First-year midget baseball player Caleb Bymak and second-year veteran Jordan Bieber’s season might be finished with the Yorkton R. Miller’s Midget ‘AA’ Cardinals, however their 2014 baseball campaign still has at least one more leg to go.
That’s because the two Yorkton-based baseball players, as well as Moose Mountain’s Kirkland Chalus, have just been added to the Regina Angels roster for the 2014 Little League Canada Senior League Baseball National Championships in Victoriaville, Quebec, that runs from today through to Thursday, August 7.
But seeing as neither Bieber nor Bymak have any actual experience in Little League baseball, both having played their entire careers under the Baseball Canada brand of youth baseball, the two are heading into the tournament somewhat blind, not knowing what exactly to expect from the competition. “I’m honestly not sure what to expect at all,” offered Bymak. “I think it’ll be interesting and I guess we’ll see what the skill level is like because I have no idea.
“It could be just as strong as Baseball Canada, it could we weaker, I’m not too sure.”
Bieber isn’t too sure about the talent of the competition at the Little League level either. But the second-year midget player believes that it’ll be at least equal to that of the SPBL ‘AA’ league. “I think the style of play and the difficulty will be on par with our league,” offered Bieber, mentioning that it probably won’t be as highly skilled as the Canada Cup which Yorkton Cardinals teammate Tyson Black will be attending (see article ‘Black represents Sask. at Canada Cup’).
However the two Cardinals-turned-Angels do have one way to try and gauge the skill level of the Senior Little League teams simply because they have had the chance to play one of the teams in the tournament not once, not twice but three times this season, winning the most recent meeting 7-6 at the Cardinals’ home tournament a few weeks back.
The thing is, the Senior Little League team they had faced is the same one they now play for, a situation which could have led to awkward encounters in the dugout had Angels head coach Todd Davis not had Bymak and Bieber associate with the team before the picks were made official. “Their coach put a lot into introducing us and we’ve hung out with them before (the picks were made),” mentioned Bymak, adding that ‘a lot of the guys are really nice’ and that they should ‘have a good time playing on this team’ no matter how competitive the rest of the tournament teams are.
However both players are in agreement that, no matter how competitive the tournament may actually be, they will both do nothing but add to the chances of Regina winning the competition. “They (Regina) have good pitching and good defence but I think I’ll contribute to both,” offered Bieber, while Bymak was more up front in that he felt that he (5-4, 66.2 IP, 63 H, 35 ER, 35 BB, 108 K, 3.15 ERA) , along with Bieber (6-3, 57 IP, 51 H, 29 ER, 29 BB, 83 K, 3.05 ERA) were two of the stronger arms in the league; a statement proven by their season long stats.
Both Bymak and Bieber, two of the Yorkton Cardinals three ‘Killer B’s’, also bring a bit of offence to the Angels with Bymak hitting .403 from the leadoff spot, driving in 27 runs and scoring 66 while Bieber hit .379 with 30 RBI and 21 runs scored in a season where the second year star took some time off to heal an injury to his foot; an injury that, according to doctors is a thing of the past. “My foot is good now,” said Bieber, adding, “I got the word from the doctor about two weeks ago that it was 100% healed.”
So while the Angels may be the underdogs at the seven team Senior Little League tournament after their unimpressive 0-5 record a year ago at the same competition, one thing is for certain: both Bymak and Bieber will do their best to ensure a Saskatchewan team does it’s best not only to win the Canadian title, but to also secure a spot in the 2014 Senior Little League World Series in Bangor, Maine, from August 9-16.