By Cole Parkinson
In a busier game schedule than a usual fall season, the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball Jets coaching staff is reporting a successful start to their season. While the team usually sees players depart for tournaments in the fall, namely the Tournament 12 in Toronto, this season, all players were available to the Jets, which resulted in a ton of games.
“We’re pretty happy with the fall, to be honest with you. We played more games than we ever have in history. A couple of reasons — the weather was great, we also didn’t have the Tournament 12 and those things that happened in the past, so that usually would take away four games. We played 25 games, which we are super happy about. I think the key in the middle of the pandemic is to get as many repetitions as we could,” explained Les McTavish, head coach of the Jets.
With the cold weather on the horizon, coaches and players were more than happy with how the weather in southern Alberta turned out in the fall of 2021. And while they got plenty of games in, they had hoped to face some college arms later in the fall, but scheduling just didn’t work out. Despite that small gripe, overall the first portion of the season saw plenty of positives.
“We would maybe have liked to face a few more big arms late in the fall — you know college arms and such — it just didn’t work out. We were happy with it and the players handled themselves very well. We saw some improvements. Just about every player on the roster had good weekends at different times, so we’re very optimistic it should be a solid group going forward,” added McTavish.
While the fall saw more games than it usually would, that didn’t mean players got a rest from practice. Instead, the players and coaches were committed to getting better every day — whether through games or plenty of practice.
“We went pretty hard at it. We didn’t take very many days off at all this fall. You’re always anticipating a bad weather week and we never got those bad weather weeks, so we just kept pushing through it. The kids handled themselves well. We were getting tired at the end — you could see velocities being down and legs getting heavy. But all in all, it was successful and I think they enjoyed a couple of days off when it was all over,” he said.
And the biggest positive for the team had to be the fact the weather was baseball appropriate well into late October.
“We got lucky. It was tremendous and there were very few days where there was poor weather. We had the odd wind day, but it wasn’t even crazy on the wind days. When you play and it’s 15 degrees and sunny in the middle of October, you couldn’t ask for better weather. A little bit of crisp in the morning is also kind of nice — it makes you realize the weather is turning, but it also makes you appreciate how nice it is,” confirmed McTavish.
While the team has returned to the Vauxhall Community Hall at the beginning of November for winter training, the team was able to get in a few fun events before that started.
“We did our marathon game on Monday (Oct. 25), it was supposed to be on Saturday (Oct. 23), but the weather wasn’t great. So we decided to do it Monday since there was a day off school and then we do our fun fall world series,” stated McTavish. “So, game one was a timed mile, game two was road hockey, game three is a spike ball tournament and games four and five are whiffle ball. So we’ll finish that stuff up on Friday (Oct. 29) and then it’s full bore. It’s go time for the winter.”