The Lakeland Northstars win 18U AA Tier 2 Provincials

Last Updated: August 11, 2023By

A little history about the team that was in Lloydminster for the 18U AA tier 2 Provincial Championships.

The Lakeland Northstars were started in 2013 in the Lakeland region so players always had a team to play on. Over the years Bonnyville, St Paul, Elk Point, Lac La Biche, Cold Lake, Pierceland and all the communities in between would sometimes have provincial teams and other times could not field one due to lack of players.


The Lakeland team was made and the group of 04 and 05 birth year players would always have a competitive provincial team to play on.


In the last few years, the team started playing out of Bonnyville due to the central location and newer facilities. So the Northstars became the Brave but still had players from all over the Lakeland region.


The Braves entered the final tournament as the 3rd seed. Their first game was against the 7th place Lethbridge Sluggers Friday morning.


I think we can chalk this one up to a game of nerves. Both teams hit the ball hard, but neither seemed interested in playing defence. Numerous errors on both sides
allowed the Sluggers to walk away with a close 16-15 victory.


Ideally in the final tournament you want to get that first win to take some pressure off your pitching. However the Braves would have to do it the hard way.


Next up was the 6th seed Clive Coyotes Saturday morning. It looked like history was about to repeat itself as the Braves booted the ball around the first 2 innings and were down 6-0 early. The boys wouldn’t quit knowing this was a must win game. The defence started rolling and the bats woke up
giving the boys an 11-7 lead after 4 innings. It was a close game but Clive had no answer for the hard-hitting Braves who kept on hitting and ended up winning 19-9. The Braves ended the game with 22 hits and walked away with a much needed victory.


In the 4 team pool after each team 2 games all the teams were tied with a 1-1 record.


Meaning each team’s final game would determine the top 2 teams in the pool. Of course, it wasn’t going to be easy as
the Braves had to face the 2nd seed Red Deer Braves and win to move on to Sundays Semi Finals.


Both teams came to play. The pitching was fantastic and the defence was even better. Since the Bonnyville Braves were playing the Red Deer Braves, the boys decided it was time to pull out their retro 3rd Jerseys
the Lakeland Northstars.


The Northstars took an early 3-1 lead after 2 innings of play. However, Red Deer didn’t quit and came back to take a 4-3 lead in the top of the 5th . The Northstars regained the lead 5-4 setting up a dramatic finish in the top of the 7th . The Red Deer team had the heart of their order up and they were the team’s best players.


First up the number 2 hitter who crushed a deep fly ball to center but it was tracked down and caught. 1 away. Then Red Deer’s best player came to the plate. He was 3-3 with 2 triples and 4 RBI. The Northstars decided it was best to pitch around the hot hitter and walked the batter to take their chances with the cleanup hitter. Their number 4 hitter crushed the ball to the gap in
left center field, however after a spectacular running catch the Northstars had 2 away.


Tying run on 1st, 2 out. 1 more out and off to the semis. A line drive to the shortstop and game over, ticket punched to the semi finals!!


Sunday Semis. What every team wants a crack at, however only 4 of 8 make it. Of course with the cross over the Northstars had to face the number 1 seed Lloydminster Twins who were already 5-1 against
Bonnyville this year. The game started off with the Northstars giving up 2 runs early but getting out of a bases loaded jam. From there it was a fantastic pitching duel. Great defence and great pitching can tame any good hitting team, but only for so long. The game was tied 3-3 after 5 innings. Each team was trying to get runners on and move them over to scoring position to get that 1 run that could decide the game. However, neither team’s defence or pitching would allow it. Until the 6th inning when the Northstars broke open the game scoring 5 runs and adding 4 more in the 7th to take a 12-3 win and a chance to play for Gold. Lloyd was the best team coming into the tournament and had the Northstars number all year, but when it came down to it the boys played their hearts out and secured the victory.


As sometimes happens the games to get you to the finals are much more exciting than the final game itself. Usually, teams are out of pitching and teams are playing their 5th game in 3 days making it tough to get each team’s best. With a rematch set against the Lethbridge Sluggers, a chance at gold and
redemption the Northstars weren’t going to miss this chance. Some players on the team have been waiting 7 years for the chance to win gold. The Northstars bats turned out to be too much for what was left of the slugger’s pitching staff. They hit the ball hard and all over the field. The Northstar’s pitching
and defence was lights out in this game, which didn’t even give Lethbridge a hope of coming back or putting up a big inning.


After 6 innings the Northstars cruised to 18-3 victory and Provincial Gold. What an amazing weekend and great finish to a great year.



Tournament MVP – Seth Cobourne

Seth had his best weekend of his Northstar career, he was one of the originals. As a 4 th year player he won’t be returning but had a great end to his minor ball career. He hit .625 for the weekend with 2 doubles and 9RBI. He also pitched great against Clive getting the Northstars a big win.


Game 3 MVP – Keagan Locke

Another longtime Northstar player and 4 th year was waiting for his chance at gold. Keagan was always one of the teams best pitchers and didn’t disappoint in his game against Red Deer giving up only 4 runs
while striking out a tournament high 11 batters. He also had a big triple at the dish.


Kobe Warawa

The original Northstar player really became an important player on the team this year. Another 4 th year player who took charge of the outfield at center field and made all the plays look easy. He also pounded the ball this year batting in the 3 hole going .524 for the weekend with 3 triples and 8 RBI.

Championship Game MVP – Ethan Walgren

Ethan joined the team last year and gave the coaching staff the lefty pitcher they had wanted all thru the years. Ethan perfected his pickoff move and pitched a gem in the finals pitching 6 innings with only 3ER and 2 SO. He also batted .429 and crossed the plate 10 times.


Game 1 MVP – Zach Lapointe

Original Northstar player who has always been the teams catcher. When he misses a game you notice. He takes charge of the game behind the plate and calls a great game. He caught every game in the finals. He also always puts the ball in play, rarely striking out. He had 4 singles and 2 doubles over the weekend.


Colton Lacoursierre

Original Northstar player who has always had a strong arm from the left side of the diamond. This year he was moved to short and made some fantastic plays in the final weekend. While hitting from the 4 hole he batted .329 over the weekend with a triple and 5 RBI.


Carter Goreniuk

Carter batted in the 2 hole most of the year and was one of the teams most reliable pitchers. He was brought in to close out the game against Clive and shut them down. Then facing the toughest part of Red Deers lineup he shut them down as well. Ended the tournament with a 1.23ERA with 5SO.


Casey Warawa

The team’s speedy leadoff hitter could always be counted on to get on base and then start stealing. As a second year player he had a great weekend batting .500 with 9 singles 2 doubles and 9 RBI. Casey was
the teams utility player and could play any position on the field and had to switch from position to position during games and still played great defensively.


Jedd Stybel

A late addition to the team due to injuries, however, he didn’t miss a beat. Inserted at second base and he locked down the position. Making multiple highlight reel plays during the final weekend. He also batted .600 over the weekend with 8 singles and 1 ground rule double that almost left the park.


Semi Final MVP – Cadogan Rachynski

It’s not very often that you would rely on a rookie pitcher for a semi final game. But Cadogan is a fireballer that has been one of the team’s most consistent pitchers all year. The big moment didn’t faze him as he pitched a complete game gem. Pitching 7 innings only giving up 6 hits 2ER with 5 SO.


Sam Atwal

Another rookie player that had a great weekend. Its not always easy getting into the lineup of deep old team as a first year player, but when Sam did he could always be counted on to get on base. He made a fantastic catch in the final game and also scored a couple runs with a huge single.


Cade McConnell

Cade’s first year with the team and he could hit the ball hard at the plate. Played several positions throughout the year, but filled in where needed and did a good job.


Heaton Houle

Heaton was also a first year player who was uses a pitcher and second basemen. His natural tail to his fastball made it difficult for hitter to square up. He also played well defensively at second making several nice plays.


Cody Archibald

Cody helped bail the team out of a jam when the team was having trouble getting enough players to
weekends. He stepped in and immediately made an impact at the plate and defensively. Cody was
added to the roster, broke his finger at practice, and was out for the season shortly thereafter.


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