and the same for our league.”
The Tigers came up just short of creating a storybook finish to the 2018 tourney, falling to the Fraser Valley Cardinals in the championship game. They have an excellent shot at making a deep run again and will enter the tournament with a B.C. Minor best 30-3-0 record thanks to key doubleheader sweeps on the weekend against Vancouver and Chilliwack.
“I think the competitive level of our league is a little better than last year and we are a stronger team than last year. Just deeper,” Frick continued. “Last year, we had a 12-man roster and now it’s 15 with a lot of pitchers we can rely on. At times, it’s even hard trying to get innings in for all the guys. That’s why we play a lot of games.
Frick isn’t kidding.
The Tigers will enter their opening game against the PBL’s White Rock Tritons tonight (6:15 p.m.) having played six games in five days, including an exhibition tilt on Wednesday night. There has also been plenty previous tournament action, including a second place at last month’s Langley Blaze tournament where they fell to Alberta’s Okotoks Academy in the final. They enjoyed a strong showing in Kamloops as well.
Following the White Rock match-up, the Tigers will continue round-robin play with a pair of games on Saturday against Abbotsford (9:30 a.m.) and B.C. Minor’s North Shore (6:30 p.m.). They will also face the Langley Blaze on Sunday (6:30 p.m.).
The top two teams from each pool group cross over for the semi-finals on Monday with games scheduled for 9:30 a.m. and noon. The final goes at 3 p.m.
Niki and Brian Losse envisioned a year ago the tournament played in their son’s memory would expand and that’s what has happened for the 2019 edition.
A Pee Wee (13U) AA Division has been added bringing all three Winskill Diamonds into play.
The entries include the Tsawwassen A’s, Ladner Red Sox, Campbell River, North Langley, Penticton, Vancouver and Victoria.
The Pee Wee tourney will wrap-up on Sunday.