It was like déjà vu all over again for the Swift Current Midget Indians as they placed second at the Western Canadian Baseball Championships for a second straight year as the host team.
The Indians lost their first two games of the tournament but recovered to win their next two games to force a three-way tied for second with a 2-2 record. They earned a spot in
Sunday’s championship final by virtue of a tie-breaker, where they lost 9-4 to Manitoba’s Rock Lake Regals.
The Midget Indians suffered a narrow 2-1 loss to Manitoba’s Rock Lake Regals to open the tournament on Friday afternoon. They fell to 0-2 with a 3-1 loss to the Ladner Red Sox on Friday evening.
The Midget Indians bounced back Saturday afternoon with a 2-0 win over the North East Red Sox. The Tribe wrapped up their round robin on Saturday evening against Alberta’s Clive Coyotes and evened their record with a 5-4 win.
The Indians led Rock Lake 3-1 midway through the championship game but a series of defensive mistakes allowed the Regals to take over the game.
“We played pretty well for most of the game and then that one tough inning we had a couple mistakes on defense that really kind of hurt us. It was definitely a tough loss to take,” said coach Brennan Peterson after watching his team lose the final for a second straight year at Mitchell Field.
The Indians’ playoff hopes were dim after losing their opening two games Friday.
“I was very happy with the way the guys battled that way. We lost our first two games on Friday and we just didn’t hit well. It would have been easy for the guys to show up on Saturday and say it wasn’t our weekend. They definitely didn’t, they showed up and they battled. They put together two really good games on Saturday and gave us a chance to be in the final on Sunday. It was very good to see them battle like that on Saturday,” said Peterson.
Complicating the opening losses was the loss of star infielder Reid Fritzke, who had to head south for college.
“That is just another credit to the team. On Friday we lost both games and just didn’t hit well. Then Saturday Reid takes off to head down to college. It would have been really easy for our guys to say there goes our weekend, but they didn’t. They showed up Saturday and they knew they had to battle. The guys who weren’t in the spotlight had to step up and they did a great job.”
The Indians will only lose the services of Fritzke, Darby Crozier, and Jordan Grueztner next season.
“To do as well as we did with such a young line-up is just encouraging looking forward to next year. The three guys we are losing we are definitely going to miss. Fritzke, Darby, and Jordan all worked really hard for us, all had a good couple years and we will definitely miss those guys. Looking forward it is kind of exciting to see that we accomplished what we did with the young crew we had this year.”
Peterson, a product of Swift Current Minor Baseball and the Western Major Baseball League Swift Current Indians, coached the Midget Indians for a second straight season.
“Yeah I will definitely be back next year. I have had a lot of fun these first two years, so I will definitely give it a go next year.”
Peterson was aided this season by former WMBL Indians teammates Taylor MacDonnell and Kirk Haviland.
“It is definitely good to have those coaches there to help you out. Definitely when you have people who played as many games as those guys have to help you out it is huge and it is nice to bounce ideas off them. It definitely makes things easier for the head coach when you have guys like that.”