Peewee AAA Cougars off to Westerns

By Ryan Stelter, Camrose Canadian

Camrose minor baseball teams were off chasing championships throughout Alberta this past weekend. 

The peewee AAA Cougars came closest to earning a provincial championship, but they came home with a silver medal after losing to the Okotoks Dawgs in the tier I provincial final. The silver lining for the Cougars is they will be heading to Westerns in Spruce Grove on Aug. 17-20.  

The Cougars will begin play against a Manitoba team on Aug. 17 at noon, and on Aug. 18 they will play at 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Aug. 19 will be placement games, with the semifinals and gold medal game slated to be on Aug. 20. 

Camrose started the weekend off with a 7-4 win over Red Deer on Friday, then a 4-3 loss to Okotoks on Saturday. The Cougars bounced back on Saturday with a 10-0 trouncing of Sherwood Park, and wrapped up round robin play with a 9-3 win over host St. Albert. Due to their successful round robin, the Cougars were sent right to the final where they lost to Okotoks again. Cougars head coach Ryan Popowich could not be reached for comment at press time. 

With the success of the peewee AAA program in Camrose, there is always the possibility of having a bantam AAA team next season.  

“We’ve got six players returning, and we know we got boys moving up from the peewee AA and AAA groups, so we know we’ll have a strong team next year,” said manager of the Bantam AA Cougars Royal team Beth Kushnerick. “What it comes down to is making sure you’ve got enough players that are at that calibre, but you want to make sure you’ve got a strong AA and AAA bantam team.” 

The Camrose Bantam AA Royal team was also in action this past weekend in Strathmore and Cheadle. The Cougars beat Innisfall 9-4 in their opening game of round robin play at tier I provincials. A comfortable win against Grand Prairie on Saturday was followed by a 9-7 loss to Provost. The Cougars were down 8-1 after four innings but managed to rally back to make the game close, that rally secured first place after round robin play. In the semifinals the Cougars took on Slave Lake and lost 15-10 to end their hopes of a provincial championship. 

After beating Slave Lake handily in the past, Kushnerick says complacency was the enemy in their semifinal exit.  

“I think the boys might have been a little bit cocky,” she said. “We made it to provincials and we made it to the semis so I think we have a lot to be proud of.” 

NOTES — Both midget AA teams were in tier II provincials in Spruce Grove and the peewee AA Cougars were in Leduc, but no results were available at press time.   

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