BONNYVILLE — After several nail biting games during the Alberta baseball provincial tournament, both the U13AA and U15AA teams snatched gold medals, with the U19AA coming up short in their semi-final match over the Aug. 27-29 weekend.
Competing in the three-day tournament held in Sherwood Park, the U15AA team won four out of their five games to claim the tournament victory in the Tier 2 division.
Describing the lead up the final game, Dawn McMillan, the U15AA’s team manager told Lakeland This Week, “Our Sunday morning semifinal game was against Innisfail, which actually went into extra innings. Bonnyville scored one in the top of the eighth as the away team and they managed to not let Innisfail score any in the bottom and won the semifinals.”
“That one was a really intense game, actually,” McMillan said.
The U15AA’s ended up winning 7-6 in the semifinal match and went on to play Red Deer for the gold medal game.
After a close final game, the victory was even sweeter for the players.
“It was a really tight game until about the fourth inning. Bonnyville started to pull ahead, but we have played Red Deer before and I would say they are the biggest team in the league to be able to battle back against. I don't think anybody was confident until the final out,” she said. The Bonnyville team ended up winning 14-6 to receive the gold medal.
Heading into the last day of the tournament with a player out with an injury, parents on the sidelines were as nervous as the players, McMillan recalls.
“All of us parents, it was really intense. We knew the boys going into it could win it. We didn't know if they would. Baseball’s anybody's game at any time. And it can change so quickly. So, it really took the whole team for them to get there and win it,” she says. “They really were united as a team and it showed when they played, when they had to battle and come back to win.”
The U15AA team was made up of players come from Pierceland Sask., Cold Lake, Bonnyville, Elk Point and St. Lina.
Also, returning home from provincials with gold hardware was the U13AA team competing in Tier 4.
After losing their first game of the tournament to High Prairie, the U13AA team arrived at the final match holding the highest point count in a three-way tie. The U13AA team had a shot at redemption when they showed up to face off against the team from High Prairie once again.
This time, however, the Bonnyville Braves came out on top, winning 23-12 and earning the gold medals.
Making up the U13AA team were youth from Bonnyville, Elk Point and Plamondon.
The 2021 provincial tournament was a huge success for the Bonnyville Braves as it was the first time in more than six years that a Bonnyville baseball team has brought home gold.