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VAB Jets compete at the Best of the West tournament

Posted on May 9, 2024 by Taber Times

By Cole Parkinson
Taber Times

This past weekend saw the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball Jets depart to B.C. for the annual Best of the West tournament. The Jets opened up the tournament against White Rock and it was a tight game. Despite a good effort, the Jets fell 3-1. Sheamus Ryan went four innings on the mound d giving up three runs with six strikeouts. Rory MacDonald came in from the bullpen and gave the Jets three innings of scoreless baseball with four punchouts. The Jets found hits tough to come by as they only had two as Karsen Haney and Ben Simmons (one RBI) had the lone hits.

“You know, we got out of the gates a little slow. Faced kind of a soft tossing right-handed pitcher that popped us up a lot in Game 1 and we dumped it 3-1, which was a really tough loss. It put us up against, our backs up against the wall,” explained Les McTavish, head coach of the Jets.

The following day the Jets took on the Victoria Eagles which was another extremely close game. This time, the Jets were able to post a 2-0 shutout win. Jimmy Boulanger was excellent on the mound as he went a complete game allowing two hits, and one walk while striking out nine. Offensively, the Jets saw Jacob Austin go 2-3 with a double, Aaron Fuzesy was 1-2 with an RBI, and Stevyn Andrachik, Callum Thomson, Luke Wheatley, and Simmons all had one hit.

“But the kids responded really well. We played a really good Victoria Eagles team in Game 2, beat them 2-0. We pitched it extremely well in that game, had some timely hitting,” added McTavish.

Rounding out the round-robin, the Jets took on BLE and posted a 7-0 win. Brett Getz also went the full game and got the shutout with seven strikeouts while only allowing two hits. Haney was 3-4 with a triple and an RBI, Fuzesy was 2-4 with a double and an RBI, Thomson was 2-3 with an RBI, and Wheatley, Austin, and Langdyn Cummins all had one hit in the win.

The quarter-finals saw the Jets take to the field against PBR Canada. In another tightly contested battle, the Jets were able to secure a big 5-4 win to advance to the semi-finals to take on the Langley Blaze.

“Played a TBR Canada team, which is an all-star team from across Canada. We played really well — it was a tremendous game and we beat them 5-4,” continued McTavish. “We struck a guy out with a couple guys on at the 7th.

The Jets were unable to keep the magic going in the semi-final though they fell 5-0 as the Blaze moved on to the finals to take on the Okotoks Dawgs. In the final, the Dawgs would emerge as the victors.

“Then we just ran out of gas in the semifinal, we lost to Langley, but overall really happy with the group. They competed hard and there were extremely talented teams in this tournament, and so I thought our guys hung right in there. We finished 3rd place overall, and pretty happy with it,” stated McTavish.

Next up for the Jets is a nice long home stand as they welcome in the Great Falls Chargers for two doubleheaders.

“Looking forward to graduation week this week and we’re bringing up the Great Falls Chargers for four games. 12 o’clock doubleheader on Saturday and at 11 a.m. Sunday, so really looking forward to it,” said McTavish.

The following weekend sees the Jets home tournament as they welcome in a variety of teams for the Haven Agencies Tournament from May 16-19.

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