Tigers triumph in Richmond

Bantam AAA team show they are provincial contenders with tourney win

A year ago they proved to be no expansion pushover. Now the Delta Tigers are legitimate provincial championship contenders. The Bantam AAA baseball team confirmed that status by capturing Richmond City Baseball's Queen Victoria Day Invitational over the long weekend. The Tigers rolled to five straight victories in what was considered the most deepest field in the tournament's history. Delta defeated the host Chuckers 3-0 in the championship game Monday after hours earlier knocking off Alberta's Okotoks Black Dawgs 3-2, the defending champion.

The Tigers made an instant impression in 2015 as a first-year program thanks to the support and talent from Delta's three minor baseball associations - Tsawwassen, Ladner and North Delta. They were one of eight teams to earn provincial berths and narrowly missed out on advancing to the semi-finals.

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Cam Frick was named B.C. Minor Baseball's U15 coachof-the-year for his efforts. The sophomore bench boss says the 2016 squad is set-up to succeed further thanks to a roster full of second-year players and plenty of pitching depth which bodes well for tournament play.

"Last year, we came in as a big underdog and now teams are taking us seriously," said Frick. "We are seeing a lot of the teams best pitchers every time out and it has been good for us. It gets us in a good situation and mentally prepared in that we are used to seeing good pitching.

"We made the call to go with 14 players this year. We took a couple of extra guys mainly as pitchers and it's showing now. We are a deep team and hopefully (this tournament win) is a sign of more good things to come."

The Tigers received a solid outing from Caleb Cassie in their 7-5 opening round-robin win over White Rock. Delta then rolled past Tri-City 8-3 to set up a quarterfinal date with Victoria Black, featuring the third and fourth place teams in the B.C Minor Bantam AAA League respectively.

Ethan McDougall was ready for the challenge and the Tigers came through with a 7-3 win. It was then up to Sean Sasaki to face powerhouse Okotoks and the lefty was superb in nearly going the distance. Delta broke a 2-2 deadlock in the bottom of the sixth and Braedy Euerby came on in relief to record the final two outs of the game.

Euerby, one of just two firstyear Bantams on the team, got the call in the final and was looking to duplicate a 3-1 win over Richmond a month earlier. The Ladner native was outstanding, limiting the Chuckers' talented line-up to four hits and no walks in six innings of work.

He also received some timely defensive plays on line drive hits that were turned into rally-killing double plays. The Tigers scored runs in the first, third and fifth inning. It was all they would need. Cassie got out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the seventh to earn the save.

"You have to give (Euerby) a lot of credit," said Richmond head coach Alex Klenman."To be able to throw two pitches consistently for strikes at this age level is tough. We would like to get him again at some point. It was like watching a replay (of the first game)."

Frick is all too familiar with the Chuckers program, having played under Klenman for his second-year of Bantam back in 2008. He also coached in Richmond before making the move back to his hometown.

"A couple of times Alex came over, looked at me and just smiled," laughed Frick. "He knows I have him read pretty good. They are a very solid team."

The Tigers roster also features: Sean Brownem Connor Baily, Sean Heppner, Jared Romaniuk, John-Pablo Wilson, Dylan McLeod, Reilly Noble, Travis Miller, Matt Payne and Max Ghilarducci.

Extra innings...

Sasaki has also been outstanding at the plate in a lead-off role - batting .549 for the season with a whopping 29 stolen bases. He also leads the team in hits (39) and RBIs (19).

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