Hello to all loyal followers of PBA Baseball. The previous week had a series of enthusiastic practices that set the tone for an exciting weekend. The highlight of the week was Thursday’s handball game. Team Mac vs. Team Hebert was an all-out battle that saw Coach Mac carrying his team to a 28-23 win. Questionable officiating, dirty play and some great displays of athleticism all contributed to a great game. Overall the boys left the yard on Thursday scraped, sore and smiling as the “friendly” competition made the team even more eager to get conference play underway.
As previously mentioned our season would begin in Kelowna against the Okanagan College Coyotes. The Coyotes are consistently one of the top teams in the CCBC so a successful weekend would require all hands on deck. Scotty G would get the nod for the start on the first day of conference play. PBA would score first getting an early 1-0 lead but ultimately, came out flat, surrendering five runs in the first two innings. Free passes and defensive miscues hurt the team in the early innings of the Saturday afternoon game. The Coyote pitching silenced the academy bats as the Dawgs were unable to score for the next five innings after scoring in the first. The bats slowly began waking up in the late innings as the boys would score in the 6th and 7th before tying the game in the top of the 9th. However, the tie game did not last long as OC would score in the bottom of the 9th winning the game by a score of 6-5.
Jack Henley took the mound for PBA in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader. The boys came out of the gate on fire scoring six runs in the first two innings of the contest. A commanding 6-1 lead after two innings was quite enough for Jacko who was very strong for the Academy. The team, however, failed to put the Coyotes away, and OC would strike in the 5th and 6th for five runs tying the game at 6-6 heading into the 7th. Kale Penner would keep the score tied allowing PBA to manufacture a run in the top of the 9th taking the lead 7-6. Tragically, OC would again respond in the bottom of the 9th. For the second time on Saturday a base hit down the right field line would result in the Coyotes walking off the Dawgs winning the game by a score of 8-7.
Sunday’s games had a sense of urgency surrounding them as the boys knew they needed to win both games to split the weekend. Liam Sabiston toed the rubber for the academy in the third game of the weekend. Sabadoo rose to challenge the situation and was utterly magnificent for the Academy in the third game of the weekend. Sab had the Yotes lost at the plate as he was hitless through 6 2/3 innings. Ultimately, Sab would throw seven fantastic shutout innings providing a boost to a team in need of a win. The Dawgs bats would support Sab with four runs highlighted by a multi-hit two-RBI game by Jayden Buxton. Duncan Elgert would slam the door on the game shutting down OC in the 8th and 9th. Looking to split the weekend Coach Hubka gave the final start of the weekend to freshman Josh Fisher. The boys would score early in this game again pushing three runs across in the 2nd and another across in the 3rd. Fisher was effective on the mound but came out of the game after the third giving the ball to the bullpen. Kai “Big Country” Poffenroff was exceptional out of the pen. Kai threw the crap out of the ball for the dawgs rendering the Coyote bats useless for the last six innings of the game. His cold blood and pound the strike zone approach helped the team to sweep Sundays games.
This past week was special for Alumni Andrew Case. Caser is a pitcher in the Toronto Blue Jays organization, and he was in Montreal for the two-game pre-season series against the Phillies. Case would get his opportunity in the second game throwing a perfect seventh inning. Andrew spends his winters in Lethbridge training with the team and is a guest coach for the JV team. Case provides an example of how to compete and play the game with an attitude. Seeing his success at the professional level is assurance that this program plays the game the right way. Players look up to Andrew and will continue to follow him on his journey to the major leagues.
The Junior Varsity team also began their season this week. Their first two games of the 2018 season took place on Tuesday against the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball. The team would ultimately drop both of the games. However, both of the games were long overdue and being outside was a treat in by itself. The JVs left Lethbridge Wednesday afternoon for BC to play games in Kelowna and Kamloops. The Varsity roster features 13 Junior Varsity alumni this year, and the developmental team is critical to the success of the program.
Overall the first weekend was competitive and intense with four very close contests. Each game was up for grabs, and it will be the team's goal to recreate the intensity and performance of Sunday’s matches this weekend. PBA has a four-game series against Thomson River University this weekend in Kamloops. TRU’s student section is consistently loud and vocal making it one of the more difficult parks to play in. Keeping focused and building upon last weekends performance will be necessary for the Dawgs this Easter week.
Welcome, all loyal fans and followers of the Prairie Baseball Academy. The weekend started on good Friday at 9 am when the team would leave Lethbridge for Kamloops. Unfortunately, the bus did not have a table, so no poker games were played. The drive was still eventful, however, as the team was sent through a blizzard in the mountains on the trip. Alberta weather seems to be following the team around as of late as the boys cannot escape the snow. An early departure allowed the team to arrive at the Ramada at around 6 pm enabling for dinner and bed at a time similar to any other day.
The first game of the weekend was a pitching duel between Tyler Hodder of TRU and our own Scotty G. Despite not having his best stuff Scott battled against the Wolfpacks bats and their loud student section. PBA found itself holding a slim 4-3 lead heading into the late innings of the first game of the weekend. Tragically, the Dawgs were unable to keep another lead. A ninth-inning collapse saw the team dropping the game 5-4. The hitters were unable to cash in bases-loaded opportunities early in the game, and the pitching staff surrendered 15 free passes on the mound. In the second game, Jack Henley took the mound for the Dawgs hoping to salvage the day. The team seemed unable to recover from the disappointment incurred in the first game of the day. A frustrating match saw lackluster efforts from the boys. An uninspired attempt resulted in the team dropping the game by a score of 8-0. For the second weekend in a row, the Dawgs dropped the first two games of the series.
The team needs to find a way to compete for Saturday’s games as the efforts displayed this far in the season have not been acceptable. All three aspects of the game need improvement as the team as a whole is losing games not one individual aspect of baseball. Needing to clear their heads the team would head back to the hotel in search of some must needed rest. A forecast of inclement weather threatened Sunday's games. The weatherman was calling for both snow and rain so getting a quick start was very important. Liam Sabiston toed the rubber for the Dawgs in the Sunday morning game. The PBA bats showed up for Sunday’s games as the position players punished Thompson River’s pitching. Jaret Semeniuk carried the offense in the first game highlighting a multi-hit game with a three-run home run to right field. Ultimately, the offense was sound for the 3rd game posting 11 runs. Josh Fisher had the ball looking to split the weekend against TRU. The skies opened up for the final game of the series, but Josh would throw well early in the game allowing the bats to erupt again. The Dawgs put up multiple consecutive crooked numbers capped off by a five-run inning that saw the Dawgs take a commanding lead. Ultimately, PBA would score 15 runs in the game with contributions from all parts of the lineup including a three-hit day for Kevin Floyd. With an established lead, Kai Poffenroff was phenomenal once again for PBA, demoralizing the TRU bats and giving them no hope for a comeback.
The trip to Kamloops was the final road trip for the team until championships in may. Overall, the seven consecutive weekends on the road was a testing period for the team. With a freshman roster, the transition to a college schedule with heavy travel was challenging. This weekends series against Calgary has been canceled as snow continues to fall in Southern Alberta. The team has taken a few days off baseball and will begin to practice again Thursday looking to prepare for games on April 14th and 15th against Calgary. Stay tuned to prairiebaseballacademy.com for all game updates with pending inclement weather for the province.
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