Solid start for Canucks

Katie Brickman
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Midget AA squad opens season at Ross Wells Park

A tie, a win and a loss is how the Moose Jaw Canucks began their season.

Payton Denet from the Moose Jaw Canucks fouls off a pitch Saturday in the Canucks 2-2 tie with the Melville Millionaires. Times-Herald photo by Matthew Gourlie

“We couldn’t ask for a better opening weekend,” said Kevin Smith, head coach of the Canucks.

On Saturday, the Canucks tied the Melville Millionaires 2-2 to kick off their Saskatchewan Premier Baseball League Midget AA season at Ross Wells Park.

Neither team had a lot of hits, but the Canucks were focusing on doing the little things right and shaking off some of the winter rust.

“I thought we did that well … playing baseball the way it should be played and keeping our errors to a minimum and having some fun,” said Smith. “In the first game, we had a couple throwing errors, but other than that, there weren’t many errors after that. That could be a testament to their natural talent, which will just get better.”

On Sunday, the Canucks had a double-header with the White Butte Broncos (players from White City and Pilot Butte) and won the first game 5-0.

“We all had good at bats and the pitching went really well. I think, all around, it was good for all of us,” said Wyatt Riendeau. “We just wanted to get at bats. It is the start of the year and we just wanted to focus on our pitching and the fundamentals.”

Riley Morhart pitched the full seven innings, giving up three hits, two walks and had 11 strikeouts.

Jordan Logan went three-for-four while Morhart had two runs batted in (RBI).

In the afternoon game, the Canucks’ offence went a little dry as they could only get three hits and those came in the first three innings, then their bats went silent.

“Even in this game here, we hit the ball hard, but just right at them,” said Smith. “They played well defensively and we have to give their pitcher a little credit.”

The Canucks lost that game 3-2 with Kyle Wilson taking the loss. He pitched three innings, giving up three runs on six hits and walking three batters.

Riendeau pitched three innings, giving up a hit, a walk and striking out three. Aiden Coleman pitched the final inning with one hit, one walk and one strikeout.

Kaleb Wilson scored two runs in the first inning, which gave the Canucks some offence.

With the Moose Jaw Devons now defunct, there are five former players that are on the Canucks roster. Those five help provide leadership on and off the field for some of the less experienced players.

“I think it is huge and with their presence and they lead by example. Our guys are picking that up and following. It is not a bad thing,” said Smith.

Riendeau believes having those former midget AAA players will also help them succeed this season.

“They give us leadership and they know how to compete. It helps,” he said.

The Canucks will practice once this week to prepare for a tournament in Saskatoon this weekend.

“That will be a little stiffer competition and we will see how we fare there and how our pitching holds up,” said Smith. “We are looking forward to going there and see where we fit in.”

The Canucks return to action at Ross Wells Park on May 22 against the Weyburn Beavers.

Follow Katie on Twitter @katiebrickman.

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