Braves in ‘fine form’ with provincials quickly approaching

It was another good weekend for Red Deer’s bantam AAA Servus Credit Union Braves, who are in fine form with provincials right around the corner.

The Braves played all four of their league games on the road, winning three of four, including two that were shortened because of the mercy rule.

“We were very pleased with our effort this weekend,” said Braves head coach Cam Moon.

“We played well in all four games. We found a way to win three of four and had a great chance to win the only game we lost.”

Red Deer opened its four-game weekend Saturday in Spruce Grove with a 15-3 win over the host Sox, in a game that lasted just five innings because of the mercy rule.

Starting pitcher Levi Moon gave up six hits and three runs while fanning six Spruce Grove batters to get the win and he also helped his cause at the plate, picking up a home run as one of his three hits in the contest.

Niklas Fischer, Brendan Baker, Joel Mazurkewich, and Riley Guntrip also had three hits, with Guntrip driving in four runs with his trio of hits.

In the second game on Saturday, Fischer, normally a catcher, got the start on the mound, giving up just four hits and striking out seven over five innings as the Braves lost 4-3 to Sherwood Park Gold.

Red Deer managed just six hits in the game, a far cry from the 20 they knocked out in the day’s previous game against Spruce Grove.

Guntrip accounted for half of those hits, as he had three singles in a three for four performance at the dish.

Sunday saw the Braves get some revenge for Saturday`s loss, with Guntrip getting the start on the mound, throwing four innings of four hit ball as Red Deer beat Sherwood Park Gold 5-2.

Guntrip gave up just one run while striking out nine before giving way to Brett Barrett, who threw the final three innings, giving up two hits and one run to pick up the save.

Ryan Klinck paced the offense, with a single, a double and a triple, while Mazurkewich chipped in with a two RBI single.

Guntrip also contributed to the offense, going two for three at the plate, including a single, a double, and one RBI.

In the weekend finale, the mercy rule was brought in again as the Braves dumped Sherwood Park Green 18-0 in a five inning contest.

Starting pitcher Mitch Vanson threw a complete game no hitter, striking out nine Sherwood Park batters in the process.

Barrett, meantime, led the charge offensively, going three for three at the plate, including two doubles, four RBI`s and he also crossed home plate twice.

Mazurkewich was also three for three, with two singles, a home run and four runs scored. Fischer had a double, a triple and two RBI`s, while Baker and Klinck contributed two hits each.

“It was important for us to have a good weekend with provincials coming up,“ said Moon, who thought his team played well in all areas. “Our pitchers threw a lot of strikes and were continually ahead in the count, our defense was solid and we swung the bat well. As coaches, we can`t ask for much more than that. We now look forward to provincials.“

This year`s bantam AAA provincial tournament will be held in St. Albert, with Red Deer scheduled to play its first game on Friday.

After provincials, Vanson, Mazurekwich, and Guntrip will head to Spruce Grove where they`ll join the rest of Team Alberta ahead of the Western Canada Summer Games, which run Aug. 5-9 in Kamloops.