Sylvan Lake Bantam Lightning baseball head coach Travis Smith has high hopes for what he feels will be “an excellent weekend of baseball” as his team gets set to host Provincial Bantam AA Qualifiers this weekend.
The outcome of the weekend’s games will determine seeding for Provincials later this month — the location for which has yet to be confirmed. And while Smith knows his players will face some stiff opposition, he’s optimistic about their chances of success.
“The teams we are playing, for the most part, have been at this level all season and play really well as a unit,” he said. “We have some excellent athletes at this age group and now we just need to pull together as a team as well.”
This year marks the first in several that a Sylvan Lake team has entered a team into Provincial Playdowns, which the Lightning kicked off with a 22-10 defeat to the Stettler Silders before bouncing back with a 32-2 win over the Acme Red Sox.
Such ups and downs are part of the learning experience throughout the season, Smith feels.
“We are gaining some much needed experience to see what it takes to play competitive ball,” he said. “This is a great group of ball players that really wanted to play at the competitive level.”
Provincial Qualifiers begin at noon on Saturday (July 11) with the Red Sox taking on the Sliders in the tournament’s opening game. The Lightning go up against the Calgary Cubs in their first game at 6 p.m. on the same day, before facing the Fort MacLeod Royals and the Red Sox on Sunday at 1 and 4 p.m., respectively.
All games are played at Four Seasons Park in Sylvan Lake, with the tournament wrapping up on Sunday night.