By Greg Price
Vauxhall Jets won its tournament in Kelowna this past week thanks to a string of strong pitching.
That pitching was never more evident than in the final against Edmonton Prospects Academy I, in a 1-0 victory. Ben Erwin earned the win on the bump, going five innings, allowing two hits, two walks and two strikeouts. Jaden Griffin threw a solid sixth inning, fanning two and walking one. Zach Newman earned the save in the seventh inning, allowing one hit and striking out one.
Damiano Palmegiani did the heavy lifting for the Jets offensively, going 2-for-3 in a game where hits were hard to come by. One of those two hits was a solo home run to left centre for the game’s only run. Liam Vulcano and Brett Mercier both ripped doubles.
“It was definitely a pitcher’s duel, all three of our guys pitched well and their guy pitched well,” said Les McTavish, head coach of the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball Jets. “It ended up being one swing of the bat was the difference.”
The Jets round-robin play included a 6-1 win over Parksville.
Garrett Hawkins started on the mound, going four innings, allowing two hits, one unearned run, two walks and four strikeouts. Chase Florendine threw two innings, allowing two hits with two strikeouts. Newman finished things off, throwing a clean seventh inning.
Offensively, the Jets were led by Matt Rath who was 1-for-3 with two stolen bases. Victor Cerny was 1-for-3 with an RBI. Owen Harms was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Mercier was 1-for-3 with a three-run shot to left field and Ty Penner rounded out the offence, going 1-for-3 with a double.
The Jets would finish off round-robin play before the final with a 2-1 record with a 7-1 win over Prospects Academy II and a 4-2 loss to Okanagan College.
The win saw starting pitcher Garrett Nicholson fan in hitters over four innings to earn the win. Offensively, the Jets were led by Harms who was 2-for-2 with an RBI. Palmegiani was 1-for 1 with a double, three walks and two RBI. Cooper Jones rounded out the offence going 2-for-3.
“Overall, we played sound defence and we pitched the ball pretty well,” said McTavish. “We hit the ball well in spots with timely hitting. It was a weekend of making teams earn it on the mound. When you start doing those things, you are going to be in every game, and when you mix in timely hitting, good things are going to happen. We are a young group offensively, so it’s good to see then get better and no one seemed overwhelmed.”
The Jets travel to Lethbridge to play PBA this weekend.
Five current Vauxhall Academy of Baseball Jets will be making the trip to Lake Buena Vista, Florida, from Oct. 1-13 for the U-18 Instructional League Camp for the Canadian Junior National Team.
The team will play several professional clubs from the Houston Astros, Washington Nationals, Toronto Blue Jays, Detroit Tigers and Atlanta Braves organizations. They will also face off against former Jet Ben Onyshko (2012-2013) at Stetson University.
“It is certainly an honour to have five guys selected out of the 30 guys on the roster, come from the program in southern Alberta. It’s exciting and it’s a testament to the work ethic of these players,” said McTavish. “We are in a good position and hopefully they can all perform well, throwing some strikes on the mound and having some strong at-bats offensively. It’s a tough team to crack. Three of them have already been there before, so that helps. Hopefully, they are able to help the younger guys coming in.”
The five players are as follows:
LHP – Wesley Moore (Surrey, BC)
LHP – Garrett Nicholson (Sydney Mines, NS)
LHP – Jaden Griffin (Lower Sackville, NS)
C – Victor Cerny (Winnipeg, MB)
3B – Damiano Palmegiani (Surrey, BC)