To be the best you have to play against the best. And a lot of times this can be a real test. The Bonnyville U18’s AA Braves were at Lacombe this past weekend for their 3 games round robin series. The Braves are in the top Tier 1 with the best 6 teams in Northern Alberta, making for some very tough competition. Once again this round robin they played only one game on Saturday and were able to roll through seven pitchers keeping them all available for Sunday. Keagan Locke, Brad Atwal, Tyler Hardy, Seth Cobourne, Evan Gamache, Chris Kulikov and Kobe the ‘Cobra’ Warawa combined for 11 strikeouts and only allowed 5 hits for a nice 10-4 win over St Albert. Chris Kulikov also helped the cause by going 3-4 with 2 RBI and a double. Tyler Hardy who has been the teams leader and solid defensively at short stop this year launched a deep shot over the left Center fence for the teams first home run of the year.
Sunday morning at 9:00 am the Braves played one of the best teams in the province, the Central Alberta Hounds, whom are loaded with 3rd year players who all can crush the ball. If you want to run with the big dogs you need to pick up your game. Keagan Locke did his part. He pitched another gem, and has become the teams most reliable pitcher. He went 5 innings striking out 4 and only giving up 3 runs. This was also one of the Braves best defensive outings with several nice inning ending double plays. Looking like our guys have no problem playing in the big league. However as the old saying goes, ‘the games not over until it’s over.’ Top of the 7th. Last at bats for the Hounds. They started hitting the holes. Mix in a few walks on top of that and the Hounds took a 9-8 lead going to the bottom of the 7th. The Braves with last bats didn’t go down without a fight. They loaded up the bases. All they needed was a little blooper or walk. But unfortunately failed to cash in the needed run to tie the game. Dallas Plamondon went 2-2 at the plate with a double and is really starting to heat up with his bat. It was a heartbreaker loss that was tough to swallow, but still a lot of positives to take from a game like that.
However baseball sometimes is more mental the physical. The boys couldn’t seem to shack off the loss recover from the heartbreak. It rolled over into the 3rd and final game of the weekend. This one was against another strong team, the undefeated South Jasper Place Jays. The boys couldn’t get rolling and were mentally beat before the game started. Chris Kulikov pitched well keeping it close through 4 innings at a 4-0 score, but the Braves couldn’t get the bats going and ended up losing 11-1.Colton Lacoursiere, Dallas Sparklingeyes, and Andon Ballas came in for some relief pitching and pitched well, but when the team isn’t engaged they tend to bobble routine ground balls that become errors which leads to runs. This game was the teams worst loss of the season. But baseball it a tough game to play well all the time. You can expect to have some games where things just don’t go your way. Best to put it behind you and start out fresh the next time our. Luckily for the Braves they will be able to get right back at it again this coming weekend. and best of all it is right here at home. The Bonnyville U18 AA Braves will be hosting this coming weekend July 17th &18th. The Braves play Leduc at 12 on Saturday, St Albert at 9am on Sunday and the Central Hounds at 3pm on Sunday. Come on down to the ball park to watch some great baseball.