VICTORY ROYALE! Host Cardinals Run The Table at the First Annual West Coast Bantam AAA Pre-Season Classic
Posted April 2, 2018
We would like to take this time to thank all 9 other teams for their participation throughout this first annual West Coast Pre-Season Classic, thank you to all the players, parents, families and umpires for spending their long weekend out at the ballpark and making it truly a remarkable weekend of Bantam AAA baseball. Although Thursday evening's weather was a mess and the rest of the tournament was on the cooler side, the sun finally came out and reminded everyone that baseball season is here! A HUGE thanks to all of the West Coast Cardinals parents and families (especially fundraising coordinators Chrissie and Steve Lamourea) for all their help this weekend with field prep, running the prize table, raffle draws and krispy kreme sales. Big thanks also go out to Lou Pote’s Okotoks Dawgs, Cam Frick’s Delta Tigers, Dave Bird, Jeff Hanratty, Kenny and Kaz Kinugawa who were at the tournament all weekend jumping in and helping out with fields ensuring they were ready to be played on for all 27 games.
It should be an exciting year ahead for the West Coast Cardinals. The Cards' season schedule is set to begin on Saturday April 14th with a double header vs. Scott Lunny's Richmond Chuckers, 4pm start time @ Bird Field!
WhiteRockPrep 1 CARDINALS 2 (Semi Final)
All 10 teams had games on championship Sunday but only 4 of them were playing for the grand prize. The semifinals featured 2 Baseball BC teams (White Rock and Langley Blue Prep), 1 Baseball Alberta (Okotoks Dawgs) and the tournament hosts and the lone BC (Minor) Baseball team…the West Coast Cardinals. The Cardinals knew making it into the gold medal final of their own tournament was a must and knowing that they went to their horse, easily the most consistent and relied upon pitcher from their squad last season, Burnaby native Max Yuen. Opposing Yuen from Grant MacDougall’s White Rock squad was tall, lanky, hard-throwing, Chase Marshall. With West Coast choosing to be home for the pivotal semi-final matchup, Yuen squared off against second-year returning vet Diaz to kick off the ballgame. Diaz would fight off a well-executed inside pitch to Yuen and flare it into CF perfectly placed in between Waters at 2, Hendriks at SS and Tong in CF. With the wind swirling heavily and knowing runs would come at a premium in this matchup, MacDougall opted to play for a quick lead having 2-batter and long-time Richmond native Matsunuma sacrifice bunt moving Diaz to 2. With Diaz advancing to 3rd on a pass ball, Yuen would get two huge outs having 3-4 batters Pelton and counter-part Marshall to end the inning and escape unscathed. The bottom half of the 1st saw the Cards’ offence come out firing led by another returning vet in Hendriks who once again proved his ability to be a nuisance for opposing teams at the top of the Cards’ order. Hendriks would promptly single into CF transitioning Marshall from the windup straight into the set. After a Suzuki groundout, 3-batter Tong would work a walk putting runners on the corners for arguably the hottest hitter this tournament and cleanup stick Noah Lefebvre. Lefebvre wasted no time connecting with a hard fastball from Marshall dumping iit nto LF scoring Hendriks with ease making it 1-0 Cards. Yuen would get the Cards’ third hit of the inning loading the bases for Rogers who brought home the 2nd run for West Coast with a groundout. 2-0 Cards after 1.
Bird Field looked in pristine condition on Easter Sunday and with a lot of long-weekend events going on around Gates Park from soccer to softball to baseball to picnics to a massive Persian New Year party we over here quietly had a great semi-final ballgame on our hands. Aside from the vicious Persian New Year music from beyond the fences in RF, the 2nd and 3rd inning saw no problems for Yuen on the mound and he looked to be settling in just nicely. As for the Cards’ offence, the overwhelmingly loud music may have been getting to them affecting them on the basepaths. Despite getting the leadoff batter on for the 2nd and 3rd consecutive inning (something the Cards managed to do every inning in this contest), they erased all chances to score with a popped up bunt where the base runner was doubled up and in the 3rd everyone in attendance could only watch what was supposed to be a safety squeeze turn into a bunted through failed suicide squeeze attempt, eliminating every opportunity they had. Still 2-0 Cards after 3.
The 4th inning saw White Rock make the brutal baserunning mistakes and failed situational hitting that the Cardinals made in the previous 2 innings hurt even more. A wrong pitch call from the coaching staff had 3-batter Pelton drive a high fastball to the fence with 1 out. Marshall would help his own cause out driving Yuen’s full count offering down the 3rd base line scoring Pelton and bringing White Rock within a run. Once again, the offensive 4th for the Cards had Rogers on via. a leadoff walk; however, a poor baserunning decision by the Cardinal pinch runner had (pinch hitter) Heilker’s bat taken out of his hands in an RBI spot with second-year vet Hendriks looming on deck. With that Yam was forced to have Lefebvre take over catching duties for Nagatomo at the plate to avoid burning a pinch-hitting sub without recording a plate appearance. 2-1 Cards after 4.
The top of the 5th saw the biggest play of the game go down. With 1 out and Fletcher on 1st, Yuen caught Fletcher leaning the wrong way and picked him off for the crucial 2nd out of the 5th. 3 pitches later, Richmond native Abraham got a hold of a 1-1 offering from Yuen for a hard double which would have easily scored Fletcher knotting the score at 2s instead Yuen would get the “X-Factor” Nathaniel Factor looking, stranding Abraham in scoring position. In the offensive 5th for the Cards, recently subbed Heilker would reach base to lead off the inning and give way to McRae for running duties, that move proved to be moot as Hendriks would smoke a ball up the middle on the first pitch but Diaz (SS) was shaded directly up the middle for some apparent reason not only taking away a base hit away but turning an easy unassisted 6-3 double play. 2-1 Cards after 5.
We now jump to the top of the 7th where Yuen was quickly approaching the max pitch count. A sharp line drive snagged by McRae at 1B would be the first out of the inning, Yuen would then make quick work of Perozny sitting him down on 3 pitches but at 96 pitches he would have to give way to the reliever. A formidable job by Yuen in his second official start of the year against a tough and scrappy White Rock squad (6 2/3 IP 5 H 1 R 1 ER 8 K) . Southpaw Suzuki, who recently returned from a trip to Japan just a couple days ago came in for the 1 out save. With Fletcher (left-handed stick) due up and already recording 1 of White Rock’s 5 hits on the day, MacDougall decided to counteract the matchup move made by Yam going to Richmond native (yes another one of 5 on White Rock) Josh Lo off the bench to hit. The move would not pan out as Lo was overpowered by 3 fastballs from Suzuki sealing the victory for West Coast and cementing their spot in the gold final against a strong Langley Blue Prep team who were also victorious in their semi-final matchup by a less than exciting score of 13-1 over Okotoks. - LY
LangleyBluePrep 1 CARDINALS 5 (Gold Medal Final)
The Cardinals’ third pitcher to toe the rubber for them on championship Sunday would be the last of the three returning West Coast Bantam AAA players from last season. Last but definitely not least, Cody Hendriks rocking last season’s stirrups took the ball for West Coast facing off against Zachary Laird, the finesse left-hander from Langley. The Cards squared off against this exact Langley team in their first exhibition test of the season back in mid March. Laird proved to be too much for the Cardinals in his brief 2 inning stint on the bump where he pounded the zone and allowed 0 Cardinal hitters to reach base and struck out 4, a great pick for Kennedy (Langley Blue head coach) to throw in the gold medal final. The Cardinals had a luxury of 3 starters to choose from for this game but were more than happy to give the ball to one of the great leaders on this West Coast team this year, the SS, the leadoff hitter and arguably hardest thrower in Cody Hendriks. Hendriks last year had a season that was up and down, a couple unfortunate and untimely injuries set the kid back from performing at his full potential but this year the stud from Coquitlam is more than determined to be the best, be a consummate leader and help bring this team to the top; no better choice to start against arguably the top Bantam PBL team in British Columbia. The Langley Blaze Blue team were fresh off their Arizona trip where they played some very good competition at full 60/90 dimensions, the Blaze are in for a big year as the Kennedy’s squad have yet to lose against a team from BC.
Many people including some from Prep Baseball Report (PBR) were in attendance for this weekend, spending their sunny yet chilly and windy Easter Sunday watching arguably the top team from BC (Minor) Baseball and Baseball BC square off in the gold medal matchup. With both teams undefeated records this tournament on the line, Hendriks faced his counterpart Laird to begin the ball game. Hendriks looked a little too amped up as he walked Laird to begin the ball game and let Laird take second on a wild pitch. But Hendriks would settle the nerves and sit 3 “big boppers” in the Langley lineup down on strikes in order Zischka, Dagg and Lamothe all would K as Hendriks would pump his fist and get right back to work, this time on the offence against Laird. The first offensive inning for the Cards was silent as Hendriks, Suzuki and Tong would all groundout keeping it at zeros after an inning of play.
With Langley’s Knight leading off the inning and down in the count 1-2, Hendriks would plunk Knight to kick off the 2nd. Knight would swipe second and third and promptly score on a Palazoff SAC fly to left fielder Evan McRae putting Langley on the board first. Ring would reach base with 1 out but West Coast’s catcher and last year's Tri-City Bantam AA top catcher Noah Lefebvre would help Hendriks out as the Cardinals would a record a big strike em’ out, throw em’ out to end the top half of the 2nd. 1-0 Langley after 1 1/2 innings. The tournament hosts wasted no time getting that run back for Hendriks as after a 1 out free pass, Max Yuen would work his way around the basepaths eventually scoring from 3rd on a wild pitch knotting things up at 1 after 2 complete.
The third inning saw both pitchers settle in, Hendriks throwing harder than he was to begin the game and Laird looking like mid-season form commanding the bottom of the zone. We jump to the bottom of the 4th where a gold medal final hero would emerge. With Rogers reaching base on a 2 out four-pitch walk and swiping second cleanly, the 2 out clutch hit now needed to come from the bottom third of the Cardinal lineup. With 7-batter and first year Vancouver resident Wylie Waters up at the dish, Waters would drive the full count offering into right field scoring Rogers from 2nd who was off on contact. Rogers would plate the go-ahead run for the Cards, pumping his fist and smiling towards Waters as he crossed the plate. This was the first of 3 RBIs for Waters, in what was a huge game for the 2017 Vancouver Minor Peewee AAA graduate. 2-1 Cards after 4.
The 5th inning saw 9-batter Bruhaug work a 2-out walk off Hendriks who after a shaky start was now dealing, with everyone in the ballpark knowing Bruhaug was taking off during Laird’s at bat, Lefebvre would throw out his second baserunner of the game with a perfect one hop throw to shortstop Max Yuen who laid a phenomenal tag down on Bruhaug to end the threat and the inning, Yuen slamming the ball down towards the mound in exuberant joy as he raced off the field with the rest of the Cardinal 9. 2-1 Cards after 5.
Going into the top of the 6th, Hendriks looked to be in complete cruise control as the second-year vet although faced with the tough task of matching up against the top of the Langley order for the 3rd time this game had no problems. Laird, Zischka and Dagg the 1-2-3 hitters in Langley’s lineup all sat down in order, the latter two of the three going down on strikes looking, giving Hendriks his 10th and 11th strikeouts of the ball game. What Hendriks needed now was some breathing room..and that he got. Lefebvre would hit a hard single up the middle to lead off the bottom of the 6th, Lamourea replaced Lefebvre at first to run as Yuen would knock a base hit into right putting two on and none out for the scheduled batter Rogers. Yam decided to go to his bench replacing Rogers for Giesbrecht, the aforementioned Giesbrecht wasted no time executing a perfect SAC bunt moving both runners into scoring position for second baseman Wylie Waters. Waters jumped on the first pitch offering from reliever Zischka depositing it into right scoring both Lamourea and Yuen and racking up RBI 2 and 3 of the day but most importantly padding the lead to 4-1. The Cards weren’t done there as McRae (who returned from Vegas on Saturday) hit a hard ball up the middle scoring another run and giving West Coast a 4 run lead. 5-1 Cards after 6.
The host team was now 3 outs away from locking up the tournament trophy, still a tall task with returning Blaze players Lamothe and Knight due up first in the order for Langley in the 7th. Lamothe would reach on an error to lead off the 7th, the error didn’t seem to faze Hendriks as #38 rocking the scarlet red, white and black stirrups sat Knight down, striking him out for the 2nd time in the game and bringing the strikeout total up to 12 for Hendriks. With Palazoff being the last hitter for Hendriks before reaching the pitch count limit, Hendriks would quickly put Palazoff in an 0-2 hole before getting the Delta resident to pop up to Suzuki at 1st. Hendriks was simply dominant in this one going 6 2/3 IP 1 H 1 R 1 ER 12 K, Hendriks would thank his battery Lefebvre at the mound before handing the ball off to Suzuki who was making his second appearance on the mound in the same calendar day (this time not a save situation). Suzuki would make things interesting bringing the tying run to the on-deck circle and running the count full against Langley's Winning but #18 would lock Winning up on an inside fastball ending the ballgame and sealing the tournament victory for the host West Coast Cardinals. - LY
CARDINALS 10 DeltaBlue 0 (Round Robin)
The Tigers sent lefty Bartholomew out for the top of the 1st to pitch from the slippery, artificial mound, retiring the Cards’ veteran bats in order. The Cards were thinking that some small ball early on would be the safest bet in the rainy conditions, so they took advantage of some early base-runners by laying down a couple of bunts to reach base and move runners over. They cashed in two of those runners on a couple of wild pitches, put on a few more runners thanks to a walk and a hit-by-pitch, who later scored on a deep flyball off the bat of Hendriks that was dropped in right field. The Cards put up 2 earned and 3 unearned to break out to an early 5-0 lead. They’d tack on an extra run in the 3rd, with courtesy runner Duncan-Wu coming home on another wild pitch. Thanks to another misplayed flyball, this time in centre, the Cards were gifted 3 more unearned runs in the 4th, and that put this game well out of reach. Hendriks and Lamourea took care of business on the mound, both staying under 45 pitches to remain available for subsequent round robin games. The game was called after 4 innings on this ugly night, the Cards shutting out the Tier 2 Tigers 10-0. -JO
Cloverdale 1 CARDINALS 9 (Round Robin)
Game #2 on Friday afternoon was quite a bit dryer than the night before. Originally planned to be played on the dirt field at Town Centre, all games on Friday were moved back over to the turf field. The Cards were the home team this time against the Cloverdale Spurs, who were also 1-0 after winning their first game earlier on Friday. Yuen, the Cards’ returning ace, took the mound for this one and was nothing short of spectacular. 10 strikeouts, 1 hit and 0 walks allowed through 5 strong innings. The first inning was kind to the Cards, as they made the most out of a leadoff single, a walk and two hit-by-pitches, jumping out to a 3-0 lead. They’d hold on to that lead until the bottom of the 4th, where catcher Nagatomo started it with a 1-out single. Maunahan took over on the basepaths, bolted for second and watched the throw down from the catcher sail into centre field, so he got up and scampered to third.
Now this doesn’t show up on the statsheet, but full credit to coach Yam for reading the centre fielder’s deep positioning and waving Maunahan around to score as soon as he saw that the ball wasn’t fielded cleanly. The bats were firing on all cylinders in the 5th, the Cards pounding out 7 hits to add 5 runs to their total. Rogers and Lefebvre recorded the final six outs as the Cards went on to another win, 9-1 over the Spurs. -JO
Okotoks 2 CARDINALS 13 (Round Robin)
The boys were back at it bright and early the following morning at Bird Field for a highly anticipated match-up with the Okotoks Dawgs. With a win, the Cards could lock up top spot in Pool A ahead of their final round robin game later Saturday afternoon. Duncan-Wu got his first start for the Cards, filling the zone early and often. He pitched to contact, allowing one earned run in 3 innings pitched, and the defense behind him did their job. The same cannot be said for the Dawgs’ defense, as they seemingly couldn’t get through an inning without making an error, making life easy for the Cards on offense. They bat around in the bottom of the 1st, the big blow coming from pitcher Duncan-Wu, a two-out, two-run double to the right-centre gap. Later in the 1st, with runners at the corners, Heilker cashed in Duncan-Wu by getting caught in a rundown between first and second, even drawing an interference call! 5 runs scored in the first, and more of the same in the 2nd as they scored 4 more, 3 of which after having two out and the bases empty. Then in the 4th, it was Duncan-Wu again, doing it all for the Cards in this one, driving in two more runs with another double to the fence. They piled on 4 more runs to bring their total for the game up to 13, one more than the number of outs they recorded on offense. The Cards clinched first in Pool A but most importantly a semi-final berth with a 13-2 mercy win over Okotoks. -JO
CARDINALS 13 NorthLangley 2 (Round Robin)
After a lengthy lunch break, the Cards were back on Bird Field to round out their pool play against the North Langley Trappers. Rogers got the start after a brief relief appearance the day before against Cloverdale, but he pitched himself into some trouble in the bottom of the 1st. A leadoff walk followed by a couple of singles loaded the bases for the Trapper’s big catcher Gibson, who drove in the first run of the game with a sac fly. Rogers then re-loaded the bases by beaning the next batter, but was able to escape the inning without any further damage with an infield fly, as well as battling back from a 3-1 count to strike out Langley’s #7 batter. Similar to the Cloverdale game, the Cards got a couple of runs early to build a small lead in the 2nd. Duncan-Wu got it going with his third double of the day, erasing a nervous start by taking a 3-1 lead. It would stay that way until the top of the 5th, where the bats exploded for 6 runs, followed by 4 more in the 6th. Duncan-Wu continued to produce with a hit in both of those innings, finishing the day 6-7 at the plate. Waters’ bat also caught fire, as he broke out for a pair of doubles that were just about carbon copies of each other - over the centre-fielder’s head, each cashing in a run. When it was all said and done, the Cards went home with a second straight 13-2 win and a 4-0 record in pool play, outscoring their opponents 44-5. -JO