The Duncan RiverCats’ quest to bring home another peewee AA provincial championship came to an end in the semifinals of their tournament in Mission, but the players came home with many reasons to be proud of their performance.
“Duncan has had some strong ball teams in the past and this team was no different,” coach Warren Hewitt said. “Every team we faced was gunning for us. We saw the best from everyone.”
The RiverCats got off to an exceptional start in their first game as pitchers Connor Caskenette and Kyler Hewitt shut down the Coquitlam Moody bats in a 10-0 victory. Owen Ketch and Jordan Atcheson belted home runs in the win, while Caskenette took game MVP honours.
The Duncan boys kept the momentum going in their second game, a 9-3 win over Prince George. Jordan Atcheson got the start with Atcheson and Nathan Tiemer helping out in the later innings. Nathan Lavallee had five RBIs on his way to being named game MVP, while Arjan Mahnas was a defensive stalwart with some great plays at third base.
The RiverCats earned their third consecutive win by beating Ridge Meadows 7-3. Daniel Larson stepped to the mound in the third inning and battled through a leg injury he had suffered previously with a tenacious pitching performance that was good enough for game MVP honours. Timely batting by Payten Moreside and Mitchell Billings helped the effort.
It wasn’t until their fourth game of the tournament that the RiverCats ran into their first defeat as they were edged 8-7 by Chilliwack in the bottom of the seventh inning. Kyler Hewitt started the game and Tiemer came in to close it out with an MVP performance, while the centrefield defence of Linden Williams helped keep the score close.
The semifinal against Mission was another close contest, but the RiverCats ended up on the short side of a 4-2 final score after a four-hour rain delay. Caskenette delivered another outstanding pitching performance with superb catching from Joran Branting.
Coach Hewitt couldn’t help but give credit to another member of the team for his efforts, even if he didn’t pitch or hit.
“Our team’s batboy Derick Santiago was not only busy collecting bats but was a huge encouragement to the boys in the dugout,” Hewitt said. “The boys fought hard and kept their heads held high.”