The last time Saskatchewan were champions at the Baseball Canada Cup, none of the current team was alive.
The current group of Sask Selects kept their title dream alive all weekend before losing the national final to Ontario Sunday night in Moncton.
“We’re very proud of what the boys accomplished. It was a wonderful weekend,” said Moose Jaw’s Roger Anholt, one of the coaches on Team Sask. “Where else would you rather be? There was nowhere in Canada the players would have rather been than in Moncton at Kiwanis Field playing Ontario.”
Saskatchewan knocked off B.C. 7-6 and Quebec 4-3 to advance to the final. There they lost 3-2 on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“(Ontario is) a very talented team and we battled hard. We put on a good classic show. I’m very proud,” said Anholt.
Team Sask’s only Canada Cup win came in 1994 when Anholt and Swift Current’s Neil Hogg were coaching. That team beat Quebec in Moncton to claim the title in a tournament that featured future Major League pitchers Ryan Dempster and Eric Gagne. Hogg and Anholt were part of Greg Brons’ staff this time around.
In the final, Saskatchewan jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning when a walk and a hit batsman put two men on base for Jager Toffan who hit a two-run triple.
Team Sask would only manage one more hit in the entire game. In the meantime, Ontario began to chip away.
Moose Jaw Cardinal Tanner Spencer came in to start the fifth inning with a 2-1 lead. He gave up three hits and three walks in 2 2/3 innings while taking the loss. He struck out three Ontario batters.
Saskatchewan made life difficult for themselves Saturday when they lost 12-5 to Manitoba after committing five errors.
Moose Jaw’s Payton Hillsdon got the start for Team Sask and had a strong outing. He allowed three hits and only one earned run in 4 1/3 innings of work. The game was tied 4-4 when he left as he picked up the no decision.
After their second loss in pool play, Saskatchewan had their work cut out for them. They responded by beating Quebec and B.C. In both games they grabbed early 4-0 leads.
Team Sask’s performance will have place them in the A pool next year with B.C., Quebec and Manitoba.