After winning provincials the Bluffton Bulldogs U18 Fastball team travelled to Winnipeg, Man. to represent Alberta at the Western Canadian Championships.
The Bulldogs first game was against the Cross Lake Juniors (Manitoba 1).
Bluffton was in tough against this team, losing 7 -4 when starting pitcher Logan Loomer suffered a shoulder injury in the fourth inning. Cody Domoney was forced to enter the game cold with only five warm up pitches.
Bluffton gave up 11 runs in the next two innings to lose 18-4. Tyler Loomer was the MVP.
Next was Saskatchewan 2 Ochapowace Thunder. In this game Bluffton hit four home runs but played rather lackluster defense behind Domoney’s pitching and went on to lose 9-8. Domoney’s two homeruns and good pitching gave him the MVP over Chad Lifton’s two homeruns.
Thursday night brought the British Columbia 1 team Richmond Mariners. This was the Bulldogs’ third game of the day, at 9 p.m. and the Mariners’ first game of the tournament.
With Logan still hurting, Domoney pitched again. The Bulldogs did not get the start they needed and were down 3-0 after one inning.
Bluffton blanked the B.C. team the next three innings while scoring three runs but a tired Bulldogs team gave up two runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth to lose 8-4. Bluffton really played well considering they had been on the ball diamond just about continually since noon, with three games and opening ceremonies. Mackenzie Stout was the MVP for this game.
The Friday morning game was against the Manitoba Mustangs and this game was started by Chaddy Giroux, a pick up from Gift Lake.
Bluffton had the offensive game they were looking for and won 14-1. Loomer picked up his second MVP award.
Friday afternoon’s game was the River City Redmen. This team is a tournament team that travels to the US to play. Logan Loomer started this game, sore shoulder and all.
Bluffton started well, scoring once in the first. Loomer nursed this one-run lead until the fourth inning when the Redmen tied it up.
Domoney came on to pitch the rest of the game and gave up only one run on a lead-off error in the fifth. This 2-1 loss essentially knocked the Bulldogs out of the playoffs. Chad Schenk won the MVP.
Even with the Bulldogs knowing they were out of the playoffs they played with pride against Saturday morning’s opponent, the Saskatoon Selects.
Domoney got the start and the Selects scored four runs in the first four innings with the Bulldogs replying with only two of their own.
The Bulldogs lived up to their name and scored five in the fifth with Saskatoon fighting back with two, making the score 7-6 Bluffton. The Bulldogs scored one in the sixth with the Selects scoring two to tie the game.
Bluffton would not give up and scored four in the seventh, unfortunately poor defense allowed Saskatoon to score five in the seventh, handing Bluffton the loss. Colten Loomer was the MVP.
Bluffton did not achieve their goal of winning a medal but they lost their games against the eventual gold and silver medal winners by one run.
Bluffton can hold their heads high knowing that their pitchers were 15- and 16-year-olds pitching in a U18 tournament. The future of this team looks bright for 2013.
The Bluffton Bulldogs thank the sponsors that helped get them to Winnipeg.