of The Clarion
The Kindersley Raiders are Fertile Valley Baseball League champions!
The Raiders defeated the first-year Kindersley Stallions in two straight games last week to win the best-of-three championship series and earn their second title in the past three years.
Both games featured some top pitching and great defence.
The deciding game, played Aug. 2, ended 2-1 for the Raiders. Game 1 ended 6-3.
Game 2 was a battle for the ages, with flamethrower Tyler McKee on the mound for the Raiders and young pitcher Corson Harris for the Stallions.
This game went into the seventh inning with just two hits being allowed, both by the Stallions.
In the top of the seventh inning, McKee walked the first batter, then hit the second to get a couple of players on. Kyle Donaldson hit a blooper to left to bring in a runner and make it 1-0. The next Stallion batter hit into a double play to stop any further progress.
In the bottom of the seventh, the first two batters popped out, but they were able to get a couple of runners on base – with a Joel Miiller bloop single, Tait Schommer came on to pinch-run, then Byron Ismond walked.
Then the turning point: Patty Omness hit the ball to third baseman JD Knutson, whose throw to first was offline, enabling the Raiders to get two men home and capture the win.
Harris went the distance for the Stallions and didn’t give up an earned run.
McKee of the Raiders said the game was truly a battle.
“I knew beforehand that I had to get my off-speed working, because these guys are a good fastball hitting team,” he said. “I think it was working well. They’re a great young team and we knew we had to keep the pressure on. The guys played unreal.”
McKee said he had a knot in his back since about the fourth inning and would like to thank Robert for giving him massages in between innings.
Raiders’ coach/player Clayton Artymovich said the team was more than excited about the win.
“We were just so excited,” he said. “We were just like little kids out there, jumping up and down – almost giddy-like. We were talking in locker room about the championships that all of the guys have won in hockey and baseball and this was the biggest win.
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“We were just as shocked as everyone. We thought this series would go three games and it would be pretty tight scoring,” he adds. “And in our second game we thought for sure we were going to the third game, but you never know – that’s baseball.”
Artymovich said that the team played very well, which they had to if they had hoped to win.
“We had some great defence and the pitching from Bubba (Bryon) and Tyler was outstanding. They didn’t miss too many pitches at all in either game,” he said. “Our offence wasn’t quite what we expected, but we made the timely hits and we were able to put the ball in play and limit our strikeouts, which is what we wanted to do.”
He added that they had a great season and were hot going into the playoffs.
Austin Jamieson, coach for the Stallions, said that it was a tough way to lose.
“It is disappointing,” he said. “We had our chances, even in the last innings, but we just couldn’t find a way to win.
“Realistically. both games were pitcher duels,” he added.
Despite the loss, he said the team was pretty happy with the season.
“It was an unbelievable season for us and we hope to keep most of this team together and we will have a few new faces joining us next year,” said Jamieson.
The Stallions finished first in the league this year with a 12-0-1 record and easily defeated the Beechy Breakers in the semifinals to earn a spot in the championships.
The Raiders finished second in the West division with an 11-2 record. They defeated the Kindersley Klippers in the wildcard game and the Rosetown Angels in the semifinals.
In game one of the finals on Monday, Dallas McGrath started on the mound for the Stallions, while the Raiders countered with Byron Ismond, who finished with a complete game win.
The score was 0-0 going into the sixth inning before the Raiders were able to score a six-spot in the top of the inning and to claim the win.
The Raiders and the Stallions are joining forces to head to provincials this weekend in Yorkton.
The Senior AA Tier 2 provincial championships will see eight teams compete in two pools.
Kindersley will be in Pool B with the Carlyle Cardinals, Swift Current Yard Goats and Oxbow Chiefs.
Pool A will consist of the Cabri River Rats, Estevan Tower Wolves, Border City Blue Jays and Yorkton Yankees.
Game one for the Kindersley squad will take place Friday at 4 p.m. against Swift Current.
Game 2 is Saturday at 1 p.m. against Oxbow and Game 3 goes Saturday at 7 p.m.
The top two teams will meet in the semifinals Sunday, with the winners moving on to the gold medal game.
Here is a quick look at their opponents in the round-robin: two of the teams play in the Saskota League, including the Carlyle Cardinals who finished first in the league with a record of 12-3-3 during the regular season. The one other team, the Oxbow Chiefs, lost in the league finals to Estevan. The Chiefs finished fourth in the league with a 10-4-4 record during the regular season.
Meanwhile, the Cabri River Rats finished second in the East division in the Sask-Alta Baseball League, finishing the season with a 10-4 record and lost in the league final to the Swift Current Yard Goats.
Artymovich said that they should do pretty well with 10 Stallions and eight Raiders making up the team.
“The Stallions played a lot of games this year and we are on a hot streak, so we hope to do well,” he said. “With the split, we miss some of the pitching and speed that they possess. They probably have a half-dozen pitchers that can throw at this level and they are young and fast, which will definitely help.”
© Kindersley Clarion