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VAB Jets plate plenty of runs over the weekend

Posted on April 25, 2024 by Vauxhall Advance
Advance Photo By Trevor Busch. CLOSE PLAY: Outfielder Karsen Haney with the VAB Jets slides into second base on Sunday afternoon during doubleheader play versus Quebec’s Diamond Academy.

By Cole Parkinson
Vauxhall Advance

It was a weekend that saw the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball Jets score plenty of runs as they returned home to Jets Stadium for a doubleheader. Hosting Diamond Academy from Quebec, the Jets finally returned home for their first games of the spring. Despite some windy conditions, the Jets were happy to be outside and back home.

The first game of the day saw the Jets put 20 on the board as they cruised to a 20-4 victory. Jimmy Boulanger went one inning and Jacob Burgess went two scoreless innings on the mound. Callum Thomson was 2-3 at the dish with a home run and five RBI, Ben Simmons was also 2-3 with a double, a home run, and three RBI, and Jacob Austin and Langdyn Cummins were each 2-3 with two RBI, and Aaron Fuzesy, Easton Kitura, Luke Wheatley, and Eric Reiling all chipped in with one hit.

The second game saw the Jets come out with another strong offensive performance as they took it 16-5. On the mound, the Jets saw strong efforts from four pitchers. Patrick MacInnis, Jack Baxter, and Hudson Kozicki all threw one scoreless inning while Kaden Coldwell went two scoreless. Kitura was 2-3 in the game with a home run, a double, and five RBI, Cummins was 2-3, Andrachick, Fuzesy, Austin, and Wheatley all had a double, and Karsen Haney 1/3 2 RBI.

“It was just nice to be at home,” stated Les McTavish, head coach of the Jets. “Outside of the weather, it was nice to be a Jets Stadium and to play a couple of games. Overall it was a good day. It was the first day outside for the team out of Montreal, so, you know, they didn’t play great defence, but overall I thought we pitched the ball well. We got everybody in on the pitching side to kind of get them ready for the next couple of weeks of tournaments — we’ve got a lot of tough games coming up here. So, overall I thought it was a good considering you’re battling in 80 kilometre-an-hour winds and I was proud of how the kids responded to that.”

With it being the first games at Jets Stadium this spring, lots of work was needed to get the field in good playing condition. After some wintery conditions in March and April, the team was full steam ahead over the last few days to get everything up to snuff.

 

“They’ve (the players) worked really hard this spring on trying to make sure the field’s in decent shape and we did replace some sod this past fall, so that’s why it took a little bit extra time,” continued McTavish. “The field played pretty good. The players spent a lot of time, whether it’s cleaning the bathrooms, sweeping the stands, picking up leaves, or picking up garbage, plus the actual playing surface. I was happy with both the effort to get the field ready, which is led by the players, and secondly how the field played.”

After a busy schedule down south, the Jets are now in for a few weekends in a row with tournaments. First up this weekend is the Prairie Baseball Academy’s Prairie Showcase Classic tournament held in Lethbridge which is then followed by the Best of the West in Kamloops. With so many games, the coaching staff is setting the rotation for the next few weekends.

“We have played a fair amount of games and what we do is we kind of start at the Best of the West, which is next weekend in Kamloops and it’s probably the biggest tournament in Canada. We kind of build our rotation backward from there, assuming everybody stays healthy and so on,” explained McTavish. “You build your rotation back of who you think’s gonna pitch on certain days in Kamloops and then you work your way back. The players are trying to stay healthy and that is important certainly, but it also has to do with their recovery. What they’re doing in the weight room, what they’re doing with their shoulder work, and their elbow work. That is one piece of it is when it’s game day, but a bigger piece of it is when it’s not game day, how are you going about your business to make sure that you’re ready on game day? So You know, they did a good job with it knock on wood and we’re relatively healthy and hopefully continue to stay that way.”

While the PBA tournament is held in Lethbridge, due to the need for more diamonds, the Jets will play their first handful of games in Vauxhall. Starting at home will hopefully be an advantage for the Jets and they’re hoping to see their best baseball of the spring so far this weekend.

“It’s certainly a tournament so you go into every tournament trying to hopefully win it, but you know the old cliche you want to take it one day at a time. We’re fortunate there’s so many teams in the tournament and only two diamonds in Lethbridge so we get to play the first three games of the tournament at Jets Stadium, which is nice,” said McTavish. “So we play Thursday night against Medicine Hat and then we play the Calgary Blues and the Calgary Bucks Friday at Jets Stadium and then work our way into Lethbridge from there. There are 14 teams from across Western Canada so it should be a good tournament. PBA always does a good job and you kind of get two sides of this, you get one side where you get to play it at home, and the second side of it you get to play in Lethbridge. So it’s a pretty good fit for both sides.”

The Jets kick off the PBA tournament on Thursday night against Medicine Hat at Jets Stadium with first pitch at 7 p.m. Saturday sees the Jets face-off against Winnipeg at noon. For the full schedule, visit https://www.prairiebaseball.com/prairie-showcase-classic.

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