Host Mustangs play spoiler at provincials

The host Cowichan Valley Mustangs split their four games as hosts of the peewee AAA provincial baseball championships on the weekend.

The host Cowichan Valley Mustangs split their four games as hosts of the peewee AAA provincial baseball championships on the weekend.

Opening with an entertaining 20-11 loss to the eventual champions from Kamloops last Thursday, the Mustangs went on to defeat Burnaby 5-2 on Friday, then lose 14-6 to Victoria on Saturday morning. They finished the tournament with an 11-4 victory over Ladner, playing spoilers as the win over Ladner gave Victoria the tiebreaker, eliminating Ladner and sending Victoria through to the playoff round.

“They played as a team, the way they usually do in tournaments,” head coach Mike McKinlay said. “I was proud of them. They gelled and played very well together as a team. They didn’t play as individuals. It was a team effort.”

In their tournament opener, the Mustangs fell behind the Kamloops Riverdogs 6-0 in the first inning, but rebounded to make a game of it with eight runs of their own in the second before eventually settling for the 20-11 loss.

Kamloops would go on to beat Aldergrove in the championship final. The Riverdogs also won the qualifying tournament the week before to represent B.C. at the national championships in London, Ont. Those two huge victories made Kamloops look unstoppable, but McKinlay didn’t think that was true.

“They had some big kids, but they were beatable,” he said.

According to McKinlay, all the visiting teams were impressed with the job the Mustangs and the organizers did as hosts.

“Duncan Baseball did a good job,” he said. “There were no problems. Everyone enjoyed it. They loved the facilities. That was the one thing they all said, what beautiful fields we have, and that it was nice to have all the games in one place.”

With the exception of three players who have another year of peewee eligibility, the bulk of this season’s AAA Mustangs team will move on to bantam, which they will get a taste of during fall ball in September.