Canucks bow out in pool play at Selects Tournament

Matthew Gourlie
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The Moose Jaw Canucks learned a lot about themselves this weekend.

Moose Jaw Midget AA Canucks

Now they, like the rest of us, have to get back to work after going away for the Victoria Day weekend.

The Canucks finished 1-2 in their pool and failed to advance to the semifinals at the annual Sask. Selects Baseball Tournament in Saskatoon. 

"I think we learned some things. After that first weekend I was thinking 'things look pretty good.' We made some errors in our second game and there were some mental errors, so we have some work to do," said Canucks head coach Kevin Smith. "That's why we went to this tournament. It was a good measuring stick. Now we have to go to work to fix those things."

The midget team lost their opener 5-3 to the Muenster Red Sox before beating Martensville 13-10. They lost 10-2 to the Regina Angels in their final game.

"Our pitching didn't let us down this weekend, it was more defensively and mentally. That's something we can work on," said Smith. "That's why you go to tournaments, you learn things. It was a learning experience for the guys."

The Selects Tournament is used to evaluate talent for Baseball Saskatchewan's provincial teams and is traditionally held in Moose Jaw. The Baseball Canada Cup — which features the top second-year midget players in the country — is being hosted by Saskatoon this year which is why the Selects Tournament moved to the Bridge City.

The Canucks played in an eight-team midget AA tournament and played better than their record and the scores may show.

"Our first game we were very good. Muenster is going to be one the best teams in our league I feel and we were 3-3 going into the top of the seventh," said Smith. "It was a really good baseball game. Our pitchers, pitched well."

Muenster scored twice in the top of the seventh and the Canucks didn't respond in the bottom half of the inning. Kagan Meier and Wyatt Riendeau both had strong outings on the mound for the Canucks.

The Regina Angels had gotten 10-run mercy rule win over Martensville in their opening game. The Canucks were feeling confident it would be an easy day for them and as they grabbed a 5-0 lead after half an inning that belief only grew. Instead they gave up five runs in the bottom of the first and were in for a tough battle.

The Canucks won 13-10, but the runs they gave up made it extremely difficult for them to advance to the semifinals.

"I think we were thinking that we just had to show up and we would get the win and get the (point) spread. We did get the win, but those 10 runs we gave up would have hurt us in the tiebreak procedure," said Smith.

"On the positive side, Kyle Wilson pitched a complete game for us and I thought he pitched very well."

Their sloppy win against Martensville left them needing a mercy rule, shutout win against the unbeaten Regina Angels. Once that went out the window, Smith took the opportunity to experiment a little.

"They're a very good team, but the score doesn't really indicate what was going on," said Smith who tried two new pitchers in the late innings while trailing 5-2 when they knew their semifinal hopes were dashed.

"We knew we were out of the tournament at that point. We threw Matt Evans, who never has pitched, and sure they got some runs off of him, but maybe in a future tournament when you're facing a team that doesn't have as strong of hitters as the Regina Angels, maybe Matt can pick up a couple of three innings for us."

The Canucks also have a busy week on deck. They will face the Angels in Regina on Tuesday in Sask. Midget AA League action before playing two home games later in the week.


Organizations: Canucks, Muenster Red Sox, AA League

Geographic location: Sask., Saskatoon, Moose Jaw Canada Bridge City

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