Yorkton’s Joseph Sliva is going to trade in his Cardinals uniform for an Indians jersey on August 16. He was invited to play for the Swift Current Indians in the Western Peewee ‘AA’ Baseball Championship Tournament.
“I’m very excited to play for Swift Current,” said Sliva, who has been told he will play centre field for the Indians. “I was very happy when I found out I’d get a chance to play at Westerns for Swift Current.”
The event is the most prestigious peewee baseball tourney in Western Canada. It entails the provincial champions from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and the host team, which is Swift Current this year.
Indians coach Ken Wall is excited to have Sliva on his squad.
“We have been watching Joseph closely and have heard a lot about him,” he said. “We want him on our team to play on the team. He won’t just be an extra.”
Sliva just finished his season with the Yorkton peewee ‘AA’ Cardinals a couple weeks ago. He helped lead them to the provincial final where they fell to the Humboldt Dodgers. Despite the great accomplishment, Sliva is unsatisfied with the second-place finish.
“I wish we would have won – that was the goal,” he said. “It would have been nice to play in Westerns for Yorkton. But we had a good season. We made it far and played good in provincials.”
Although this is the first time that Sliva will play in the Westerns, he has been to the tournament before. He was the batboy when coach Cliff Leschyshyn took the Yorkton Speedy Cash Cardinal bantam team to Cold Lake, Alta., to represent in Saskatchewan in 2007. His first experience at Westerns wasn’t a pleasant one, though. He took a bat to the face because a warm-up batter wasn’t aware he was standing nearby.
“This time will be better,” said Sliva on his second time at Westerns. “Last time I wasn’t playing and getting hit with the bat hurt, but this time I’ll be playing and it should be a lot of fun.”
In preparation for the tournament, Sliva has been practicing with his brothers – Jason, Tim and Eric. His three older siblings have been helping him prepare for Westerns just as they have during his entire minor baseball career.
“They have helped me a lot on and off the field in baseball,” said Sliva. “I have to thank them for how they have helped me. It’s great to have older brothers like them to help coach me.”