Mitch Vanson was a hard-luck loser for Zone 4 (Parkland) in the Baseball Alberta Zone Championships Saturday at Great Chief Park, but he drew the majority of the accolades.
Vanson threw 6 2/3 innings of no-hit ball before three straight hits and an error gave Zone 5 a 2-1 victory and knocked the Central Alberta squad out of the A-side playoffs.
“Mitch is a Team Alberta calibre player,” said Zone 4 head coach Don Von Hollen. “He did everything expected of him today and more. He does everything we ask of him on and off the field and has a bright future.”
Vanson, who along with Joel Mazurkewich and Riley Guntrip, helped Team Alberta win gold at the Western Canada Summer Games. He won the semifinal over Saskatchewan.
The Zone 4 squad jumped on Zone 5 starter Tanner Kirner for a run in the first inning on a single by Tyler Galloway, a stolen base and an RBI single by Guntrip. But that was all their offence could muster.
“It was a heart-breaker,” said Von Hollen. “We played excellent defence, until that last error, but didn’t get the bats going. But overall we’re happy with the boys.”
Zone 4 came back to beat Zone 7 (North East) 9-5 in their second game Saturday and will play in a consolation match against the third-place team in the other pool (Zone 1) today at 9 a.m. on Diamond 2.
The biggest loss for the Zone 4 boys was an 11-9 defeat at the hands of Zone 2 Friday.
“We win that one we’re in the semifinals,” said Von Hollen. “But we gave them seven runs in the sixth inning. We made a few errors as the boys weren’t used to each other yet and that was it. But we also showed a lot as we came back with five runs in the seventh to make a game of it.”
Corey Twa of Coronation and Levi Moon of Red Deer each had doubles against Zone 5, which includes Sherwood Park, St. Albert and Stony Plain.
Nik Fischer started against Zone 7 and went three innings, allowing two runs while Moon worked three innings and picked up the win when his mates scored once in the fifth to tie the game at 4-4 and added five runs in the sixth. Brendan Baker pitched the seventh, allowing one run.
It was a game that saw Von Hollen use everyone on the roster.
“It was a good effort and several of the guys who weren’t expected to see as much playing time came through,” he said.
“Jordan McCallum (of Stettler) played very well at first base and had a couple of big hits while Jayden Buxton (of Cornonation) is just out of peewee and did an excellent job. As well Samuel Johnson (of Bawlf) did a good job catching.”
McCallum had a pair of walks to go with two hits and drove in two runs in the sixth. Buxton had a single and a walk while Tyler Galloway of Red Deer had a pair of doubles and two walks and Guntrip a double and a walk.
Von Hollen expects everyone to play again today.
“We’ll have a lot of fun,” he said.
Zone 5 and Zone 2 advanced from their pool while Zone 3 and Zone 6 come out of the other pool.
Zone 8 and Zone 7 finished fourth in their respective pools and meet at 9 a.m. today.