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Jets see end of home tournament rained out

Posted on May 23, 2024 by Vauxhall Advance
Advance Photo By Trevor Busch. FIELD WORK: The Vauxhall Academy of Baseball Jets held their 18th Annual Haven Agencies Invitational Tournament over the May long weekend at Jets Stadium. Competing teams included the AHP Renegades, Lethbridge Elks, Webber Wildcats and the Red Deer Braves. (Pictured) VAB Jets and grounds staff prepare the infield for another game on Saturday afternoon.

By Cole Parkinson
Vauxhall Advance

The Vauxhall Academy of Baseball Jets were back at home this weekend as they played host to the Haven Agencies Tournament at Jets Stadium. Teams coming into Vauxhall were the Lethbridge Elks, the Red Deer Braves, AHP Baseball Academy, and Webber Academy.

VAB opened the tournament on May 16 against the Lethbridge Elks and the Jets were all business with a 13-1 win. Patrick MacInnis was masterful on the mound as the starter went five innings allowing only one hit and punching out 10 batters. Kaden Coldwell came in from the pen and gave the Jets the final inning allowing one run and striking out two. Offensively, the Jets saw a big day from Jaxon George who went 2-4 with a double, a grand slam, and eight RBI. Callum Thomson was 3-3 with two doubles and an RBI, Eric Reiling was 2-3 with a double, Wheatley was 2-3, while Karsen Haney, Stevyn Andrachick, and Easton Kitura all contributed with a hit.

But rain would play a factor on Saturday as the incremental weather saw each team only able to play three total games. The Jets would lose to Webber and beat AHP. Despite the weather, overall the tournament was successful and the players and coaches were grateful for all of the support from the community.

“Overall, it was a good weekend. It was a lot of work to get the field ready,” stated Les McTavish, head coach of the Jets. “I think we came out of the gates, played really well on Thursday night — after having to spend a lot of time cleaning the field up — against the Elks, and (Friday) night we came out against Red Deer and we played really well again.”

“And then on Saturday night, we came out a little flat on the mound and just weren’t super crisp on Saturday night against Webber. We ended up losing 6-4, and we stranded the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, so it was a good ballgame, and Webber’s got a good team. But overall, it was, you know, all things being considered, especially with the weather, it was a successful weekend. I appreciate all the volunteers and support of Haven Agencies, Vauxhall Meats, and places like that that supported the tournament. So overall, it was a successful event.”

Next up for the Jets, weather-dependent, is the annual game against the Bulls in the TCMM Game on May 22. Being one of the bigger games of the year, the Bulls and Jets are excited to once again get out and remember alumni Tanner Craswell and Mitch MacLean. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Spitz Stadium.

“(We’re) right back at it tomorrow. Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t look very good for tomorrow, but, you know, it’s always a special event, and this will be the first time that it’s kind of happened in the middle of the two tournaments. The Bulls start a little earlier this year, but, it’s always a good event. It’s always a special event to remember Tanner and Mitch, and it’s always neat for our players to play the Bulls. So, you know, we’re looking forward to it and hopefully, the weather holds and we’re able to play it. If not, we’ll figure out another plan on how we can remember Tanner and Mitch,” continued McTavish. “Who knows, we might move to the fall or something like that against the PBA.”

After that, the Jets depart for Missoula for their last games of the spring. With the team heading out later this week, everyone is crossing their fingers that there’s some good weather so they can finish off the season playing games.

“We’re off to Missoula on Friday, which is always a good tournament, but the weather doesn’t look great down there either. So it’s just one of those years, right? There’s not much you can do about it. We’re in a good spot, we’re healthy, knock on wood and that’s a big part of things. And, you know, hopefully, we’re able to get four or five games this weekend so that we can finish it off the right way,” added McTavish.

This weekend also brings the last games for a handful of players who are graduating. Come next fall, all graduating seniors will be heading to post-secondary schools to continue playing baseball.

“I know that every one of our seniors has committed to go and play college baseball, which is great, you know, so each one of them, I’m sure they’re starting to get a little anxious as far as, you know, the next step and the next step in their path. But yeah, every one of our seniors is committed to going on to the next level, so I think that’s exciting,” stated McTavish. “That’s a big part of our program is trying to get guys to the next level in every one of them’s going on. So I think, you know, that’s a feather in the program’s cap and I think we did things the right way.”

The Jets hosted their annual Celebration of Achievement earlier this month during their Graduation Week celebrations. As a way to recognize some of the achievements of their players, plenty of hardware was handed out.

“The celebration of achievement’s always a great event and we appreciate the Kitagawas who sponsor the event every year. It was really good, you know, there’s a lot of awards. I don’t want to specifically pick one award but every one of the boys deserved an award. It’s always a good night because we switched it to grad weekend, so there are a lot of parents and grandparents that are part of the event as well.  I’m proud of each of the guys — they earned the award or scholarship or money that they did receive and it’s exciting,” explained McTavish.

The following are this year’s award winners:

Jet of the Year – INF – Luke Wheatley

MacLeod Family Scholarships – RHP – Rory MacDonald / RHP – Hudson Kozicki

Jan Tolton Memorial Scholarship – LHP -Sheamus Ryan

Kalvin Odland Memorial Scholarship – OF – Karsen Haney

Sports Connection – RHP – Patrick MacInnis

Scott Hornstra Memorial Scholarship – INF – Stevyn Andrachick / INF/RHP – Aaron Fuzesy

Inch by Inch Scholarship – RHP – Jimmy Boulanger

Wanda Stober Memorial Scholarship – OF – Eric Reiling

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