The U18 AAA Pembina Hills baseball team is back on the diamond. The squad split their first doubleheader last weekend against Oildome and showed what they were capable of on offence.
"We had a big comeback win in the bottom of the seventh in game one. That was huge for us, and we had a lot of runs scored (16-15 final score). Game two was the same thing, a lot of runs on both sides but we ended up being on the wrong side of that outcome," says assistant coach Chance Bitzer. "Baseball early in the season tends to look like that. Both teams trying to keep pitchers available for high school teams before they went into the playoffs."
Bitzer notes there were a lot of positive takeaways from the first weekend but says they still have a lot to work on.
"It's just about them getting used to what we want from the kids defensively and different situational things. Also, some guys are playing different positions," Bitzer explains. "We're fortunate because we have six left-handed throwers on the team but it can be difficult making a lineup and trying to get that many lefties in. Some guys are playing new positions, but I think with a few more games under our belt, I think those kinks will work themselves out."
The assistant coach was very encouraged by the team's aggression on base and ability to take advantage of the opportunities they were given. Bitzer says this is a very experienced squad, so he believes they should hit their apex in no time.
"I think we have four new guys, and we only lost two Grade 12s from last year. There were a couple of changes after the tryouts but almost all of the guys are back, and for a lot of them, this is their third year," Bitzer continues. "You could see it last weekend. They were confident, finally being the big dogs. It makes it exciting to see what these guys can do."
Bitzer believes they have the skill to win the championship this season. The squad was eliminated last year by the eventual provincial champions, and the coach notes with their added experience, this team knows what it takes to battle with the best.
Pembina Hills is back in action today with a doubleheader against the Brandon Marlins that begins at 1:00.