Regina Bantam ‘AAA’ Baseball League season hasn’t been kind to the Yorkton Bantam Cardinals.
The Bantam Cards struggled all season long, going just 2-20 in 22 regular season games, good enough for dead last in the seven team league.
In most leagues a last place finish and 20 games below .500 would mean no post-season, however that’s not the case in the Regina ‘AAA’ league as every team qualified for the playoffs, meaning the Bantam Cards had another shot at shocking the Saskatchewan baseball world.
Instead things unfolded simply as they should (as determined by past results), with Yorkton dropping Game One of the double elimination tournament to the Regina Buffalos 7-0 before falling 10-8 in a hard fought game to the Moose Jaw Mallards to go winless in the playoffs and give the Cards a 2-22 record in regular and post-season league play.
But the two losses, according to Bantam Cardinals head coach Kevin Shirtliffe, do not accurately reflect how well his team played in the playoff tournament. “Yeah we ended up losing a couple of games once again but we played some really good ball,” offered the Bantam head coach. “We were getting balls in play and coming up with some hits. In our second game we actually scored eight runs which is something we haven’t done in a long time.
“It’s just unfortunate that our pitchers ran into some command problems, put some guys on and ended up giving up 10 runs.”
And while pitching, and not offence, was the crux of the problem in Game Two, after all, Montana Johnson did belt a three-run homerun in the contest, it was the exact opposite in Game One when team ace Kaito Farquharson allowed just four runs on five hits and a walk over 5.1 innings of work in which he struck out 13 Buffalo batters but got zero help from his offence.
But the team did show that they could finally compete in the ‘AAA’ ranks. And they did so at the perfect time, right before Provincials. “Our offence has been better recently than it has been,” offered Shirtliffe, continuing, “and our pitching and defence have done well too.
“If everything comes together this weekend we should be fine.”
This weekend that Shirtliffe alluded to is the 2014 Saskatchewan ‘AAA’ Provincial tournament in Saskatoon where the Yorkton Bantam Cardinals will face five other ‘AAA’ teams: two from Regina and three more from Saskatoon (Blue Jays, Athletics and Cardinals). Game One in Provincial play will be Friday, August 1 against the Regina Buffalos.