Meadow Lake Sox win Senior A2 Provincials Championship

High-fives were exchanged as the Meadow Lake Senior Sox celebrated their victory over the Carnduff Astros on Sunday. The Sox cut through the competition during the tournament, going 3-0 in front of the home crowd and defeating a season-long rival for the first time this year. After collecting their trophies, the champions will turn their sights back to the playoffs with a home game on Wednesday.

By Ben Ingram

The year 2011 will be remembered fondly by the Meadow Lake Senior Sox as what’s shaping up to be a dream season has been described by the players as their best yet.

The team’s primary goal of winning the Provincials Championship came to fruition on Sunday in nail-biting fashion with a 2-1 victory over the Carnduff Astros, a toss-up game between two undefeated challengers.

“Huge, huge,” Craig Weran said describing Sunday’s victory. “We played great all weekend and we beat two really really good teams.”

Teammate Trevor Gerwing agreed.

“It was huge for us, it’s always exciting when you’re an underdog and you’re able to play over your head and come together as a team,” he said.

The story of the Sox victory is one with several dimensions. Entering the tournament, the team first faced the Wilkie Brewers, their current rivals in North Saskatchewan River Baseball League’s playoffs who defeated them in the first game of their series.

During that game Kevin Gerwing broke his leg when he slid into second base awkwardly during the first inning. As the team only had nine players, Gerwing had to play through the injury to avoid a forfeit.

“I battled for them on the week and they battled for me on the weekend, it’s great,” he said.

Led by the exceptional pitching of the young Jordan Stacey, the Sox held a neck-and-neck game with the Brewers that would require extra innings.

Jordan Stacey feeds a pitch to catcher Regan Beck, staving off the Wilkie Brewers during a win commanded by the Sox defence. “Just focus, remember the stuff and just the pitching mechanics, getting to stay in close and all that,” Stacey said describing his strategy in a razor-thin victory that went to an extra inning. “Don't really think about it, just go out there and play your game.”

“I just really didn’t want to lose,” Stacey said of his ability to maintain composure through eight innings.

The Sox claimed a 4-3 victory over the Brewers, a win that would come to taste even sweeter with Sunday’s championship victory over the Astros.

As Kevin Gerwing watched in crutches from the player’s box, the Sox pulled out the 2-1 victory on friendly territory with an extremely enthused crowd, despite the rain.

“With my younger brother breaking his leg, we were without a big bat there and our starting centre fielder,” Trevor Gerwing said after the game. “We were feeling kind of down but the guys really stepped up.”

Perhaps aided by the slippery wet grass in the outfield, Gerwing and teammate Kale Lajeunesse made stunning sliding catches to deny the Astros offense a chance at the title.

“That Kale Lajeunesse kid, he can fly,” Gerwing said, adding that in 18 years of baseball, he felt that this one’s been the best. “I’m just really proud that I won with this team, with my friends. Fantastic way to go,” he remarked.

The victory might have a silver lining for veteran Regan Beck as his brother Blair plays for the Astros. Together, they both wear the number 20 in honour of their father’s baseball legacy.

“We’ve competed against each other our whole lives,” Blair said, adding that the Sox victory makes them even after the Astros won the title last year. “Two good teams out there today. It was a good game, well pitched.”

After the victory, the Sox are flying high. After going 6-1 during the last month of league play, defeating their first round opponent in the playoffs and going undefeated during the tournament to claim victory, the team hopes the momentum can be unleashed on Wilkie.

Tonight’s 6:30 p.m. game will be played at home. With Quincy Winkler pitching, the team needs a victory in order to survive.

But now the team knows Wilkie can be beat.

“We beat them in this tournament so we believe we have a chance,” Trevor Gerwing said.

For the injured Kevin, the taste of victory is even sweeter.

“They thought we’d be a walk, they ate their words,” he said. “So good.”

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