Mike Arscott singles for the Cowichan Valley Mustangs in a game at Evans Park earlier this season. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Midget Mustangs take aim at provincial success

Cowichan Valley baseball team is a legitimate contender

For the second year in a row, the Cowichan Valley Mustangs are major contenders for the BC Minor Baseball midget AAA provincial championship.

“We’re pretty close to what we were last year,” said Ken Ramwell, head coach of the Mustangs, whose 29-5 record trails only the 30-3 defending champion North Fraser Nationals.

The season has gone exceptionally well for the Cowichan team, other than a couple of tournaments, including the Baseball BC 18U Tier 2 provincial tournament in Surrey on July 4-6, where the Mustangs went 1-3.

“We’ve lost more games in two tournaments this year than we have in league play,” Ramwell pointed out.

The Mustangs plan to perform better at the BC Minor Baseball provincials coming up in Victoria on Aug. 8-11.

“We’re trying to get ready for that one,” said Ramwell, whose team has just four regular-season games left, all this weekend.

The top eight teams in the midget AAA league qualify for provincials, and there’s no way Cowichan can slide out of playoff position. There’s a “slight possibility,” Ramwell contends, that if all goes well down the stretch, the Mustangs could move into first place.

The Mustangs edged the Victoria Eagles 2-1 at Lambrick Park on Wednesday, and played an exhibition against the visiting team from Unión de Reyes, Cuba at Evans Park on Thursday night. Their opponents this weekend include the sixth-place Ridge Meadows Royals on Saturday and the 14th-place Richmond Chuckers on Sunday.

After that, Cowichan will have two weeks to prepare for the provincial tournament in Victoria, and Ramwell expects his team to do well there.

“We have a good chance of winning,” the coach said. “I’d be happy if we won, or at least made it to the final two.”

North Fraser won the provincial title last year, shocking both Cowichan and the Kelowna Sun Devils, who had led the league all season. The Mustangs believe things will be different this year.

“We have all the confidence in the world that come that provincial championships, the Cowichan Valley Mustangs, with their seven graduating players, are going to be a force and the team to beat for the rest of the teams,” Cowichan manager Geoff Linn said.

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