Wednesday, 27 July 2011 15:55

Midget Indians make it a championship trifecta

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By Brad Brown — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

An already sweet season got even sweeter last Sunday for Swift Current Minor Baseball as its AA midget Indians repeated as provincial champions, beating the Lloydminster Twins 8-1 July 24.

Zac MacKay and Hayden Johnston shared pitching duties for the Indians, who trailed 1-0 through four innings before dominating the final three.

Saskatchewan Baseball provincials ran last Friday through Sunday in North Battleford.

“The boys celebrated but I’m not sure it’s really sunk in just yet how special this really is,” said Indians head coach Neil Hogg. “Hopefully when they look back at this after a few years they’ll realize how special it is.”

Swift Current opened the weekend with round-robin wins over Wilkie, Saskatoon, and Regina. They then beat Melfort 8-3 in the semifinal to set up their shot at a repeat.

Hogg said the early win over Wilkie allowed him to give some valuable mound time in the next two games to developing pitchers Brayden Karmazinuk and Brandon Schultz.

“Nobody really stuck out as having an MVP sort of weekend,” said Hogg. “It was just an all-around team effort … once we started hitting and got things going, we were really able to put the pressure on.”

The provincial championship was the third of 2011 for Swift Current, following on the heels of AA wins at the mosquito and bantam levels earlier in July. The peewee AA Indians also fared well, reaching their own provincial final before falling to Lloydminster.

It’s not over quite yet either, with the midgets now earning a spot at Westerns and several players from the team slated to join Team Saskatchewan’s entry at the Baseball Canada Cup tournament.

Members of the bantam AA Indians will also represent Saskatchewan at the Western Canada Summer Games.

“Minor Ball always has high expectations of our AA teams and this year we had a very successful season,” said Swift Current Minor Baseball president Louis Cherpin. “We’ve got some great coaches from mosquito to midget, and that definitely makes a difference. Then you have the players wanting to win and the years of hard work that the minor baseball board has put in to make this a successful venue.”

As for the midget Indians specifically, the schedules for Baseball Canada’s Western Canadian championship and the Baseball Canada Cup conflict, meaning they will be without two of their top players for Westerns.

Westerns are scheduled for Aug. 12-14 in Morden, Man. The Baseball Canada Cup takes place Aug. 10-15 in Moncton, N.B. And the Western Canada Summer Games go Aug. 5-14 in Kamloops, B.C.

Win or lose, Hogg says the season is already a success and he’s optimistic there is plenty more where that came from.

“We’re only graduating one guy — Chad Schultz is our only graduating player — so we’ll be fairly strong again next year,” said Hogg. “I’m not exactly sure what the plans are as far as what division we want to enter but the future looks bright.”

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