Dawgs bite Braves

It didn’t look that way Wednesday, but the Red Deer Carstar Braves have played well this season.

Okotoks Dawg James slides into third before Red Deer Brave Cal Ireland could make the tag during midget AAA action Wednesday night. The Dawgs won 11-0.

Okotoks Dawg James slides into third before Red Deer Brave Cal Ireland could make the tag during midget AAA action Wednesday night. The Dawgs won 11-0.

Dawgs Black 11 Braves 0

It didn’t look that way Wednesday, but the Red Deer Carstar Braves have played well this season.

In fact they sit third in the Norwest Midget AAA Baseball League, behind only the Edmonton SEEBA Cardinals and the Okotoks Dawgs Black, both of whom are more all-star teams than club teams.

The Braves ran into the Dawgs Black Wednesday dropping an 11-0 decision in five innings, which saw their record slip to 14-12. The Cardinals, who get the top players out of the Edmonton area, have a 25-1 record while the Dawgs Black, who run a year-round baseball academy and get a lot of the top players out of Southern Alberta, are 19-1. Both teams also use two 19-year-old players, something the Braves decided not to do this season.

“That was our philosophy in that we have a good group and we wanted our younger guys to play,” said Braves head coach Rick Czainski. “We have good leadership from our older guys and our second-year guys have earned their stripes and are contributing.”

Czainski and the coaching staff decided before the season they wanted to get everyone into every situation.

“And we’ve held true to that and we’re right with the majority of the teams in the league,” added Czainski. “And other than tonight I think we’ve played well this season. Our record could be a little better as a few times we’ve been unfortunate in that we’ve hit the ball hard, but right at people while the opposition seem to get the seeing-eye hits. But I still like our team.”

In fact Czainski is looking forward to the provincial championships, which will also act as the national qualifying tournament. The provincials go July 30-Aug1 in St. Albert with the winner going to the nationals in London, Ont., and the second-place team attending the Western finals.

“I’m looking forward to mixing it up with those guys and see what happens when it’s nine-against-nine,” added Czainski.

Teams will be allowed to use 19-year-old players in the provincials, but not at the nationals.

“That’s another rule that puzzles to me,” said the veteran skipper. “They’re allowing 19 year-olds in the biggest weekend of the season and yet the winner can’t use them at the nationals. Wouldn’t you want to send the best team?”

The Braves got themselves into trouble early Wednesday as the Dawgs scored five times in the first inning against starter Dom Tait. However, the Braves kicked the ball three times in the inning and six times over the first three innings.

“We can’t have the physical and mental errors we had tonight,” said Czainski. “But we’ll be on the bus at 7:30 in the morning heading to Oliver, B.C., for a tournament we’ve been looking forward to all season and that may have had something to do with it. The guys seemed to be looking ahead.”

Cal Ireland had a hit and walk, Corbyn Shields two walks and Blair Mulder the only other hit for the Braves.

drode@bprda.wpengine.com