Canucks loose and confident heading to provincials

Matthew
Matthew Gourlie
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The Moose Jaw Canucks are one of the hottest baseball teams in the province and they're underdogs.

 

Jordan Logan from the Moose Jaw Canucks hits a single Saturday during the SPBL Midget AA playoffs at Ross Wells Park.

In their minds, it's a perfect situation.

The Canucks head to the Baseball Saskatchewan Midget AA provincial tournament in Yorkton Friday having won 14 of their last 16 games. They had won nine league games before winning the Saskatchewan Premier Baseball League Midget AA bottom half playoffs with five wins at home.

"I think we're pretty confident. We're coming off of a five-game streak during our playoffs," said Canucks catcher Jordan Logan. "If we do what we know we can do, we're sure we can come out with a win."

With no midget AAA baseball this season in the city, the Canucks have been a collection of players adapting to a new level, a new league and new teammates. That transition led to a bit of a slow start where the Canucks tied a number of games as they played .500 baseball in June. Once July hit everything began to fall into place. 

"I think we're coming together as a team. Our pitching started to improve and batting started to improve and it's all come together," said Kagan Meier from the Canucks. "When you come in to a new team it's a little bit of an adjustment period."

Logan was fifth in the SPBL with a .439 batting average. He led the league with 30 stolen bases. He also had four triples, five doubles and was third in the league with 25 runs scored this season.

He feels that the Canucks have been sharper mentally as the season wore one as well.

"We're starting to come together as a group and we're focusing better in the games. Our bats are starting to heat up as well," he said. "It's crunch time in the playoffs and now in provincials, so we need to be a little more focused now."

The Canucks will open the provincial tournament Friday afternoon against the Saskatoon Braves — the only team they haven't faced.

Three SPBL teams — The Regina White Sox, Weyburn Beavers and North East Red Sox are also in their pool. The Canucks (10-6-4) finished ahead of Weyburn and Regina in the SPBL standings, though North East were 16-2 and finished on top of the league.

"We have to play error-free baseball and our pitchers have to come out throwing strikes. If we can do that, hopefully we can beat some teams," said Meier, who led the SPBL with 54 strikeouts this season.

"I think we're in the better pool, so that should help."

The top two teams in each pool advance to the semifinals. The Canucks are hoping to finish first and possibly avoid playing the Swift Current Indians in the semifinals. The Indians are hosting the Midget AA westerns and enter provincials as favourites.

The Canucks have also picked up left-handed pitcher Nolan Berner from the Assiniboia Aces. Berner gave the Canucks problems in their 5-4 win in the playoff tournament's quarter-final game and they hope he will do the same for the North East Red Sox when he gets the ball against them Saturday morning.

Meier, who played with the AAA Moose Jaw Devons a year ago, is in his final season of midget baseball. He would love to go out with a win, but like the rest of the Canucks, he's not feeling too much pressure.

"There's a little bit of pressure knowing it could be your last weekend of baseball, but you can't go out there just thinking about that. You have to go out there and be loose and half fun," said Meier.

Organizations: Canucks, Saskatchewan Premier Baseball League Midget AA, Red Sox White Sox AAA Moose Jaw Devons

Geographic location: Yorkton, North East, Weyburn Swift Current

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