The Moose Jaw All Stars will be hoping they managed to all their defensive miscues out of their system in their first game at the Little League Canadian Regional championship on Thursday afternoon.
The All Stars committed a total of 10 errors in their opening contest against B.C.’s Vancouver Little Mountain Little League and would go on to drop a 15-5 decision at the beautiful Rose Diamond in Calgary.
B.C. got on the board in the first inning, using a lead-off bunt and a short-hop single into left field to get runners to first and second. That set the stage for a rather strange outcome for the first run, as a throw from catcher Kale Pratte back to pitcher Emery Schoenroth went into the outfield, scoring the runner from third.
A single up the middle scored Vancouver’s second run, but Schoenroth would get a strikeout to end the inning. All told, B.C. scored the first two runs of the championship on three hits and an error.
Vancouver looked to get out of the bottom of the inning without any damage, but after Neal Kohl hit a long foul ball with two outs, he made no mistake with the next pitch, Kohl would take the offering over the left centerfield fence for the first home run of the tournament.
B.C. kept their offence going in the second inning, with the first three batters reaching base -- two of those on infield hits -- and a hit, error and passed ball later, Vancouver had a 5-1 lead.
By the time the inning was over, their edge was 7-1.
The All-Stars couldn’t respond in the bottom of the second, with B.C. getting two strikeouts and a pop fly to end the inning.
Jackson Boyle took over on the mound for Moose Jaw in the third and he was able to shut things down, getting the first two outs quickly and holding Vancouver to a pair of hits before replacement catcher Luke Turner made a stellar catch on a pop-up to end the frame.
Moose Jaw looked to get things going when Vancouver starter Ben Dartnell ran up against the pitch count and left the game with two outs. His replacement promptly loaded the bases on a hit and a pair of walks, but a ground ball would allow B.C. to escape the jam.
Vancouver strung together three more hits and used a couple of defensive miscues to put up two more runs in the top of the fourth, but that same defence made a slick play to third for the second out and a diving catch in the outfield to escape without further damage.
After the All Stars went without a baserunner in the bottom of the fourth, Trey Stanhope took over on the mound in the top of the fifth. The first three Vancouver batters reached base, leading to a pair of runs and an 11-1 lead, putting Moose Jaw in a mercy tule position heading into the bottom of the inning.
Moose Jaw would stay alive and then some, putting up four runs in the frame. Pratte got things started with a one-out double and a single by Zaid Guillaume gave the All Stars a pair of baserunners, after which they’d both score on passed balls. A two-out triple by Kaiden Gadd scored Neal Kohl with the All Stars’ fourth run, and Kohl himself would score on a double by Schoenroth one batter later.
Errors again reared their head in the top of the sixth, with a trio of defensive miscues leading to B.C. scoring their 12th run, after which a pair of hits made it a 14-5 Vancouver lead.
B.C. would tack on another run and Moose Jaw would go down quietly in the bottom of the frame for the 15-5 loss
The All Stars are back in action Friday when they take on the Atlantic representatives from Sydney, N.S. at 7 p.m., followed by Alberta’s Calgary West on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Moose Jaw’s off day comes on Sunday, after which they play Ontario’s Ancaster Little League on Monday at 3:30 p.m. the host Rocky Mountain Little League on Tuesday at 12 p.m. before closing out their round robin against Quebec’s Mirabel Diamond Academy on Wednesday.
The top four teams advance to the semifinals on Aug. 11 at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., followed by the medal games on Aug. 12 at 9 a.m. and 12 p.m.
The tournament winner advances to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn. beginning Aug. 17.
You can check out all the scores at www.littleleague.ca and watch all the games on www.CBC.ca.