The Moose Jaw Canucks will have home field advantage as they look to claim their second straight Saskatchewan Premier Baseball League Midget AA Championship.
The Canucks will welcome six teams from around the province into the Friendly City this weekend for the league playoff tournament, which kicks off on Friday.
“It’s an honour to host the tournament, there will be some darn good talent coming here, the games will be exciting, they’ll be played with intensity and we’re looking forward to hosting it,” said Canucks Head Coach John Eberl.
The competition will be tough throughout the tournament with three teams in the league posting single digit losses this season.
“When you look at the top 4-5 teams in the league, anyone of us on any given day can give the other a run for their money,” said Eberl. “Every game is going to be tight and the teams will have to play their best to advance.”
Moose Jaw finished first in the SPBL’s regular season standings with a 17-4-2 record, which included a win and tie in Weyburn to finish the regular season on Tuesday night.
Eberl said the team has found their game again after stumbling at the start of the month and that should serve them well heading into this weekend.
“The bats were alive again, the pitching was good and the defence was where we wanted it to be, it stepped up a little bit,” said Eberl. “We had a couple of ups and downs throughout the year, like any other team, but we’re heading into the playoffs with a real good feel.”
Heading into the tournament, the Canucks know that when they play clean defence, there isn’t a team in the league that can compete with them, but Eberl said doing that wil be the key.
“With that defence it comes with as well that our arms on the hill are good, but we have to throw strikes and not get into walk trouble as well, so those are the two keys, defence and pitching around the plate,” he said. “The pitchers have to trust in that defence to be able to pick the ball up and get it across the infield or catch those fly balls.”
The Canucks have a busy night ahead on Friday as they will face the Regina White Sox in their opening game at 6:30 p.m. and then battle the Weyburn Beavers at 9 p.m. Both games are at Ross Wells Park.
The tournament starts with the Lumsden Cubs hosting the Regina Blue Jays at 3 p.m. at Ross Wells and then the Regina Buffaloes face the Regina Pacers at 6 p.m. at Blackwell Diamond.
The round robin continues on Saturday with games at 9 a.m. and noon. The playoff round starts at 3 p.m. Saturday, the semifinals are at 9 a.m. Sunday and the final goes at 1 p.m.