The Abbotsford Angels peewee AAA baseball team came achingly close to gold at the national championship in London, Ont. last week, dropping an 11-10 decision to a team from Brampton, Ont. in an epic tournament finale.
The lead seemed to change hands with every half-inning, and the Angels surged ahead 10-8 in the top of the sixth when Luke Szmutko ripped a three-run homer.
But Brampton tied the game with two runs in the bottom of the sixth, and after Abbotsford came up empty on offence in the top of the seventh, and Ontario squad got a runner to third base with nobody out, and drove him in with a single up the middle for a walk-off win.
“It was amazing,” Angels coach Dan Dick said, reflecting on the game. “It was a lot of really tough baseball, and the kids played awesome.
“They (Brampton) have 18 peewee teams playing in their league, and we have seven. To stand up to those guys and go toe-to-toe with them was a real feat.”
The Angels opened the tourney with a 6-4 loss to Brampton, but finished up the round-robin with wins over Quebec (1-0) and Nova Scotia (11-3) to clinch a semifinal berth, where they beat host London 7-0.
That set up a rematch with Brampton, and the Angels pushed them to the limit before settling for silver.
Szmutko picked up player of the game honours in the final, and other players of the game included Carlin Dick, Dayton Peters, Jesse Makaj (a call-up from Vancouver) and Ryan Blight (Coquitlam).
“The boys represented Abbotsford and B.C. extremely well,” Dick said. “They played with tremendous passion and pride, and they worked extremely hard.”