The Kelowna Jays will host their 13th annual Baseball Blast tournament starting today and running through to Sunday, July 3 at Elks Stadium.
Ten teams from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Washington will be competing for $8,000 in prize money.
The opening game Thursday at 5 p.m. will feature the Okanagan Athletics taking on the Calgary Diamondbacks, while the host Kelowna Jays will face the Parkland White Sox at 8 p.m.
The Highline Bears are back to defend their title after defeating the Jays in last year’s final.
For the first time in several years two Vancouver Island teams are entered–Victoria Mavericks and Nanaimo Muckers—with both having a shot at the title, along with the always tough Coquitlam Angels.
Other quality teams competing are from Swift Current, SK and Trail.
Three round robin games will be played at Boucherie Fields in West Kelowna, with the the remaining 15 at Elks Stadium.
The championship final is set for 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Elks.
No hitter for Jays…
Meanwhile, the Jays took three of four games from the Nanaimo Coalminers last weekend, with the highlight coming in Saturday’s second game in Vernon.
Despite a shaky start for Colton Tuka, he and Brennan Hegel combined for a no hitter in a 5-1 win over Nanaimo.
In the opener, pitching was again the story in a 1-0 Kelowna win. Starter Dylan Emmons allowed only two hits in the pitchers duel, while Nick Ostram had the lone RBI.
On Sunday in Kelowna, the Coalminers won the first game 9-6. For the Jays, Nick Ono was on base five times and scored two runs.
In the finale, with Nanaimo running out of pitching, the Jays won 15-0.
Bo Meiklejohn and Sam Stelnick split the pitching duties. Josh Keithly was 3-for- 3 and scored four runs, while Trevor Losftstrom hit a massive three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning.