They’re being billed as the little team that could.
The Penticton South Okanagan Minor Baseball (SOMBA) Tigers tadpole U9 division squad once again brought home the hardware with a bronze medal performance at the recent Abbotsford Angels Mid-summer Classic tournament.
The medal comes on the heels of a similar finish at the Sun Devil tourney earlier this month in Kelowna.
Just like that event, the Tigers were up against some very high calibre teams in Abbotsford from much larger urban centres.
According to coach Cole Marven, his young players really turned some heads with their play.
“We have a really strong core and even a few coaches came up and were really impressed with us, especially from a pretty, little town compared to Surrey or White Rock,” said Marven.
“We joked all weekend that we were The Sandlot team because all the coast teams have matching tents, ball hats and we just have jerseys, that’s it, but we kicked butt.
“The 10 kids we have are the 10 kids who came out for the practices, these other teams have 30-plus kids coming out for 12 spots.”
In this particular tournament the players, unlike the regular tadpole rules, are allowed to steal bases, bunt and have pitchers instead of a machine for all five innings.
“The kids loved it, they loved stealing. It really keeps everybody in the game and keeps it moving a lot more,” said Marven. It’s more like the baseball they are going to move up to next year,” said Marven.
The opening game of the Abby tournament saw the Tigers edge the Abbotsford Red team 7-6.
They dropped the second 6-5 to White Rock and on the final day lost a 7-6 extra-inning heart-breaker to Cloverdale, which rated the top U9 team in the province.
“They (Cloverdale) said that was the toughest game they played all year,” said Marven.
In the bronze medal game, it was the Tigers doubling the Abbotsford Black squad 6-3.
Most valuable player award winners for the Tigers in the four games were Nash Marven, Markus Messing, London Funk and Jace Rutten.
“It was a fantastic year. I think the kids really got an eye opener and it really put the baseball bug in them,” said the Tigers’ coach.
“It’s just really good to see South Okanagan Minor Baseball coming back strong and I credit the parents, missing work, paying for hotels and practice three times a week.”
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