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Juniors fall just short in provincial semi finals

The AAA Provincials of Junior level baseball were held over the Civic Holiday weekend in Yorkton, lasting nearly three full days. The Alexander's Mens Wear Junior Cardinals hosted.
AAA Junior Provincials baseball championship action from the long weekend between Yorkton and the Saskatoon Dodgers Saturday afternoon.

The AAA Provincials of Junior level baseball were held over the Civic Holiday weekend in Yorkton, lasting nearly three full days.

The Alexander's Mens Wear Junior Cardinals hosted. The Saskatoon Dodgers, Regina Athletics, Moose Jaw Eagles, Weyburn Beavers, Southey Eagles, Regina Red Sox and Saskatoon Stallions all participated.

The Junior Cardinals opened their bid for the title on a crystal clear Friday night against Moose Jaw. Logan Calanchie did what he usually does when he starts a game.

He finished with a 10-0 mercy win that only needed five innings to play.

Part of the tournament saw Yorkton play two games that started long before their usual evening start. Instead of starting a game at 7:30 p.m. or 8 p.m., the Cardinals were up for a 10 a.m., start on Jubilee Park #2.

"The boys came to play today," insisted Brian Trollope, head coach.

"No not at all," he responded when asked if the earlier-then-usual game times had any effect on any of his players.
"The weather was perfect."

During the season, Yorkton had only lost back-to-back games on one occasion but they picked a bad time to do it again during provincials.

On Friday of the tournament (July 29), they upended Moose Jaw.

The Eagles and Cardinals had split their meetings during the regular season.

Yorkton pitcher Logan Calanchie mercied the Eagles in five innings, which turned out to be the first of at least two dominant pitching performances serves up by the Cardinal bullpen. Next up would be the Regina Athletics.

Following the tournament, head coach Brian Trollope said he was pleased with the results against Moose Jaw but noted that at competition like this, nobody expected that score.

"You never expect to blow a team out. This is an elite level."

He added that Moose Jaw as well as Weyburn have both put together solid teams.

"We split with Weyburn and Moose Jaw in the regular season," Trollope told media afterwards.

Dalane Lamb went 2-2 at the plate and Jayden Shwaga went 2-3.

The Cardinals continued to dominate as they played an early 9 a.m., game Saturday against the Regina Athletics.

Jared Inkster got his first win in a Cardinals uniform, taking care of business on the mound in a 14-1 victory.

Ross Stilborn went 2-2 at the plate, scored three runs and one of his plate appearances saw him hit a double.

The Cardinals went into Saturday afternoon with a 2-0 record and put it on the line against the Saskatoon Dodgers.

Yorkton won 11-0 in a game that went six innings. Stilborn recorded the win on the mound and also had another strong showing at the plate, hitting twice in three at-bats, one was a triple.

Jason Fechter also did well at the plate for Yorkton, going 3-4, scoring three runs and one of his at-bats features a double.

The 3-0 record was put to the test in their semi final game Sunday morning when they tangled with the Regina Red Sox. Only two other teams had perfect records after the opening day of the tournament.

A Fechter home run in the bottom of the six made things interesting however the Cardinals would be handed their first loss of the provincials in a 3-2 loss to the Red Sox.

From the mound, Barrett Nielsen went seven complete innings and struck out eight Regina batters.

The loss sent Yorkton to the bronze medal games. Things did not get any easier. For six innings it was anybody's game, then in the final inning, five Dodgers runs resulted in a 5-3 win.

Yorkton clung to a 3-0 lead through six innings but couldn't pull it off in the seventh.

"The Dodgers will go a long way," noted Trollope following Yorkton's final game of the tournament.

Next up, the Junior Cardinals get ready for their South East Senior Baseball League championship final when they take on the Willowbrook Royals. Six points separated the two teams in the standings, with the Cardinals finishing in top spot.
Trollope said the series won't be easy.