Many believed the Yorkton Bantam ‘AAA’ Cardinals didn’t belong in the ‘AAA’ Bantam Provincials that were held this past weekend in Saskatoon.
Instead, the majority felt that with their appalling record, 2-20 through the regular season, they should actually be denied a spot in the ‘AAA’ Provincials and, at best, sent to ‘AA’.
And while the Yorkton Bantam ‘AAA’ Cardinals didn’t win a single game at the 2014 Provincials, they went 0-3 in the tournament, the very young bantam club did prove to most that they certainly belong in the ‘AAA’ ranks, losing a tightly contested Game One to the Regina Buffalos 8-6 before following that up with their weakest game of the tournament, a 10-0 loss to the Saskatoon Cardinals.
Picking up the losses in games one and two were Ashton Shewchuk (2.0 IP, 3 H, 7 R, 6 BB, 1 K) in Game One and Zach Goulden-Maddin (1.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 1 K) in Game Two.
Jordan Evans had a standout performance in the opening game going 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, a stolen base and an RBI while Montana Johnson had a great outing in relief in Game Two. Johnson went four innings allowing just three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out three.
Game Three saw the Bantam Cards bounce back with their best performance of the season in a hard luck 4-3 quarterfinal loss to the Saskatoon A’s via a walk off homerun; a Saskatoon A’s club, it is worth noting, that had beaten the Regina Pacers 17-1 earlier in the tournament. “If anything we saved our best for last,” offered Yorkton Bantam ‘AAA’ Cardinals head coach Kevin Shirtliffe on his team’s performance both in the entire tournament as well as in the last game. “I told the guys before the weekend that this is when we need to play our best ball and we did. I really would have loved to have come away with a win from that but that ball carried just a few feet too many.
“Six feet shorter and it was a flyout. As it turned out it went just over the fence.”
The losing pitcher in Game Three was team ace Kaito Farquharson (6.1 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 9 K). Farquharson also had a strong game at the dish going 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored and an RBI.
Overall, both season and Provincials, Shirtliffe said that he is proud of what his boys accomplished and believes that, while the team’s overall record was not strong, the quality of baseball, minus roughly one inning per game, was high. “I think overall it went pretty well. Our record doesn’t indicate that but we were in tight in a lot of these games,” offered Shirtliffe, adding, “I just hope all the parents and players can see that we could have dropped down in a lower division, played more poorly than we did this season and still had a winning season.
“I just think it was important to push these guys and make them realize what they were capable of and that’s what we did.”