This time, second best just wasn’t going to be good enough for the West Kelowna D’Backs.
After finishing as the runners-up in each of the last two tournaments, the D’Backs captured the midget division title at the 2015 edition of the Valley of Champions.
On Sunday afternoon at Boucherie Field, West Kelowna edged St. Albert 6-5 in the championship game.
“To get into the final the last two years and not win was disappointing, so it was nice to win it this time,” said D’Backs coach Tom Katelinkoff. “We didn’t play that well in the round robin, but did what we needed to do in the final.”
The VOC served as a good tune up for the D’Backs who leave today for the B.C. midget (U18) AAA baseball championship in Nanaimo.
West Kelowna is in a pool with Kamloops, Chilliwack, Vancouver and Aldergrove with play starting Thursday.
Silver for local bantams, peewees…
Two local teams reached the finals of their respective divisions before taking silver medals at VOC.
At Lombardy Park, the VOC Chargers—consisting of players from West Kelowna and Rutland—took second spot after dropping the final game 7-1 to the Okotoks Outlaws.
The Chargers reached the final after a solid weekend of baseball which saw them post a 3-1 record in the round robin, including wins over St. Albert, Surrey and Kelowna.
For a team that had only four practises together, the Chargers were pleased with the result.
“We had six boys from West Kelowna and six from Rutland and a lot of them had never played together before,” said Chargers coach Jeff Bligh. “They really gelled as a team in a short time, so what they accomplished on the weekend was great.”
In the peewee A division, Rutland captured the silver medal.
Rutland, which posted a 4-1 record in the round robin, reached the final before losing 12-5 to Ladner.
Rutland earned wins over Surrey, Kelowna, Victoria and PoCo.
A total of 68 teams competed in eight divisions over the course of the 14th annual event, playing on 15 different diamonds at Edith Gay, Lombardy, Boucherie, Mission sports fields and in Vernon.
Tournament director Todd Russell said as usual their were some minor hitches, but in general the tournament ran smoothly over the three days.
Russell said interest in the tournament from other parts B.C. and Alberta remains high from year to year and expects the 2016 event will already be three quarters full by spring.