America’s past time has slipped through its fingers and into the hands of a team of Canadians.
Team B.C., a pee wee select team, featuring Ridge Meadows products Michael Stovman and Brayden Slaughter, were part of a historic tournament win at the Continental Amateur Baseball Association World Series tournament in Sylviana, Ohio.
The pair were part of the first-ever Canadian squad to win the tournament, dating back 29 years. The team went undefeated at the event, sporting an 8-0 record.
Team B.C. head coach Randy Downes said his select team was able to gel quickly for the tournament. He said used his experience from his trip to the same tournament in 2011 to pick his team.
“We were certainly the biggest team there,” said Downes, who also coaches in Port Coquitlam. “We had a lot of depth at pretty much every position. We had kids who could play step up and defence in tight games as well as some strong pitching.”
The team used a total of nine different players on the mound during the tournament.
Downes said both Stovman and Slaughter played key roles in Ohio.
“Michael is such a versatile player. You can put him anywhere on the field and he’s a great left-handed bat,” said Downes.
The coach said Slaughter was one of three catcher Team B.C. selected for the trip down south and ended up playing the lion’s share of games after an injury to another backstop. While Downes said Slaughter’s league team in Ridge Meadows Struggled through the season, he said the catcher excelled on Team B.C.
“He had a lot key hits in some big moments for us,” said the head coach, most notably his two-out single in the bottom of the second inning to open the scoring in the tournament final.
Team B.C. won the CABA World Series with an 11-3 drubbing of the Wisconsin River Cats. Despite the score, coach Downes said the game was much closer than the score indicated. Team B.C. trailed 3-1 through three innings before breaking the game wide open with eight runs in the 5th.
The head coach also pointed out the competitive nature of the American teams made winning the tournament all that much sweeter.
He said two close wins against the Springfield Bulldogs, the pre-tournament favourite, only intensified the competition.
“There’s no question about it, they didn’t like getting beat.”
Brent Stovman, who accompanied his son Michael on the trip and help volunteer, said he thinks the historic win may have been lost on the group of B.C. kids.
“I don’t think the boys truly understand what they accomplished as the CABA tournaments are considered a showcase of future MLB talent,” said Brent. “Ridge Meadows should be proud of these two young men as they not only did they make their hometown proud, but also British Columbia as well.”