Hot bats help Penticton Tigers win in zones

The SOMBA Tigers picked up wins in zone games as they hosted an invitational baseball tournament last weekend

MATT OLSEN OF the SOMBA Tigers safely steals third in the fifth inning against the Kelowna Sun Devils during the SOMBA Tigers Bantam AA Invitational last weekend. The Tigers came out on top with a 5-1 win

MATT OLSEN OF the SOMBA Tigers safely steals third in the fifth inning against the Kelowna Sun Devils during the SOMBA Tigers Bantam AA Invitational last weekend. The Tigers came out on top with a 5-1 win

The SOMBA Tigers gladly took third place in their 15 and under AA invitational baseball tournament July 8-10.

“We’re pretty happy with the way the team played,” said Tigers coach Aqil Samuel, whose squad went 3-1.

Their lone loss came against the South Jasper Blue Jays from Edmonton, coached by Samuel’s brother.

“The sibling rivalry continues. He got me this year,” said Samuel.

The Tigers delivered offensively in their wins defeating West Kelowna 13-3 and twice beating Kelowna 5-1 then 20-19 in the bronze medal game. In that match, the Tigers scored 10 runs in the bottom of the seventh to win.

“I never seen anything like it. The fourth game in a tournament you kind of run out of pitching. They just kind of ran out of gas and our bats just went crazy,” said Samuel. “I’ve coached for a lot of years, never walked off like that. It was crazy, it was fun.”

The tournament also doubled as zone games for Penticton, Vernon, West Kelowna and Kelowna. Samuel said he wanted his players to enjoy the weekend, at the same time pick up the wins needed for the zone standings. The Tigers won two of their zone games.

The tournament faced some delays on the weekend because of rain. Samuel praised volunteers who helped fix fields.

“It was pretty impressive to see all the volunteers who came out and helped and get fields prepped to play,” he said.

Next for the Tigers is a wild card tournament in Coquitlam to determine provincial playoff berths. The winner of the four-team single elimination format advanced to provincials in Burnaby July 22. The Tigers are the second place team in their zone and open against the North Langley Twins Saturday at 9 a.m.