There was some hope, but in the end the writing was on the wall for the Moose Jaw All-Stars heading into final game of the Little League Canadian Championship.
With the main tiebreaker for the final playoff spot at the championship based on run differential and the All-Stars well into the negative, even with a win in their final game and a potential four-way tie with a 2-4 record, they would be unable to land the fourth semifinal spot.
Still, the local squad did all they could to find victory against B.C. representative Coquitlam on Thursday afternoon in Ancaster, Ont., but couldn’t find the key hits at the right time in an 8-4 loss.
That capped the All-Stars tournament with a 1-5 record and seventh place.
Coquitlam took a quick 3-0 lead in the first inning, with a two-run home run off the bat of Matthew Shanley doing the majority of damage.
The All-Stars struggled at the plate early against B.C. starter Everett Bertsch, not scoring their first run until the third inning when Max Simmons hit a one-out double and came around to score when Noah Thul grounded out to short, closing the score to 4-1.
Coquitlam tacked on three insurance runs in the fourth inning to extend their lead to 7-1 before the All-Stars managed to get back on the bats in their half of the frame, beginning when Cooper Gregor came around to score from first on a double by Nathan Pisio, who scored from third on a passed ball two batters later. Ryan Duncan tacked on another run on a ground-out by Jackson Folliott, closing the Prairie representatives to three 7-4.
Max Simmons recorded the first out of the fifth inning to hit the 85-pitch Little League limit, rebounding from a tough start in his first game against Ancaster to scatter nine hits and strike out four while walking only one, marking the second game the All-Stars benefited from a solid starting pitching performance. Pisio closed out the inning with a pair of strikeouts.
Nathan Lo took over on the mound for Bertsch in the bottom of the fifth and shut out the All-Stars the rest of the way to secure the victory.
Coquitlam improved to 5-1, having secured second place on Tuesday, with Quebec’s Mirabel Academy (5-0) and Ontario’s Ottawa West (3-2) taking the other two playoff spots and facing each other in a meaningless game Thursday afternoon. The final semifinal berth was to be decided later in the day when Atlantic’s Glace Bay took on Alberta’s Calgary West, with an Atlantic win seeing three teams tied with 2-4 records and a Calgary win moving them into the semifinal with a 3-3 record.
The semifinals take place Friday, with the championship game taking place Saturday morning.