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July 14, 2024 July 14, 2024

Jets win final tournament of the spring season

Posted on May 31, 2024 by Taber Times
Times Photo By Trevor Busch. FIELD WORK: The Vauxhall Academy of Baseball Jets held their 18th Annual Haven Agencies Invitational Tournament over the May long weekend at Jets Stadium. Competing teams included the AHP Renegades, Lethbridge Elks, Webber Wildcats and the Red Deer Braves.

By Cole Parkinson
Taber Times

With one final tournament to finish off the spring, the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball Jets were down in. Missoula, Mont. this past weekend.

The Jets kicked off the Missoula Memorial Day tournament with a date against the home team on May 24. Despite a good game, the Jets dropped the first of the tournament as the Mavericks took it 5-4. The Jets’ pitching staff didn’t allow a single hit in the game but walks and errors were the Jets’ downfall. Aaron Fuzesy and Luke Wheatley had two hits each while Easton Kitura had a triple, and Karsen Haney and Eric Reiling each had one hit.

“We got down there Friday night, you got a long bus ride, you check into the hotel quick, and race to the game, and we came out flat,” explained Les McTavish, head coach of the Jets. “We didn’t pitch the ball great on Friday, and we didn’t play good defence, spotted them some runs early, and actually threw a no-hitter, but lost the game 5-4. It was just one of those days that not a lot of things went right, but our offence was exceptional in the game. We lined out multiple times and deserved to win the game — we just came on the short end of the stick against the home team Missoula.”

Game 2 of the tournament saw the Jets hit the field to take on the Badlands Academy. Thanks to a bounce-back performance, the Jets were able to win it 7-1. Hudson Kozicki, Kaden Coldwell, and Rory MacDonald each took to the mound in the game and contributed to the win. It was a quick turnaround as they went right back to the field to take on CDA. In a high-scoring affair, the Jets were able to outscore CDA with a 12-8 win. Jimmy Boulanger took the win on the mound in Game 2. On the day, Stevyn Andrachick and Haney were each 4-8, Kitura was 2-5, Reiling was 4-6, and Wheatley was 3-6.

“And then kind of back against the wall, you’ve got to win out if you want a shot at (the final),  you still don’t know if you’re going to get into the finals. So we came out and played well against Badlands to get us back in the winning column — a 7-1 victory and then had a tremendous ball game against Coeur d’Alene, we got down early 5-0 in the first, ended up holding them off, our bullpen was exceptional. Jacob Burgess was really, really good, threw multiple scoreless innings, and our offence continued to hang in there, we blew it open in the seventh, it was tied 6-6, blew it open in 6 runs in the 7th, and held on to win that one,” continued McTavish.

The final round-robin game saw the Jets take on the Helena Senators. In another tight game, the Jets saw their pitching come up big while their offence continued to score runs as they took it 5-2. Sheamus Ryan was fantastic on the mound as he pitched a complete game with six punch outs. Kitura was 2-2 with an RBI, Reiling and Andrachick each had a double, and Callum Thomson and Haney each had a hit in the win.

With a 3-1 record in the round-robin, the Jets punched their ticket to the final where they had a rematch against the Missoula Mavericks.

“We had a must-win against Helena to go to the final, and we trailed most of the game. We ended up scoring a couple of runs to take the lead at 4-2, and it was awesome. It was really good because we had Sheamus Ryan back, who’s a national team player, he threw a complete game, and then we had to wait on a couple of other results to see if we were in the final, and fortunately we got into the final,” stated McTavish. “We played the host team, who we lost to Friday night, and we pitched all of our arms throughout the weekend, and we decided to recycle a couple of our older guys, Brett Getz and Jimmy Boulanger, and they got us off on the right foot.”

Despite dropping the first game against the home team, the Jets came out firing in the final as they scored tons of runs en route to a 15-2 final. Boulanger, Brett Getz, and Fuzesy all took to the mound and only allowed two runs while striking out seven. Andrachick was 2-4, Haney was 3-4 with a double, Thomson was 2-3, Reiling was 2-4 with a grand slam, Wheatley was 1-3 with a triple, Simmons was 1-4 with a double, and Langdyn Cummins had a 1-3 day.

“It was 0-0 after one, and we had a tremendous offensive day. We ended up scoring 15 runs in the second inning and ended up winning 15-2. It was a big crowd and it was a beautiful day, 22 degrees at the Pro Park in Missoula, so it was a really cool way to end the season. Certainly proud of the guys, and they deserve the championship, they’ve had a lot of hard-fought battles throughout tournaments this year, and we came up just a tad short, but it was really nice to see them come out on the winning side of this one,” finished McTavish.

The Jets have now wrapped up their 2023-2024 schedule and will return in the fall.

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