Strong pitching helped the L.V. Rogers Bombers baseball squad take second spot during a holiday weekend tournament held in Nelson.
The local squad hosted teams from Kelowna (Mt. Boucherie), Kimberley (Selkirk) and Cranbrook (Mt. Baker) in a four-team, two-day round robin format.
Each team played the other once and the squad with the best overall record was declared the winner.
The Bombers crushed Selkirk 12-1 in their opening game on Friday and followed that up with a 5-3 victory over Mt. Boucherie on Saturday.
That set up a final game between the undefeated Bombers and the undefeated Mt. Baker squad.
In the end, the visiting squad kept Nelson’s batters quiet, defeating the Bombers 4-0.
While the loss relegated the local squad to second place, coach Kyle Mace said overall, the boys had a solid weekend of play.
“We played pretty well. We are doing better as a team. Of course we still have to cut out making multiple mistakes in one inning,” said Mace.
One of the highlights of the weekend was the strong play of the local squad’s pitching rotation.
“Our pitchers threw really well in all three games. Our starters went the distance in each game. We’ve got three pretty good Grade 11 kids to pitch.”
Hano Southam, Braden Zarikoff and Austin Tambellini all pitched complete games, without the need to call on the Bombers bullpen. It’s a luxury any coach would love to have.
Mace, who has been at the helm of the Bombers for several years, said his squad has played about 20 games this season. Local fans may not have noticed, because the team plays most of its games on the road.
“We head down to Spokane a lot, we play south a lot.”
But the players don’t mind all the travel because the experience prepares them for the next level.
“The kids are all gearing up for the American Legion tryouts this upcoming weekend in Trail,” explained Mace.
The squad also travels because most of the American squads do not come up to Nelson to play and local competition is almost non-existent.
“There aren’t any other high school teams in BC except for the ones we had here this weekend. Alberta does have a high school league, but we can’t get into that, because it would be too hard,” said Mace.
With no league, or standings to play for, the local squad is designed to work on skills and let the players enjoy the sport.
“We are just trying to give our kids innings in so when they go to the American Legion level, they are ready to play.”
But most of all, the program is about giving kids a chance to play.
“We like to have a lot of fun. A lot of those kids, it’s their first time playing baseball. They get to high school, they haven’t played baseball since T-ball and they all of a sudden want to play again. We give them the opportunity.”