It wasn’t an easy road, but the Estevan Tower Wolves have secured a spot in the senior A provincial championship this weekend in Carlyle.
After edging the Findlater Braves 8-7 last Monday in the first game of their second-round qualifying series, the Wolves ran amok in Regina Thursday with a 12-3 victory.
The Braves narrowly avoided being mercied after five innings, but snuck in a run to keep the game going. In the end, it didn’t matter.
Coach Devin Aspinall said his squad has found its pop at the plate.
“The bats were really good, kind of what we expected at the start of the year. They came through in a big way and that’s the way it’s been the last two weeks.”
It didn’t take long for the Wolves to build a commanding lead, punching in two runs in the first inning, four more in the second and five in the third to go ahead 11-0.
“That took the pressure off us and we kind of deflated their tires a bit,” Aspinall said.
The load was shared offensively. Key contributors included Jordan Fieber, who hit a two-run, two-out double in the second inning, Dylan Lafrentz, who bagged two doubles and a single, and Riley Panteluk with a two-run double.
Lafrentz also started the game and pitched five strong innings before giving way to Kris Keating to close it out.
“We went in not knowing what was going to happen,” Aspinall said of the second game, having barely eked out the first win.
The Wolves will face the host Carlyle Cardinals, Lloydminster Blue Jays and Saskatoon Diggers this weekend.
The Cards are a familiar foe. The others, not so much.
The Blue Jays play out of the North Sask. River Baseball League, while the Diggers are from the Saskatoon Men’s Baseball League. Most of them tend to come from centres west of Saskatoon, like North Battleford.
The Diggers may be familiar to Estevan fans. They were the team that lost 1-0 to Carlyle in the final of the 2009 provincials at Lynn Prime Park.
“It’s going to be a very strong tournament,” said Aspinall.
He said Carlyle has added a left-handed pitcher from Moose Jaw to a roster that was likely already considered the favourite.
Still, the Wolves’ sights are set firmly on winning it all.
“It’s easy to say we’re just glad to be there after the long road, but we know we can compete,” Aspinall said.
“We’re not the favourites by any means, but we expect to compete in every game. We could go undefeated or not win a game.”