The Nelson Cardinals claimed the West Kootenay Little League Minor championship in dramatic fashion Sunday afternoon at Lion’s Park diamond.
The final game of the Nelson-hosted playoffs pitted the regular season champion Cardinals against their rivals from Beaver Valley at the recently refurbished ball field in Uphill.
The Cardinals jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the game, but Beaver Valley forged their way back with solid hitting.
Trailing 5-3 in the final inning, the Cardinals aggressive base running led to five runs scoring. The eventual winning run was credited to Seamus Boyd who perfectly timed his steal as the Beaver Valley catcher threw the ball back to the pitcher. Boyd dashed to home plate and slid under the tag to give the Cardinals the 6-5 lead.
Lukas Faehndrich scored an insurance marker to make the score 7-5 going into the bottom of the inning.
Kelton Forte came to the mound and struck out two Beaver Valley batters. A short grounder back to the pitcher then enabled Forte to throw to his sister Kaliana at first for the final out, sealing the championship for Nelson.
Earlier in the tournament, the Cardinals beat Castlegar 7-6 and a determined Nelson Tigers team 8-5 behind the hitting of Kelton Forte, Boyd, Faehndrich and a home run by Kaliana Forte. Kelton Forte shut the down the Tigers 1, 2, 3 in the last inning to close the door any comeback.
In the semi-finals the Cardinals played Beaver Valley 11-8 in the double elimination tournament. Pitching the first and last innings Kelton Forte again shut down Beaver Valley getting six outs with no hits or walks and hitting a double to knock in two runs. Down 8-5, the Cardinals scored five runs to retake the lead 10-8 and added an insurance run in the fourth.
The Cardinals had an outstanding season ending tournament winning all four games and finishing the season with an overall record of 20-3.