By Cole Parkinson
For Taber Times
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
After splitting doubleheaders against the Tri-County Cardinals and Lewiston Red Birds last week, the Vauxhall Spurs are still working on a few things before Northern Districts. With that starting on July 19, the Spurs still have a handful of games left and the coaching staff is eager to see how the team continues to improve up until that point.
“The boys are starting to really prepare — mentally and physically — for the upcoming championship. We’ve had a couple of defence bumps in the road recently in a couple of games, which only helped us to see a greater picture of what we need to work on,” explained Jimmy Vulcano, head coach.
June ended with a split against the Red Birds — a 14-8 loss and a 3-1 win. On July 1, the team once again participated in their annual Canada Day festivities. As a nice break from regular games, the Spurs were able to hit the field and have some fun. The ‘B’ Spurs were also able to participate this year as they hosted two teams on Canada Day.
“This year’s event went well, even though the annual smash-up derby was cancelled for the first time, we still had a large number of people come to Jets Stadium,” said Vulcano. “This year we had our Jr Spurs club hosting Lethbridge Lakers and Havre North Stars in a three-team day.”
After that, the Spurs and their alumni hit the field for several events.
“After the third game was completed, we held the first-ever Spurs Alumni Home Run Derby. There were approximately 12 alumni in the contest, and in the end, Dallas Cummins won the contest. After the derby, the annual alumni game was held. Approximately 16 alumni were present with players who played on the team from as early as last year to as far back as the inaugural season team of 1980! The 2023 Spurs beat the Alumni on a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning. The game was enjoyed by a large crowd of local and area families and fans,” added Vulcano.
It’s been back to business for the Spurs and with the Northern Districts fast approaching, the coaches and players have plenty to work on. And with the tournament on home field, the Spurs are excited to show their fans what they can do in the biggest games of the year.
“Right now, our focus needs to be on getting early leads in games and widening the gap as things progress over seven innings. Our defence has been fairly clean this last stretch, but could improve on eliminating small mistakes that have shown up randomly in the early parts of certain games. We need to see our pitching continue to deepen, with starters taking us very late in games and relievers coming in and really slamming the door on teams,” stated Vulcano.
Next action for the Spurs comes tonight when the Spurs head south to take on the Great Falls Chargers. The regular season then wraps up on July 16 when the team heads back down to the States to take on the Havre North Stars.