A season to remember for the Moose Jaw Canucks had it’s crowning moment over the weekend as they won their second straight Midget AA Division title in the Saskatchewan Premier Baseball League on their home field.
The Canucks topped the Regina White Sox, 11-7, in the championship game on Sunday afternoon at Ross Wells Park.
“I hope the boys are pretty proud, we ended up being 21-4-2 over the year and three of the losses were one-run losses, so they’ve had a heck of a year,” said Head Coach John Eberl.
Moose Jaw was perfect over the weekend in the league championship tournament, winning both their round robin games on Friday and then coming back to knock off the Weyburn Beavers, 7-6, in the semifinal on Sunday morning.
After that comeback win, the Canucks had plenty of confidence heading into the final and it showed as they jumped out to an 8-2 lead after three innings and rolled the rest of the way.
“That was very important (to get out to the big lead) because that really helps me on the mound, gets me more comfortable up there and I can give up a few hits when I need to, so those runs in the first few innings really helped us a lot,” said Dawson Kurz, who put together a strong performance on the mound to lead the Canucks in the final.
Kurz scattered six runs – five earned – on 12 hits over 6 1/3 innings. He helped himself with six strikeouts in the win.
“I just kept throwing my fastball by them, I couldn’t really get my offspeed stuff going, so I just relied on my fastball and relied on my defence because I knew they could do the job if I let them hit it,” said Kurz.
Eberl said he counts on Kurz to come through in big games and he stepped up.
“In the key games in our tournament wins and when we’ve need a key win all year, he’s stepped up,” said Eberl. “He falters like the rest of them, but he also seems to find an extra gear and finish things off. That just speaks to his character and the quality athlete he is.”
Kurz also helped himself at the plate by going 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI in the final.
Ryan Zerff had a big game at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a double, five RBI, a run scored and a walk. Raine Eberl also had a double and finished 2-for-4 in the win.
“The kids really stepped up,” said John Eberl.
The Canucks opened the weekend by beating the White Sox, 8-4, on Friday night and then followed that up with a 12-10 win over the Beavers later in that night to finish the round robin undefeated.
Those two wins put the Canucks through the semifinals and gave them Saturday off.
They stormed out to a 4-0 lead in the semifinal against Weyburn, but stumbled in the fifth inning, allowing six runs to put the Beavers in front by two.
Moose Jaw didn’t sink though, they responded with two runs in the bottom of the fifth and one more in the sixth to come away with the win.
“Wins come in all different sizes and shapes and that was an ugly one,” said Eberl.
With the league title under their belt, the Canucks will now turn their attention to the provincial championship as they get set to head to Swift Current this coming weekend for the Baseball Saskatchewan Midget AA Tier 1 Championship.
There will be three teams dropping down from the Midget AAA Division for provincials, so Eberl said they will have their hands full, but are up for the challenge.
“Provincials will be a test, we’ll have to have everything working to get through,” said Eberl.
Provincials open on Friday in Swift Current.