Richmond runs the table, winning BLE Best of the West
Posted April 11, 2016
The Bantam AAA Richmond Chuckers went a perfect 5-0 this past weekend to win the BLE Best of the West tournament in Kamloops...
The Chuckers rode stellar pitching and an active offense to their second straight tournament title (after last last fall's BC Baseball Fall Classic).
After round robin wins over SFX Academy of Edmonton (14-1), the North Shore Bantam (Prep) Twins (9-4) and the Okangan Bantam (Prep) A's (15-1), the Chuckers stepped up a notch to face the perrenial powerhouse Okotoks Dawgs in the Sunday morning semi. In a true Pitcher's duel Justin Thorsteinson was lights out, recording 11 K's and no hits over 6 2/3 innings, with Reid Dawson coming in to record the final out of the combined no-hitter. Richmond scored three in the first before the Dawg's Lorenzo dialed it up, allowing no more opportunities beyond that initial frame thanks to some big league bite on his breaking ball. The final score was 3-0 in an excellent ballgame.
The final pitted Richmond against the Coquitlam Bantam Reds. The PBL Reds introduced their Bantam age (formerly known in the PBL as "Prep") team last year and pulling from Coquitlam/Tri-Cities, North/West Vancouver and Vancouver, they fielded a deep, talented team. The Reds took the higher seed for the final having the benefit of allowing four runs to Richmond's six in the round robin games.
The Chuckers fell behind by a pair of runs early, but eventually broke the goose egg in the 4th plating two to tie the game. Richmond then kept the pressure on scoring at least one run in each of the final three frames to earn a solid 7-3 win and the tournament title.
A solid team effort all weekend showed the depth of the 2016 team, as the Chuckers out scored their opponents 48-9. Individual highlights are too numerous to list here, but honorable mention goes to Montaro Uyeyama (9-for-13, 3 2Bs, 1 3B, 7 RBI), Dustin McElwain (9 runs, HR, 5 RBI) and Justin Thorsteinson (7-for-11, 3 2Bs, 7 RBI, 6 2/3 innings of no-hit pitching in the semi-final). Excellent start to the season!