Reds sweep the field for trip to B.C.s
Picturesque Springwood Old was the site of some exciting baseball over the weekend, as Oceanside’s Reds went 4-0 and swamped the competition to clinch the AA Mosquito Island Championships.
The three team tourney for players aged 10-11 featured the Reds. Ladysmith Cannons and the Port Alberni Blues. A great weekend of ball with a downpour on Saturday thrown in for good measure.
The hometown Reds, led by head coach Cliff Craven and a strong cast of assistant coaches, opened Friday morning with a 17-5 mercy win over Port Alberni. They picked up where they left off Saturday morning with a huge 11-8 win over the defending champion Cannons.
“It was a see-saw game — we got excellent pitching and timely hitting,” Craven said.
He added his Reds had played Ladysmith three times previously and lost all three. Understandably, the win was a great boost.
“They were through the moon. In our exhibition season we only won two games out of 13 but most of those were against Triple-A teams so we’re just starting to come together.”
Port Alberni turned in the major upset when they beat Ladysmith 11-2 Saturday morning.
Sunday morning, the Reds thumped Port 13-3, setting the stage for their afternoon game against Ladysmith. The Cannons needed to win to prevent Oceanside from running the table.
The red-hot Reds dug deep and were rewarded with a thrilling 11-9 win.
In years past, only one or two AA teams from the Island qualify for the B.C.s, but this year all three will be going, which meant the Island playdown was for seeding, and of course bragging rights and the trophy that goes with it. The provincials are slated for Burnaby July 31 to Aug. 4.
The Reds are coming together at the right time. The team lost 11 straight exhibition games this summer, and Craven said the turning point was when they beat Campbell River’s AAA team 15-11.
Austin ‘Speedy’ Hykaway kickstarted the tourney Friday with a spectacular diving catch in left field.
‘Marvelous’ Marcus Miller turned in a solid effort on the mound. ‘Fast’ Layne Anvelt came through with a number of timely hits. Coltan ‘Six Shooter’ Smith-Lanty led the team defensivley and offensivley. Brendan ‘Boom Boom’ Harstad was the Reds’ sure-handed first baseman. Liam ‘Jeter’ Ballance was the team captain and closing pitcher. Shane ‘Man’ Craven was a wall behind the plate. Liam ‘the Gambler’ Downey sacrificed his body and made a number of great defensive plays. Spencer ‘the Rocket’ Land came through with the pitching and batting all weekend. Tanner ‘Thunderstruck’ Strandberg was the team’s youngest player and pitched in with quick hands and timely hits. Ryan ‘the Hammer’ Young was one of the leaders in hitting. Kyle ‘Cajun’ McMullen was the general in center field, gunning out runners at second base on a regular basis.