It was a dream come true for a local baseball team.
The Humboldt Dodgers AAA Midget baseball team won the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Provincials on July 31 in Moose Jaw and will be heading to the Baseball Canada Midget National Championship August 18.
"This is the highest caliber of baseball you can play at this level," said coach Mike Suchan.
The team played very well at Provincials, proving they deserved the winning title.
"It think their record speaks for itself," said Suchan.
The tournament started out with a game against the Regina Athletics, which they won 6-3.
"Craig McWillie, Keenan Lucas and Eric Bollefer all did a great job of pitching that game," said Suchan. "They are all three left-handed pitchers, which is also cool."
The rest of the team were impressed with the job the pitchers did in the tournament as well.
"Our pitchers never lost a game for us," said player Curtis Fontaine.
Their second game was against the Saskatoon Diamond Backs, which they also won.
"After that, we were guaranteed first in our pool," said Suchan.
Since they were already guaranteed first in the pool, the coaches gave them a personal challenge for the tournament.
"The challenge was out there to see if they could go undefeated," said Suchan.
The team accepted that challenge and went into the semi-final game against the Southeast Legacy Twins undefeated.
"Dean Jaeb pitched a complete game shut out 5-0," said Suchan.
Then they won their final game in a 3-0 victory against the Regina Athletics.
"We were focused and that came through when we needed it," said player Jason Fleishhacker.
"We've played in quite a few before," said Fontaine. "We knew what to expect going in."
The boys felt this was their last chance to show what they could do as a team.
"It was our last crack at it," said Fleishhacker. "We lost the last two years."
The Dodgers were excited to finally win the provincial title.
"It is an inspiration to Humboldt - it's something our community can be proud of," said Fontaine.
"It's unreal - it's something the boys and I will remember the rest of our lives," said player Cameron Blair. "We couldn't have played much better."
They will now be moving onto the National Championship in Regina on August 18.
"They will be facing the top 16 to 18-year-olds across Canada," said Suchan.
Suchan has confidence the boys will do well in Nationals, even though they are the first team from Humboldt to make it to Nationals.
The last Humboldt team to make it to a higher championship was the A-Line A's who went to Westerns in 1969.
"This group is a pretty amazing group," said Suchan. "They have been together seven years - some of them for eight to nine years and it's something they have been working towards for a long time. They are extremely deserving of it."
The team is excited for this opportunity to show the rest of Canada their skills.
"I'm pretty excited - I've never been to anything like it before," said Fleishhacker. "It's going to be fun - I'm excited to play ball down there."
The only concern the team has is playing unfamiliar teams.
"When you have teams from all different provinces, you don't know what to expect," said Fontaine.
"We will show them how we play - that's all we can do," said player Brandon Tkatch.
The boys work well as a team, but some individual players stood out as well.
"We had some individual efforts that were really neat to see," said Mike Suchan.
Dean Jaeb was named top pitcher in the league, Jordan Gerwing and Brandon Tkatch were top in batting, Cam Blair was second in the league in double and Gerwing was second in the league in triples.
Although some players stood out in the league, to the team the most important thing in baseball is the friendships they have formed.
"We have lots of friends on the team," said Fleishhacker. "It's fun being together on a team."
The core group has been together since their first year of midget, said Fontaine.
"We knew we couldn't let each other down."