Even with a 13-5-1 summer season record and a tournament win at the Valley of Champions under their belt, the Rutland Rockies are finding respect a little hard to come by.
The Rockies are seeded a surprising ninth out of 10 teams heading into the B.C. bantam AA baseball championship beginning Thursday in Kelowna.
“If they’re trying to open a whole new can to get our guys going, they’ve sure done that,” said Rockies head coach Rob Law. “We’ve had a pretty good season, three of our five losses have been against triple-A teams, so to be seeded where we are is a bit of a surprise. But that’s OK with us, the boys are motivated by it and ready to play.”
The host Rockies open up provincials on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. at Edith Gay Park against No. 1 seeded Cloverdale, the only club at the 10-team event Rutland hasn’t played this season.
Against the eight remaining teams, the Rockies have been competitive this season, winning their share of head-to-head match ups.
Surrey, Abbotsford, Prince George, Ladner, Van Community, Victoria, Burnaby and Richmond round out the roster of teams at the four-day season-ending tourney.
“In this tournament, it’s going to be an any given Sunday sort of thing, where any team could win it,” Law said. “These ball clubs are all competitive, so I expect a lot of tight games, no blow outs.”
The Rockies are hoping to duplicate the kind of baseball they played last month in winning the title at the Valley of Champions tournament in Kelowna.
The self-named Lunch Box Boys, Law said the Rockies’ style is to do “whatever it takes to win,” and the same approach will be the key to their success this weekend.
If all the cards fall into place, then Law believes a gold medal is a distinct possibility for his club.
“We’re deep in pitching, so we’ve just gotta make sure we throw strikes,” Law said. “We have to hit the ball solid, not wait for the other team to make errors, just go out and get it. And if our defense holds and plays solid like they have been, then I think we’ll be in the mix.”
Following Thursday’s opener, Rutland will play Ladner and noon on Friday and Surrey at 6 p.m.
On Saturday, Rutland will play Prince George at 11:30.
The top two teams from each pool of five head to the playoffs on Sunday morning.
The championship is slated for 2 p.m.
2. Liam Hughes
5. Kayden Thomas
7. Jacob Holland
8. Brandon Ludwig
9. Keegan Perron
15. Noah Ringness-Law
16. Jacob Groinus
24. Chase Gaudette
34. Cole Van Every
35. Kyle Ciurka
39. Cam Rasmussen
44. Keyshon Jackson
50. Gavin Barrett
52. Matthew Greer
Coaches: Rob Law, Dennis Holland and Mark Gaudette.