The Yorkton peewee AA Cardinals endured a busy week of baseball to prepare for the Sask. Peewee AA Provincials on July 19-21.
The Cardinals’ week of action was highlighted by their playoff game against Weyburn in the Regina ‘AAA’ league’s first round of playoff action. Weyburn, who Yorkton split their four games of regular-season play with, came out aggressively in the first inning, scoring five runs against Yorkton Starting pitcher Keenan Taphorn mainly due to some untimely errors and bloop singles with two out. But the Cardinals settled down and whittled away at the Weyburn lead. Gregor Farquharson took over the ball from Taphorn in the fourth inning with the Cardinals trailing 5-4 and held the game close. In the top of the fifth inning, Weyburn crossed the plate with another run and were threatening with a guy on second when the Cardinals went to their closer Braden Kitchen to shut the visitors down. A sharp ground ball was stopped at third base by Tanner Melynchuk for a start of a third-to-second double play to get out the inning. Heroics continued at the bottom of the fifth inning when Cam Zamonsky nailed a deep centre field two-run homer to tie the game at six. Kitchen continued on the mound to shut down Weyburn in the top of the sixth to set up the last bat for the Cardinals. With the possibility of the game going into extra innings, Kitchen played hero behind the plate by stroking a long hit over the fence in left-centre field for a walk-off game-winning home run to capture the win.
The victory advances the Cardinals to the semi final, where they will play the first-place Regina Buffaloes.
Back at practice, the Cardinals were pleasantly surprised with special guests. The WMBL Cardinals took time out of their schedule to have 12 players help the peewee club hone their skills.
“The team would like to thank the Cardinals for giving back to the community,” said head coach Larry Kitchen.
On the weekend, the Cardinals headed to Melville for a tournament. With AAA teams from Alberta and Sask. there, Yorkton was put to the test.
Friday action started with the Yorkton team taking on the Moose Jaw Mets. Joseph Sliva was handed the ball and kept his team in the game throughout the contest. Montana Johnson and Jordan Repsch came in to pitch later on in the game to secure the win.
Yorkton’s next game came against the Saskatoon AAA Cardinals. They bested their opponents 12-4 with strong defensive play along with elite pitching from Keenan Taphorn.
The Cardinals followed up their victory with another against Medicine Hat. The Alberta team jumped out to a quick three-run lead, but the Cardinals were able to stay close until breaking the game wide open with five runs in the fourth inning to take the lead. Pitchers Braden Kitchen, Kaeden Taphorn and Dylan Novak combined to hold the Medicine team at check.
The 3-0 record placed Yorkton in first spot in their pool, putting them up against the Saskatoon Blue Jays, who dominated preliminary action, in the semi-final.
Kaeden Taphorn started on the mound and had a masterful display against the Blue Jays. He overpowered the batters with his fastball and held them off balance with a good change of speed fork-ball. But despite his great performance, errors led to the demise of the Cardinals as they fell 7-4.
Even though Yorkton came up short, the Cardinals head coach was very pleased with his club’s efforts.
“The team is now playing the best its played in the year,” said Kitchen. “If anyone would ask if they would be satisfied with a semi-final loss to the best team in Sask., they would say yes.”
With their busy week wrapped up, the Cardinals are now focusing in on the provincial play downs this upcoming weekend.
The club has been impressed with the community’s support in hosting the tournament.
“We’ve been overwhelmed with the support from the local businesses and are major sponsors for the weekend: Repsch Agri, E&S Morrison Family Holdings, BHP Billiton, McMunn and Yates, Everlast Eavestrough and Exterior, Mr.Mikes,” said Kitchen.
Play starts Friday at 12 p.m. And the opening ceremonies and the skills competition takes place at the Senior Cardinals diamond at 6:30 p.m.
The Cardinals are placed in a pool with North Battleford, Martensville, and Weyburn. The opposing pool has teams from Lloydminster, Humbodlt, Swift Current and Prince Albert.