Going into this past weekend with 5 wins and 1 loss so far this season, the boys and coaching staff of the U15 AA Bonnyville Braves baseball team were hoping to put their skills to the test against some tougher competition. And it looked like maybe it would happen in their first game against the SWEBA White Sox. It started out close with a 1-1 tie, but after the second inning there was no stopping the Braves who started hammering the ball. With their bats fired up 17 more runs crossed the plate in the next 3 innings. Pitchers Josh Bourbeau, Ryker Neumier and the “Mighty Casey “Warawa threw around 30 pitches each with Shawn Vallee coming in to face the last batter of the game. With some terrific help from their defense, the pitchers didn’t allow the White Sox to score another run after the first inning. Great plate appearances by Josh Bourbeau who hit 2 doubles and a single, Carter ‘Conk’ Goreniuk connected for a double and 2 singles and Ryker Neumier pounded out a triple and a double.
Their second game of the weekend was against the Edmonton Padres. This one turned into a real nail biter right to the bitter end. On the hill, the big unit Carter ‘Conk;’ Goreniuk got the call as the starting pitcher. He hurled a solid two and two third innings allowing only 1 run. But the Braves had a tough time trying to figuring out the Padres pitcher. He seemed to have a bit of junk the guys haven’t seen much of before. But finally they found some green in the fourth inning scoring 4 runs. The Padres not going down with a fight, battled back in the fifth inning scoring 5 runs to take the lead 5-4 . Deadlocked at 5 to 4 until the top of the 7th inning with some great pitching by Riley Feland who came in as a closer. Braves the home team were still down by one to tie the game. . Bottom of the 7th, Braves last at bat and the moment every ball player either dreams of or dreads came face to face with Brady Cooper as he stepped up to the plate two outs and two runners on. . Shawn Vallee and Logan McMillan the base runners. . There are two possible outcomes for Brady – hero or zero – and everyone was on the edge of their seat waiting to see which it would be. Brady didn’t disappoint and hit a walk-off double to score both the runners and became a hero for a day! The Brave win!!!
The final game of the weekend was against the Grande Prairie Reds and the Braves wasted no time getting on the scoreboard scoring 6 runs in the first inning. Logan McMillan and the ‘ Mighty Casey’ Warawa shared the pitching duties this game and allowed only 5 runs. Grande Prairie struggled with their pitching giving up quite a few walks, The Braves would mercy them with a score of 20-5.in five innings.
So far the Braves have shown they have a lot of strengths going for their team. They have great pitching depth and reliable and consistent fielding evidenced by the low amount of runs they have given up. They are a good hitting team with aggressive base runners evidenced by the number of runs they have scored. BUT scores don’t always tell the whole story and can be deceiving if you are not playing against teams that are at your level so time will tell how they stack up when facing tougher teams. Challenges and struggle are needed to achieve real growth. The Braves now stand with a record of 8 wins 1 loss for the season and get a little break this weekend before heading back to Edmonton on the 24th.