It was an exciting weekend of baseball on July 22, 23 and 24, with the Sylvan Lake Storm U15 ‘B’ and Sylvan Lake Mariners 11U AA hosting provincial championships at Pogadl Park.
With the park only opening up last year, this was the first season for the town to host provincials and it was a packed weekend, topped with beautiful weather.
Sylvan Lake Storm takes gold
After a weekend of hard work, the Sylvan Lake Storm U15 ‘B’ softball team went into Sunday as part of the top four teams vying for gold. They played the Olds Pistols in the semi-finals, but they found themselves one run down going into their last bat.
The Storm didn’t let their nerves get the better of them and they managed to bring in two runs during the inning, to give them a score of 9-8 against the Pistons.
For the finals, the Storm went head-to-head with the Lloydminster Liners, but the Liners just weren’t prepared to do battle. The Storm took home the gold medal, beating the Liners 8-1.
“The girls were so excited,” team manager Andrea Ulseth said of the victory. “They were very emotional and there was tears. They put in a lot of work this year, a lot of practice working on fundamentals. They deserved it.”
There were 10 teams that came for the U15 ‘B’ provincials. Most teams had to play through zone playdowns to get into provincials, but because the Storm were hosting, they were automatically entered.
The opening ceremony for the championship was held at the Gulls stadium.
This marks the end of the season for the Storm. They’ll be going to a Sylvan Lake Gulls game to celebrate their championship win and then its rest and relaxation until training starts in the winter and then try-outs come again in February.
“We want to thank our coaching staff,” said Ulseth. “We have a great coaching staff and we want to thank them for all their hard work and dedication this season. Without them, this wouldn’t have been possible.” Head coach for the Storm is Marvin Desormeau, with assistant coaches Kelly Ulseth, Bryce Campbell and Cody Small.
Sylvan Lake Mariners fight hard and bring home bronze
The 11U AA Sylvan Lake Mariners baseball team also played host for the tier 6 provincials this weekend and the final game was one for the books.
The Mariners played against the Camrose Cougars for the bronze, but it was a nail-biting game.
Sylvan Lake Gulls players Jack Schark, Cleary Simpson and Kaden Zarowny had come out to see the Mariners play on Friday morning and cheer them on. During the game against the Camrose Cougars, the Mariners found themselves behind 15-8 at one point and the trio stepped up to bring some encouragement to the team.
“The boys were down on themselves and getting frustrated,” said head coach Dan Williams. “So the three Gulls players came in the dugout, they gave our guys a bit of a pep talk. We did a Mariners cheer with the Gulls, and we came out and turned things around. It really helped, having them come and cheer our guys on and getting them back in the game. It was great to have them there and be willing to come in and pump our kids up. Our boys took care of business and we won.”
Williams said the Mariners were thrilled with their victory over Camrose.
“It was nice to end the season on a win,” he said. “They worked hard all season and, in the end, it was a sweet victory.”
This also ends the season for the Mariners.
The Mariners 18U AA (tier 3) team will be playing at Pogadl Park this weekend, July 29, 30 and 31, and the Mariners 15U AA (tier 1) team will be playing their provincial tournament in Strathmore this coming weekend as well.
The Sylvan Lake Storm U19 ‘D’ team took to the field in Leduc earlier this month for their provincial championship and brought home the silver.