Cloverdale’s U11 AAA Tier 1 Spurs are provincial champions.
The Spurs recently got back from Victoria where they went undefeated in the process of clinching a provincial title.
Alyssa Wolanski, team manager, said the players and coaches worked very hard to win the provincial tournament, but also over the course of their short summer session.
“They went 27-3 in a season that lasted only six weeks,” Wolanski said.
She added coaches Trevor Brookshaw, Tom Cowle, Dave Gilfillan, and Kevin Smith ran practices every day there wasn’t a game and they even sprinkled some practices in on a few game-day mornings.
“They were beyond extraordinary and helped these kids realize a dream.”
That dream began on July 29 when the kids opened the AAA Tier 1 championship tournament with two big wins. Cloverdale scored 10 runs in an early morning victory over Kelowna (10-2). Later that day, they put up a dozen runs on the Ridge Meadows Royals, winning 12-4.
On Saturday the Spurs again dominated both of their round-robin games, scoring 16 runs in another big win, this time over Victoria (16-4), and scoring nearly a dozen against Chilliwack, winning 11-1.
Cloverdale finished atop Pool A and faced Pool B’s second-place team, Abbotsford, in the playoffs.
Wolanski said after four round-robin wins—with an incredible combined 49 runs for with only 11 against—the Spurs met some on-diamond adversity in both the semifinal and the final.
In Cloverdale’s first tight game of the tourney, the kids fell behind to Abbotsford in the semifinal. But Cloverdale battled back, eventually grinding out a 7-6 come-from-behind win.
In the final, Cloverdale won another tight game, this time in dramatic fashion, as they downed White Rock 10-9.
In the last inning of the game the score was tied with a Cloverdale runner in scoring position. Then Kaleb Newson stepped up to the plate for the Spurs and rattled off a “golden double”, scoring the runner and giving the Spurs a walk-off provincial championship win—completing another come-from-behind victory for the kids.
With the gold medal win, the Spurs finished the tournament with a perfect 6-0 record.
“Fox Ferguson was clutch on the mound on the final day of the tournament,” Wolanski noted. “Andrew Klaponski played centre (and had) three running catches to prevent extra bases.”
She added Tyson Wolanski caught all six tournament games, which she said was difficult because of the heatwave.
“The team only allowed 26 runs in the six games,” she added, “the lowest in the tournament.”
U11 AAA TIER 1 CHAMPIONS
Players: Andrew Klaponski, Ben Aragon, Dylan Palmer, Eli Brookshaw, Fox Ferguson, Kaleb Newson, Owen Hungar, Ryder Smith, Tavin Cowle, Tyce Heimlicher, Tyson Gilfillan, Tyson Wolanski.
Coaches: Dave Gilfillan, Kevin Smith, Tom Cowle, Trevor Brookshaw (head coach).