Sports briefs – August 3

The Red Deer Carstar Braves’ bats went cold in Sunday’s final of the Alberta midget AAA baseball championship.

AAA Braves fall in final

ST. ALBERT — The Red Deer Carstar Braves’ bats went cold in Sunday’s final of the Alberta midget AAA baseball championship.

The Braves managed only four hits — including a single and double by Jay Kirkham — in a 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Cardinals. Blair Mulder, meanwhile, gave up 10 hits and four earned runs on the Carstar mound in a complete-game effort that included four strikeouts, one walk, two wild pitches and two hit batters.

As the provincial runners-up, the Braves will represent Alberta in the Western Canada midget AAA championship Aug. 19-23.

Carstar was 3-1 in round-round play, then bounced the Spruce Grove White Sox 4-0 in a semifinal as Brett Littlefair contributed a pair of hits and drove in a run, Brady Porter also had two hits and Mulder and Mark Fay each stroked a double. Scott Trapp went the distance on the Braves’ hill, giving up just one hit while fanning two batters and walking one over seven innings.

Red Deer opened the tournament with a 3-2 win over the Cardinals.

Mulder cracked a two-run double, Taze Steeves chipped in with a single and double, and Kirkham worked all seven innings on the mound, allowing one earned run on two hits while walking two batters and striking out eight.

From there, the Braves got two hits from each of Kirkham (single, double and three RBI) and Curtis Mazurkewich (single, double and one RBI) and a two-bagger off the bat of Brady Porter in an 8-7 victory over the Okotoks Dawgs Red.

Corbyn Shields got the win despite facing just one batter, while Wyle Cunningham worked six innings — giving up four earned runs on six hits with six strikeouts — and Jonah Penner was touched for three earned runs on two hits over two-thirds of an inning.

Carstar then thumped the Calgary Cubs 13-1 and dropped a 7-5 decision to the St. Albert Cardinals.

Mazurkewich and Kirkham each stroked a two-run single against the Cubs, with Mulder, Steeves and Porter contributing two hits and one RBI apiece and Drew Hamilton and Fay each driving in a run. Littlefair got the win, holding the Calgary squad to three hits while walking three batters and fanning two.

Ireland cracked three hits in the loss to St. Albert, while Trapp, Littlefair and Cunningham each contributed a single and double and Reid Stoyberg and Dom Tait each had one RBI. Fay suffered the loss, giving up four runs — one earned — on three hits during one inning of work, while Porter worked five innings — allowing two earned runs on three hits with two strikeouts — and Hamilton pitched one scoreless frame

Bantam Braves split provincials

OKOTOKS — Levi Moon was two-for-three at the plate as the Red Deer Servus Credit Union Braves fell 7-3 to the Foothills Black Dawgs and finished 2-2 in the provincial bantam AAA baseball championship tournament during the weekend.

Moon stroked a single and double and drove in a run, while Joel Mazurkewich was two-for-four with a single and double. Starting and losing pitcher Reign Letkeman allowed five runs on seven hits and fanned seven batters over six innings.

The Braves, who finished first in provincial league play, opened the tournament with an 8-0 blanking of Sherwood Park Gold, as Jason Garrett contributed two singles, knocked in two runs and scored once, and Moon was also two-for-four with an RBI and one run scored. Macinnon Guckert picked up the win, allowing just one hit over the first two innings while recording four strikeouts.

Red Deer then fell 11-2 to the St. Albert Cardinals, managing just four hits — all singles. Guckert started and lost on the Braves mound, surrendering eight runs on six hits while fanning three batters in three and two-thirds innings of work.

In the Braves’ third outing, Nathan Damiani cracked a home run and stroked a single in a 6-3 victory over the Foothills Red Dawgs. Ty Elliott was two-for-three with two RBI, Garrett had two doubles and scored twice, Jayden Hutlet chipped in with a single, double and an RBI, and starting pitcher Mitch Vanson was touched for two runs on four hits — striking out four batters in the process — over five and one-third innings.

The Foothills Black Dawgs went on to win the provincial championship by defeating Sherwood Park Gold by a score of 18-14.

Grizzlys hire Willison as new coach

The Olds Grizzlys have signed Kevin Willison to a three-year contract to assume the position of head coach/director of hockey operations.

Willison, a Calgary native, joins the Grizzlys after coaching midget teams at The Edge School for the past five seasons. Prior to that, he coached at the professional level with the Milwaukee Admirals of the old International Hockey League.

“My coaching philosphy is simple” Willison said in a Saturday press release. “The team comes first. I strive to instill the respect, understanding and responsibility of the game to the players.”

“If he is able to impart even just a little of his knowledge from his playing days, Kevin will be successful,” said Grizzlys president Jim Ross.

Willison played for two years in the BCHL before joining the Calgary Centennials of the WHL. After being drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the fifth round of the 1978 NHL entry draft from the WHL’s Billings Bighorns, he played 10 years of professional hockey. While playing with the Admirals, he was a two-time winner of the Governor’s Trophy as the league’s top defenseman.

Willison’s hiring follows the sudden resignation of Doug Hedley on July 23. Hedley, who left the club for personal reasons, was hired in June to replace Kevin Hasselberg, who resigned in March after five years as head coach/director of hockey operations and is now an assistant general manager/assistant coach with the Port Alberni Bulldogs of the BCHL.

“He (Willison) will have to hit the ground running, but from all indications he will be able to make the transition quickly,” said Ross.

Alford finishes in 24th

Jocelyn Alford, formerly of Red Deer, turned in a final-round 76 Friday and finished in 24th place in the Royale Cup Canadian amateur women’s golf championship at Kingsville, Ont.

Alford had a 72-hole total of 12-over par 300 — including earlier scores of 73-75-76) — and finished 21 strokes behind winner Sydnee Michaels of Temecula, Calif. (66-71-70-72—279).

l A trio of local athletes will compete in the 72-hole Canadian junior boys’ championship opening Tuesday in Richmond, B.C.

Alberta champion Carson Kallis, who will lead the four-man Alberta team, Zach Griffiths and Jesse Teron will represent Red Deer.

U18 Titans split

The Red Deer Titans U18 squads split a pair of games in Edmonton.

The Titans boys won 53-5 over the Nor’Westers while the girls dropped their first match in three starts, losing 30-15 to the Pirates.

Kyle Pickett scored three tries for the Titans in the boys’ action with Connor Borle adding two tries and Karl Bejier, Connor Leduc, Ryan Maclellan and Grady Bowd, who had four converts, one each.

Jordan Grant, Megan Berlinguette and Dacey Livingstone scored tries for the girls.

Both teams return to action Wednesday when they host the Edmonton Clanmen at 7 p.m. at Titans Park.

The Titans U21 boys’ squad is playing in the Banff tens tournament this weekend.

Exelta going to worlds

Twelve members of the Red Deer Exelta demo-troupe will help represent Canada in one of the indoor performance spots at the 2011 World Gymnaestrada in Lausanne, Switzerland, next July.

The Exelta group, as part of the Alberta North medley team which includes clubs from Sherwood Park and Edmonton, earned the trip while competing in the Canadian National Gymnaestrada at Winnipeg in June.

The Red Deer athletes are Brittany Walliser, Caelidh Johanson, Jordyn Sherback, Cheyenne Cocke, Noelle Bellanger, Emma Hope, Faedre Holt, Carol LeMaistre, Summer Littlechild, Anna Cameron, Chance Duda and Kameryne Boyd, and are coached by Katrina Laszuk and Amanda Wilson.