The Delta Tigers made a lasting impression in their final game in the B.C. Minor Baseball Association.
The Tigers are the provincial organization’s 2019 15U AAA champions after capping a perfect weekend at Winskill Park in Tsawwassen with a 3-0 win over Chilliwack on Sunday afternoon.The B.C. Premier Baseball League bound team has three B.C. Minor titles, a runner-up finish and a semi-final appearance since its inception five years ago.
This time they relied on superb pitching and defence, plenty of drama and even a little bit of trickery to get the job done.
Delta produced a 2-1 walk-off win over Ridge Meadows to open the championships on Friday night when Yonatan Marom’s double scored Taiyo Boily in the bottom of the eighth. Everett Swaim and Ryan Heppner looked after the pitching duties, combining for 13 strikeouts.
There was more extra inning drama in Saturday’s semi-final as the Tigers tied the game with two out in the bottom of the seventh then pulled out a 2-1 win over Chilliwack when Kenny Scott scored on an overthrow after stealing a couple of bases. Noah Cassie and tournament MVP Heppner provided more excellent mound work.
Right-hander Carson Latimer went the distance in the championship game, allowing just two hits, one walk and striking out 11, as Delta took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth before adding a pair of insurance runs.
“Our pitching was phenomenal and we didn’t even use all our top guys this weekend. We didn’t strike out as many guys as we have throughout the year but our defence was outstanding too,” said head coach Cam Frick. “Without solid defence, in Friday night’s game and yesterday as well, we could have lost for sure.
“It was a coin flip against Ridge. Hayden (Cuthbertson) made a huge catch in right field in the top of the eighth. Then we got a clutch hit in the bottom half. Yesterday’s game was back and forth trading chances too. Today was intense. They had their one big pitcher left (to face us) and we had to make him work.”
Chilliwack threatened in the top of the fifth with two on and no outs.
That’s when Lattimer faked a throw to second base that sent both infielders sprawling. The Chilliwack runner broke for third and was easily thrown out. The threat ended soon after.
“I never thought I would see a hidden ball trick in a provincial final,” laughed Frick. “We practiced that for the first time on Wednesday. Carson didn’t look nervous at all out there. I thought he was in control the whole game.”
Next up for the Tigers is Baseball B.C.’s national qualifier tournament in Maple Ridge two weekends from now.
It will feature the top 12 teams from B.C. Minor and the PBL. It’s a tournament Delta has yet to win.
“Play like we did this weekend and we will have a good chance,” added Frick. “I’m very confident we are the top team in the province in both leagues.
“If our pitching and defence were like they were this weekend and our bats click a little bit we are going to be tough to beat.”
The Tigers roster also features: Jadon Nager, Will Anderson, Diego Fuentes, Tyson Dingsdale, Will Anderson, Justin Zabudsky, Jaren Yamaoka and Malakai Dubreuil.
Rounding out the coaching staff are: assistants Ford Marcotte, Dirk Van Ommen, Tim Frick. Pitching coach Dave Emey. Graduate assistants: Caleb Cassie and Michael Tersigni.