The Red Deer Bantam AAA Braves simply can’t stop scoring runs.
Red Deer added a pair of double-digit run efforts, 12-1 and 13-2 in back-to-back wins against the Edmonton Cardinals Sunday at Great Chief Park. The victories ran their winning streak to five games and they’ve scored 10 runs or more in five of their last eight.
“It was good, the boys played well. We hit the ball around and played good D and played solid,” said catcher Ben Franz, who had a pair of RBI in the second game on Sunday.
“We’re a solid team. fundamentally strong, hit the ball hard and play well. It’s fun.”
Owen Harriott belted a two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the sixth in game two of the doubleheader to close out the 13-2 win. Ben St. Pierre had eight strikeouts on the mound in the first three innings in Game 2.
On the year the Braves are tops in the Alberta Bantam AAA standings with a 24-7 record, to go along with 279 runs scored and only 142 allowed.
Levi Hammond, one of the team’s big contributors on the mound and offensively this season said it’s a tight-knit group and that has allowed them to have success so far.
“Our cooperation and doing what we have to do for each other,” said Hammond about the strength of their group this year.
Head coach Kurt Simon said there are several on-field strengths for his club, but one that stands out is depth on the mound. Most Bantam AAA teams scrape by with four or five players who can pitch, but the Braves coach explained his team is nearly 12 players deep at the position.
“We don’t just have 12 pitchers, we have 12 good pitchers,” Simon said.
“In a five or six game weekend, we’ll be in good shape because we are way deeper. We’ve got into a rotation, but I could tap on three or four other guys to start games. In our bullpen, we’ve got guys that can come in and throw it by guys.”
Simon also added that his team’s baserunning is some of the best he has seen from a group of 14 and 15-year-olds.
As the end of the season nears, the Braves have their eyes on a provincial medal, an appearance at Westerns and perhaps even a berth at Nationals. Their head coach and most of their roster set out that goal from day one.
“Everybody else we play from here on out is pretty strong… any three of the top six can finish could finish with a medal (at provincials). It’s going to be tight,” Simon said.
“It will be interesting to see how things go when its really on the line. We have a great record so far and we’ve won some close games. We’ve had some guys perform in high leverage situations, but it’s not quite provincials.”
The Braves have a busy road schedule in July, before playing in provincials on the August long weekend.