The mosquito AA Duncan RiverCats are off to the provincial championships this weekend after winning the Island tournament in Chemainus last weekend.
The RiverCats clinched the Island title with back-to-back wins over Campbell River (10-8) and Port Alberni (13-12), then lost 16-8 to Ladysmith in a game that didn’t have any impact on the standings.
“We played really good games,” head coach Steve Poznecov said. “The players came together when they had to. I think we surprised a lot of parents, too.”
The team hasn’t been together very long, but found a way to come through when it counted.
“They really stepped up,” Poznecov said. “It’s just been five weeks in the making.”
The RiverCats got contributions from throughout the lineup at the Island championships.
Wyatt Blace went 9-for-9 at bat with some smart base running, and provided strong pitching in all three games. Alex Marsh displayed versatility in the infield and outfield. Austin Squire-Ross went 5-for-8 at the plate and struck out five batters as a relief pitcher. Ian Anderton-Teasdale went 6-for-9 and struck out three in a relief appearance against Campbell River.
Jacob Poznecov batted 6-for-9 and started two games as pitcher, dealing four strikeouts and allowing just one walk over three-and-two-thirds innings. Logan Elzinga batted 7-for-9 and struck out the last three batters against Port Alberni to lock up the win and guarantee his team a spot at provincials. Noah Hunt was strong at first base, recording the game-winning out against Campbell River when the ball was hit down the baseline.
Nicholas Wade was 5-for-9 at the plate and versatile in the field, as was Kalan Hammond-Rota, who played infield and outfield. Elijah Vaughan had a great tournament at second base, tagging out two players who attempted to steal. Steve Descoteau showed plate discipline, walking twice against Campbell River. And Fin Klippenstein, a recent pickup to replace the injured Christopher Merry, went 4-for-8 at the plate and filled in the gaps on defence.
The RiverCats are headed to Vancouver this weekend for the provincial championships.
“A lot of them are first-time ballplayers,” Poznecov noted. “So for most of them, this is their first trip to a provincial tournament.”