Bryce Sookro pitched a complete game and his brother Blair hit a three-run homer as the Nelson Jays defeated the Nelson Diamondbacks 13-7 to win the under-15 West Kootenay Junior Babe Ruth League title Friday at Queen Elizabeth Park.
The Jays, seeded number two in the seven-team league, endured a hard-fought 4-3 battle with the Castlegar Warriors before lefty Michael Rhodes-Bliss pitched them into the finals with a complete game 12-2 win against the Trail Mariners.
The sixth-seeded Diamondbacks defeated the Trial Pirates 8-4 on the back of a dominant pitching performance by Kelton Forte in the quarter-final round before upsetting the top-seeded Trail Jays in a 16-12 slugfest in the semis.
But their Cinderella run came to an end in the final, thanks in part to Blair Sookro’s mammoth homer over the right field bank onto Fifth Street.
“It’s a really competitive league with some strong teams, and it’s pretty awesome that it ended up Nelson vs. Nelson,” said Jays coach Cal Kooznetsoff. “Our kids did a heck of a job in coming together as a team at the perfect time.”
Meanwhile, Nelson’s Brady Augustin pitched a complete game with 13 strikeouts and hit a two-run homer to lead the Trail Major All-Stars to an 8-1 tournament win against a team from Medicine Hat, Alta., at the 2018 Firecracker in Kalispell, Mont.
Augustin and the All-Stars will host the Major Little League provincials in Trail, July 21 to 28.