Don’t call it an upset. The AAA midget Mounties of Vancouver Community Baseball batted their way to a B.C. championship Aug. 5 in Chilliwack. They defeated the No. 4 ranked Richmond Chuckers 4-3 after an underachieving, unlucky regular season with eight more losses than wins.
They were better than their 14-22 record.
“Am I surprised we won? No. But I didn’t expect it. I don’t think anyone did,” said assistant coach Mike Smythe. “We’re not shocked we won but going in, we weren’t the favourites.”
Every break that didn’t come the Mounties’ way during the regular season -- injuries, near-misses and two five-game losing streaks including a winless road trip to the Island – seemed to go the other way and finally boost Vancouver in the championships. Bill Robinson is the Mounties head coach and midget players are in Grades 10, 11 and 12.
Although they were in the 2011 midget AAA final where they lost to the Kamloops River Dogs, the Mounties were ranked seventh out of eight teams at the 2012 tournament. They finished second in the group stage and then No. 7 advance to the semi-finals where they met the No. 8 Cloverdale Spurs. The Mounties won 3-1.
In the other semi, Richmond eventually defeated the Tri-City Indians in a four-hour contest during the heat of the day that went to extra innings. Richmond won 15-5 and the effort took a toll.
“You can imagine how tired they were,” said Smythe. “Richmond is a very good team, very good ball players. So is Tri-Cities. If we played them in a seven-game series, they’d both probably beat us. But in a one-game playoff, we had enough talent to win and we did.”
In the final, Richmond got off to a quick 3-1 lead but couldn’t hold back the Mounties who scored three more runs for the win, were solid on the mound and had Mack Kada-Wong come through with crucial plays at shortstop.
“We never got down about losing in the season,” said Smythe, crediting an upbeat attitude for the successful season. “We never really go too upset. The kids were positive, the parents were positive.”
The Mounties travelled to Sherwood Park near Edmonton Aug. 24 to 38 for the Western Canada Championship. Four Tri-City Indians joined their team for the required 15-player roster and Vancouver finished fourth.
Hunter Robinson was selected Team B.C. and came second at the Midget AAA Canadian Nationals in Quebec City.
Bantam Mounties Best in B.C.
The AAA Bantam Vancouver Mounties were the best in B.C. and represented the province at the Canadian national championship Aug. 23 to 26 in Vaughn, Ont. They lost 11-3 to the host Team Ontario in the championship match.