The Great Game of Baseball

Tales from the Doug Out: May 7th, 2018

Ready or not, here we come! Nothing like jumping right into the game mode, with not a heck of a lot of time for any outdoor practice, but the boys did alright.
Anytime you finish a four game weekend with two wins, playing 500 baseball that is a great weekend in my books. If you happen to win more than that, then that’s a bonus.
The Lakeland Northstars Bantam AA Provincial team hosted a provincial round robin this past weekend here in Elk Point winning two games on Saturday defeating Devon and Lloydminster. Then losing two games on Sunday against Barrhead and close one against Devon, the same team they had beaten the day before.
The Northstars are made up of players from the whole Lakeland area, but based out of Elk Point. Tyler Warawa who is celebrating his birthday today is the head coach. Sheldon Ballas is one of his assistants. They have been together for the last few years. They have a few other assistants as well, but I’m afraid I only know their last names so far. First base coach is Colbourne, and third base coach is Gauthier and the manager is Tanya Dechaine.
The ball players are from Cold Lake, Bonnyville, St Paul, St. Lina and Plamondon and Elk Point of course. Lots of them travel a fairly long distance for practice and games, but the one thing they have in common is they want to play competitive baseball.
Baseball is a very challenging game, and anything but boring when you are part of the coaching staff. A couple of errors that could have be outs, and a couple of hits here and there or a pitcher who is really on his game can make the difference between winning and losing.
First year bantam, Kobe ‘Cobra’ Warawa wasn’t throwing a lot of heat, but he threw strikes in the game he chucked against Lloydminster Saturday night. That game was against his cousin Ethan Warawa and he got a lot of help from his fielders, especially his outfield who tracked down and caught a lot of big deep fly balls.
Makes a huge difference if your fielders are catching the ball, doesn’t matter how hard you pitch. ‘Cobra’ is also pretty good at laying down sac bunts as he did in the game against Devon.
‘Mick Jager’ Fontaine another first year aged bantam also did a good job of throwing strikes when he got the call to the mound. He had a few base hits as well.  Andon ‘Ace’ Ballas another one of our first year bantam aged players snagged a hot liner down the third base line for a out in the game against Devon.
Second year bantam, Evan ‘Batman’ Ockerman did the long stretch a few time to catch the ball at first base, he hammered a few to the outfield.
Charlie ‘Chuckles’ Rogal also a second year bantam, didn’t have a lot of help from his fielders in the game he pitched on Sunday throwing 60 pitches in three innings. Some games simple plays are not that simple and pitchers can get very frustrated . ‘Chuckles’ belted a couple of big hits this past weekend though.
Brad Atwal from St Paul did take the bull by the horns when in was called in to relieve in the final game on Sunday right after ‘Chuckles’.  Three up and three down,  for three straight innings. He throws a wicked  fast ball that would really hurt if you happened to get hit by a pitch.
Nolan Dechaine who calls St. Lina home did a great job in the outfield and at the plate driving in a few runs. Braden Reid was another one who played a good game in the field and at the plate. He dropped down a couple of sac bunts to move the runners.
Winning pitcher Evan ‘Bobsie’ Gamache from St Paul  threw  a strong game against LLoydmister and did some damage at the plate. Cold Lake product, the speedy Seth Colbourne was an exceptionally good base runner, stealing second almost all the time and third a number of times. And running hard down the first base path he would beat the throws when a normal runner would have been out.
Catcher Evan ‘Goat’ Gauthier who travels the furthest to play, coming all the way from Plamondon is very competitive. He spent most of the weekend behind the mask with the pads on in the heat but didn’t miss a beat, blocking wild pitches and picking off runners , keeping them honest. The ‘ Goat ‘ swings a big bat too, he crushed the ball a couple of times for triples and drove in lot of runs over the weekend.  The Northstars are now off for a couple of weekends before travelling to Devon for the next round.
Meanwhile down in Camrose this past weekend, our young Mosquito  provincial team had a rough start to their season in their round robin play,losing all three games. But they had fun in the big city and gained some experience playing at a competitive level against some bigger centers.
The best part about Baseball Alberta is the tiering system. At the end of May the teams will be retired. ‘Bo Diddly’ Fontaine with a home run in a game against Sylvan Lake. Raif ‘Rug Rat’ Evans Anderson and Kaleb ‘Formula One’ Flamand with some singles.
Along with Tyler, another happy birthday going out today to another one of our minor ball coaches, this one  at the lower levels, Tessa Pankiw.
And now for the K. A. Campbell quote of the week. ‘ A person always doing his or her best become a natural leader, just by example. ‘ – Joe DiMaggio.