The Carnarvon-based Bantam AAA Victoria Black Eagles baseball team added to their string of victories by winning the North West Regional Baseball Championship in Tacoma, Wa. July 20.
The Eagles crushed the Bonney Lake Outlaws 9-4 in the tournament final to go undefeated and claim the two-day, six-team wooden bat tournament.
Coaches and players now tackle the BC Baseball AAA Bantam League championships in White Rock July 31 to Aug. 3.
The Black Eagles already represent B.C. after winning the Baseball BC Provincials in July, and will advance to the Baseball Canada 15U Boys National Championship Aug. 20 to 24 in Vaughan, Ont.
“It was a new experience for many of these boys playing on a larger, MLB-size diamond in the United States,” said Black Eagles business manager Sean Collett.
“We weren’t sure what to expect. But they adapted quickly and got better as the tournament progressed.”
The Black Eagles started slow in their first game in round-robin play against eventual finalist Bonney Lake. Despite their eight-hit performance and flawless pitching by Matt Collett and Hayden Wilcox, the teams were deadlocked 2-2 entering the sixth inning.
Then Eagle batter Noah Miller singled to right field and lead runner Trey Sjerven scored the winner on an ensuing Outlaws’ fielding error.
In Game 2, the Eagles clawed back from an 8-1 third-inning deficit at the hands of the FCA Knights from Woodinville, Wa. The Knights’ seven-run lead caved in during the fifth inning and the Victoria boys scored nine runs to edge the Knights 10-8.
The playoffs were an anti-climatic affair as the Black Eagles rolled over the Washington Wave 12-0 in a mercy-shortened semi-final and then met their earlier rivals, the Outlaws, in the final game.
This time, however, led by strong hitting and the work of Noah Doorschot on the mound, the Victoria boys crushed the Outlaws 9-4 and walked away with championship rings for the bus ride home.
The Black Eagles now face their most daunting task and it’s not on the baseball diamond: finding the estimated $24,000 to send the team and coaches to Vaughan for the four-day national championships.
Team organizers acknowledge that they’ll need more than yard sales and bottle drives to get them to Ontario in a few weeks.
The Black Eagles are looking for corporate sponsorship to help offset costs to send the team to nationals.
Anyone wanting more information can contact Collett at firstname.lastname@example.org.