And as it turns, it was the Canucks who would come away with the decisive win, scoring six runs in the first inning and going on to a 15-3 victory at Gattinger Diamond.
“It was a lot of fun, we’ve been looking forward to playing these guys for a long time and I think they were looking forward to playing us,” said Canucks coach Shane Sowden. “There’s a lot of buddies, and the fun part is seeing a lot of these kids from last year and then new kids coming into the program. It’s just fun seeing this age group get stronger and get better together… these guys are all going to be teammates for the next five or six years, so it was a lot of fun.”
As mentioned, the Canucks got things going quick – their first eight batters all reached base, and they scored the maximum six runs while giving up a single out.
That 6-0 deficit marked one of the few times the Prairie Dogs have trailed in a game this season, and coach Craig Flanagan felt his troops took things a little too hard.
“It was kind of a challenge to keep our attitudes up a little bit, this is kind of our team’s first little bit of (adversity) getting down big in a game,” Flanagan said. “They have to learn that as young kids, and as coaches we have to keep them pumped up and in the game with positive attitudes… They got down a little bit on themselves and that made it tough.”
The Dogs were able to settle down and got three runs back in their half of the second, and the score was 7-3 through four innings when the Canucks once again struck big. Another six runs, another trip through the order, and this time there was no coming back. The Prairie Dogs would manage only two more baserunners the rest of the game, and the Canucks would go on to their lopsided win.
“I think getting six runs in the first inning, when we hit the ball really well, that took the wind out of their sails a little bit, and then we were off to the races,” Sowden said. “Guys threw strikes, made some nice plays, and at this level sometimes it comes down to who makes the least amount of errors and throws the most strikes and that’s what we did tonight.”
Flanagan, meanwhile, will look to see his troops rebound the next time out.
“I think they had a very good game and our team played a bit of a below average game and I think that’s why the score got out of hand a little bit… we had a good chat afterwards, and I told them they’re not going to have their best game every day. They’re young kids, they’re learning this stuff and this was the first time we got behind a bit.
“We had a good winning streak coming in here, they got us tonight and our kids will be excited to get another winning streak going next game.”
The Canucks are back in action Aug. 11 when they’re in Regina to face the Pacers, while the Prairie Dogs are on the field the next night against the Regina Buffaloes.