Meadow Lake eliminated from NSRBL playoffs

In spite of a strong regular season, the Meadow Lake Sox were knocked out of the 2014 North Saskatchewan River Baseball League in the opening round following two straight losses to the Wilkie Brewers. The Sox were defeated 12-4 July 22 and 11-2 the following evening. Here, Sox player Kevin Gerwing connects with the ball during last Tuesday’s game in Meadow Lake.

In spite of a strong regular season, the Meadow Lake Sox were knocked out of the 2014 North Saskatchewan River Baseball League in the opening round following two straight losses to the Wilkie Brewers. The Sox were defeated 12-4 July 22 and 11-2 the following evening. Here, Sox player Kevin Gerwing connects with the ball during last Tuesday’s game in Meadow Lake.

by Phil Ambroziak

Meadow Lake’s senior men’s baseball team will have to pull up their socks if they hope to recover from their recent playoff elimination in time for next month’s provincial championships.

The Meadow Lake Sox of the North Saskatchewan River Baseball League (NSRBL) lost two in a row to the Wilkie Brewers last week in first-round playoff action, effectively quashing the team’s chances of winning the NSRBL title this year.

“We played at home Tuesday night (July 22) and things were going fairly good in the beginning,” explained Sox player and team manager Regan Beck. “Quincy (pitcher Quincy Winkler) was throwing solid pitches, but eventually there were a couple of innings where we had a few errors and walked a few of their batters. That, combined with solid pitching from Wilkie, caused us to fall behind and we weren’t able to get out of that hole.”

The final score in Game 1 of the best-of-three series was 12-4 in favour of the Brewers.

“The following night (July 23), we were in Wilkie and pretty much experienced the exact same thing,” Beck continued. “Defensively, we had way too many errors on the field.”

Wilkie was victorious in that outing 11-2.

“It was a disappointing end to a strong regular season, but Wilkie is a tough team to beat,” Beck said. “They’ve been to the league final numerous times and they’ve also won the championship numerous times. We knew it would be tough to beat them and we’d have to play some solid baseball, but we never did.”

Meadow Lake finished the regular season second overall with a record of 12-2. Wilkie, on the other hand, was seventh overall with five wins and nine losses.

“If we played each other 10 times in a row, chances are we’d both end up with five wins apiece,” Beck said. “It just so happened we played two of our worst games that week and they played two of their best.”

Beck also said the Sox hadn’t played a truly competitive game in more than a month leading up to playoffs.

“We were up against some weaker teams the last couple weeks, so I think that also caught up with us,” he noted.

In other NSRBL playoff action, the North Battleford Beavers leads its series against the Border City Blue Jays of Lloydminster 1-0 (Game 2 was rained out July 23) while the Unity Cardinals are also up one game over the Midwest Expos.

Their playoff elimination doesn’t mean the Sox are ready to hang up their cleats just yet, however. The team will be in Carlyle, SK Aug. 8-10 to compete in the 2014 Senior ‘A’ Provincials. The eight-team event will also feature squads from Macklin, Findlater, Yorkton, Watrous, Arm River, Carlyle and Bruno.

“It’s going to be good baseball,” Beck said. “Hopefully we’ll have everyone healthy and ready to go. We have just as good a chance of winning as any of the other teams, but if we play like we did in the league playoffs we will be in trouble. I still think we have a good shot. We have a lot of veteran players and a lot of time to prepare.”

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