The Bluffton Bulldogs are the Western Canadian Fast Pitch Champions.
The Bulldogs travelled to Medicine Hat Aug. 4 to 7 to face the toughest teams from across the West. They cruised through the early rounds, winning three games in five-inning matches, en route to being undefeated in round robin play. Bluffton’s high-octane offense was hampered a bit by unusually long fences in Medicine Hat, but they still managed to score 91 runs in eight games. A decent defense and strong pitching held the opposition to just 38 runs.
To win the championship the Bulldogs had to beat their arch-rivals the Gift Lake Sluggers three times. The Bulldogs felt they were embarrassed by Gift Lake in provincials earlier in the season and had something to prove. Bluffton came away with a 15-0 win in their first matchup of the weekend, with Mackenzie Stout as the MVP.
Their second look at the Sluggers was in the first round of playoffs. The Saturday afternoon game was a bitter affair with poor sportsmanship on both sides. Bluffton suffered its first loss, 9-3, with Luc Prins winning MVP. This meant Bluffton had to play the winner of the 3-4 game to get back to the gold medal game against the Sluggers.
The Peguis Mets advanced to play Bluffton.
The Mets proved to be much tougher the second time around. The Bulldogs had to come from a 6-2 deficit to win 11-8. Cameron Stout picked up his second MVP award.
The gold medal game against Gift Lake Sluggers was a noisy affair with fans on both sides cheering on their team. The score was scoreless after two innings. In the top of the third inning Clay Byzittter walked and was then replaced by pinch runner Catlin Tennant, who moved to third on a standup double by Tyler Loomer. Both were then driven in by triple from Mike Steeves, who in turn was brought home on a double by Cameron Stout. Stout scored on a triple by Mackenzie Stout. The inning was rounded out by a RBI single by Dan Deal.
When the smoke cleared Bluffton had sent nine players to the plate, scoring five runs. Gift Lake went 3 up 3 down in the third inning. After two quick outs by Tennant and Chad Lifton, Tyler singled, Steeves doubled, Cam Stout singled them home. That gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead. Gift Lake replied with one run in the bottom of the fifth. The Bulldogs rounded out the scoring with a run in the top of the sixth, giving them an 8-1 win and the gold medal. Winning his second game MVP was Mike Steeves. Justin Peterson was selected as most sportsmanlike player
Round robin action
The Pequis Mets from Manitoba provided the first opposition. Bluffton stared strong by scoring three runs in the first inning and four more in the third and coasted to a five-inning, 14-3 win. Pitcher Justin Peterson was the game MVP.
The Bulldogs’ next opponent was the Leoville Loggers and the game was a close contest until the fourth inning. Bluffton pounded out eight runs in the fourth inning, going on to a five-inning 13-3 win. Catcher Tyler Loomer was selected as the MVP.
Friday morning brought the Calgary Rockies to the plate, a team that finished ahead of the Bulldogs in provincials. Bluffton pounded the Rockies 14-3 in yet another five- inning win. Shortstop Cameron Stout was selected MVP.
Bluffton’s Saturday morning game was against the Saskatoon Selects. The Bulldogs had an unexpected tough game against the Selects, finally winning 12-11 in the bottom of the seventh inning. Mike Steeves was the MVP for the game.
In pursuit of the championship, the Bulldogs received a total effort from all players. Role players Ryan Morgan, Wyatt Tennant and Catlin Tennant all played outstanding defense and chipped in six singles, one triple and two bases on balls on the offensive side. The pitching duties were given to Justin Peterson (29 innings) Mike Steeves (142/3 innings) Clay Byzitter (31/3 innings). Catching was handled by Mike, Tyler Loomer and Luc Prins. Playing first base were Ryan Morgan, Wyatt Tennant and Mackenzie Stout; second base, Gerald Schenk and Mackenzie Stout; third base duties were given to Luc Prins and Catlin Tennant. Cameron Stout and Mike Steeves played shortstop. The outfielders were Dan Deal, Clay Byzitter, Chad Lifton, Tyler Loomer and Mackenzie Stout. Coaching was handled by Blair Stout, Kevin Steeves, Bruce Peterson, and Laverne Steeves, who had to leave after Thursday’s games.
Hopefully these young men continue to play at midgets or juniors next year. If they do, come out and support them. After all, where else can you watch the Western Canadian champions?