Thanks to "relentless hitting and demanding pitching" throughout the playoffs, the bantam AA Cowichan Valley Mustangs won their South Island baseball championship, clinching the title with a 4-3 seven-inning victory over Layritz at Lambrick Fields in Victoria on June 17.
The championship-winning run came on "the kind of set play that gives the coaching staff goose bumps in amazement," in the words of coach Mario Iannidinardo.
Brandon Langer initiated a first-andthird set play to score Cole Anderson with a safety squeeze for the game-winning run. As Layritz tried to tie the score, a throw-out at second base by Brady Radcliffe snuffed out any chance for a comeback and ensured victory for the Mustangs.
Iannidinardo was impressed with the way his players reacted to the stressful situation.
"Feeling the pressures of being the team to beat, the young men kept their composure and pulled it together," he said.
In the regular season, the Mustangs finished first in their age group in the Greater Victoria Baseball Association.
The team also placed third in the May long weekend tournament in Tsawassen, playing against some of the top AA teams in B.C. The Cowichan team nearly made the championship game, falling in extra innings in the semis.
In the playoffs, the Mustangs rallied behind the pitching of Anderson and Kale (The Hoss) Eddy to mercy every team they played before the final.
Iannidinardo praised the veteran leadership and athletic abilities of Zach Waddington and Nicholas Yu, calling them "the engine of the Mustangs," while rookie Cam LeSergent added a key spark.
The season isn’t yet over, as the Mustangs may be hosting their zone championship in late July, gearing up for provincials from July 31-Aug. 4.