The U18 AAA Tier I CarStar Braves are headed to the Western Canadian Baseball Championships and will represent Alberta after a successful season.
The tournament, which begins Aug. 18-21 in Regina, Sask., will feature some of the best teams in Western Canada going head to head to become the best in the west.
Braves head coach Josh Zanolli said they’re excited to go and are hoping they can represent Alberta well and bring home the gold medal.
“I think we have a good chance. It really depends on how the guys perform but I think we’re right there talent-wise,” he said. “We’ll see how they do, It’s been a couple of weeks break since provincials so that’ll be a challenge but we should be right there.”
It will be a tournament of six teams that will travel to Saskatchewan from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and two from Manitoba. All the teams competing in the tournament finished second in the provincial championships and the teams who won in provincials earned a spot in the Canadian National Championships.
The Braves will lose four players who weren’t able to make it but picked up a few to replace them on the existing roster to help them out.
“It’s a chance for us to extend our season… We’re going with a little bit of a smaller roster but I still think we’re a really good team and have a good chance to compete there,” Zanolli added.
The Braves qualified for the Western Canadian Baseball Championships after losing to the St. Albert Cardinals 10-0 on July 31 at the Baseball Alberta Elite League U18 AAA Tier I Provincial Final. During provincials, the Braves were 5-0 heading into the finals beating the Calgary Cubs, Okotoks Dawgs, Sherwood Park Dukes, and a walk-off win in the eighth inning against the Parkland Dukes.
They were also the number one team in the league during the regular season winning 33 games and only losing six.
“I thought we had a really good year,” he said. “Kind of hard to fault the guys for what we’ve accomplished this year. The team played very well for the entire season and you know we just got beat. St. Albert’s a very good team and if you asked me before the season started who the best two teams were I would have said St. Albert and us. No surprise at who we played and unfortunately that day they just were better than we were. That’s just the way the game goes.”