The Vernon Canadians rallied to stop the Rutland Rockies 7-6 in Sunday’s extra-innings final of the Rutland Pee Wee All-Star Baseball Tournament at Edith Gay Park.
Ethan King hammered a ball up the middle to score Jarod Leroux with the winning run in the bottom of the eighth.
Vernon ace Nathan Nesbitt pitched the final three innings and mowed down five of the nine batters he faced for MVP honours.
Nathan Huizinga jumpstarted the Vernon eighth by stroking a single before getting thrown out trying to steal second. Leroux reached base on a error and moved to third on a double by Landon Currie.
“For anyone wanting to see just how good baseball at the Pee Wee level is when the C’s are at the top of their game and taking on a good team at their best, Rutland was the place to be,” said Vernon head coach Rick Leroux.
The C’s, who have won two straight tournaments, opened by stopping the Kamloops AAA Riverdogs 8-5 Saturday. They followed by dusting off the West Kelowna Diamondbacks 8-3 and clipping the host Rockies 6-5 in other round-robin games.
Vernon busted open a 4-4 deadlock with a five-run sixth against Kamloops. Caden Doyle and game MVP Dawson Chase each went 2-for-3, while Keaton Mandryk, Chase, King and Nick Cherkowski handled the pitching.
Currie tripled and scored on a Cherkowski single against the D-Backs. Both players joined Leroux, Thomas and King with two hits. Nesbitt and MVP Leroux (almost six innings work) were on the hill.
Against Rutland, the C’s tied it at 5-5 in the fourth when Mandryk scored, swiped second and third before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Doyle.
Huizinga led off the final inning with a single and Leroux smacked a ground-rule double over the left centre field fence after Huizinga had swiped second. Thomas was the winning pitcher and MVP.
Mosquitos rule Island tourney
In Mosquito action, the Canadians shelled the Duncan White Sox 10-4 Sunday in the final of the eighth annual Larry Hopwo Invitational Tournament at Chemainus Ball Park on Vancouver Island.
Chase Batchelor, who was the coaches’ choice as tournament MVP, pitched 3 1/2 innings while supplying a triple, single and two runs.
Chris McIntosh produced two hits and two runs to earn game MVP, while Landen Harison drove in three runs on two hits and Carter Morris doubled and scored once. Maguire Lauridsen was the closer and stroked a two-run triple to help the attack.
Vernon ambushed the Duncan Pirates 8-2 in the semifinals of the 10-team tournament. Morris, who had three RBI and made a spectacular barehanded, backhand scoop from short to first for an out, took MVP.
Lauridsen doubled and swiped a few bases while Harison pitched 2 1/2 innings, doubled and scored once. Batchelor provided one hit, two runs and a stellar catch in right field, while Caden Colmorgen hurled 2 1/2 innings.
The C’s opened play Friday by blanking the Duncan Rockies 7-0 behind three hits and two RBI from Batchelor and three solid pitching innings and superb outfielding from MVP Eric Foulfoulas. Brayden Beacom and McIntosh each scored twice.
Beacom was on the mound for 1 1/2 innings and supplied one hit and one run for MVP as Vernon slammed the Chemainus Reds 10-1 Saturday. Ryan Gamage and Lauridsen each drove in a run.
Lauridsen homered, tripled and pitched one inning for MVP as the C’s finished preliminary action with a 10-0 win over the Salt Spring Blue Jays. Morris smacked a grand slam homer, turned a double-play and pitched one inning.
Gamage went three innings on the hill and doubled, while McIntosh supplied sizzling defence at third and added an RBI-single. Lincoln Connor pitched one inning and had one hit.