By Cole Parkinson
For Taber Times
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Vauxhall Spurs are in their busy season as the “A” squad opened their conference games on June 3 with a doubleheader against the Lethbridge Miners.
“Overall, things went pretty well for our opening conference games of the year at Lloyd Nolan Yard. We split the games with the Miners, winning game one 7-2 and losing game two 3-0,” explained Jimmy Vulcano, head coach of the Spurs. “Our outfield was a standout. Several big catches from Torbin Jorgensen, Langdyn Cummins, and Wyatt Coupe — all covering a lot of ground. Infield performance also was very solid for games, particularly the performance of Aidan Maxwell at third base. We will be focusing on overall team hitting, but the boys have been working hard and it’s early in the year.”
The Spurs then hosted the Medicine Hat Knights on June 6 for a doubleheader that saw the team play in their first home games of the season.
“The Medicine Hat Knights came in for our first home series opener of the season on Tuesday. We had a great turnout from local fans, along with many supporters that came with the Knights,” added Vulcano.
The Spurs would open the scoring with a two-run Coupe double. They would score again in the fourth as Cash Crowson, Ashton Lukacs, Landon Howg, and Coupe all had an RBI. Overall, the team had 10 hits while Tanner Bullock’s season debut was very successful, going five complete innings and giving up only two hits. Brian Fehr closed the game with two complete innings and one hit en route to an 11-3 win for the Spurs.
Game two saw both teams hit the ball all over the ballpark, but the Spurs were able to come out on top with an 11-10 victory. Medicine Hat opened the scoring in the second inning with a pair of runs, but the Spurs rallied in the bottom of the third with two outs as they put together four consecutive singles and a double. The Knights would add another run in the top of the fifth inning, but Vauxhall answered back scoring five of their own in the bottom of the inning with a two-out rally. The visitors would tie the game in the top of the seventh, but the bottom of the inning opened with a double from Howg and walk off sac fly to centre field by Adam Vulcano.
Weekend action saw the Spurs take on the Lethbridge Miners for another doubleheader on Saturday, followed by a doubleheader against the Great Falls Chargers on Sunday. The Spurs’ bats were certainly firing on all cylinders in the first game of the weekend as they were able to put up a 16-6 win over Lethbridge.
The Spurs were boosted by Jaxxon Pavka who went 4-5 at the plate and Coupe who had a home run. The Spurs saw big offensive innings in the fourth and sixth innings. Maxwell collected the win on the mound, going six innings, allowing six runs on nine hits, and striking out three. In the second game of the day, the Miners were able to rebound and take the final game 7-3.
“Both teams were strong on the mound on Saturday, but Lethbridge Legion “A” Miners was just a little bit stronger at the plate in a victory,” said Vulcano.
Despite a slowdown in game two, the Spurs were able to put up a ton of runs in two games against the Chargers on Sunday. Game one was a 10-2 final in favour of the Spurs and they wrapped up the weekend with an 11-3 victory.
In game one, the Spurs scored early and often as Mark Vulcano had an RBI double in the first and Jorgensen had an RBI single. Vauxhall notched another five runs in the third inning, led by Coupe, Roman Pavka, and Peyton Howell, who all drove in runs. Bullock was back on the mound and gave the Spurs all seven innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, striking out three and walking one.
The second game saw the Spurs score lots more runs with ten hits total. Lukacs and Brian Fehr each collected multiple hits for the Spurs. Cummins got the start for Vauxhall and the fireballer went four innings, allowing three runs on three hits, and striking out three.
Over the first few weeks of the season, the coaching staff has been impressed by a number of players. The early results are certainly encouraging and the hope is the players continue to grow and improve as they head towards hosting Northern Districts in mid-July. With games coming fast and furious over the next several weeks, the team is also hoping to get in tons of practice. Getting as many reps on all sides of the ball as possible is an early goal for the team and both coaches and players have been happy with how things have progressed so far. But with tons of season left, everyone knows there’s still plenty of runway to get better.
“Lately we have been working and focusing on team defence, making sure we have arms going in the pens each practice, and getting as many swings in as we can to end each practice. Right now, we are starting to practice three to four times per week. With high school season now finished, routines are starting to set in for everyone. We try to start practice later than normal, often at 7 p.m. to give them time between getting home from school and getting to the field. Overall, we try to make things flexible as possible so the players can find a balance that translates to their maximum effort and performance on the field,” added Vulcano.
This week sees three total games. On June 15, the Spurs welcome in the Trip County Cardinals for a single game at 5 p.m. The week wraps up with a doubleheader on Saturday against the Fort Macleod Royals. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. at Jets Stadium.