The U18 AAA Pembina Hills are heading off to the 2022 Provincial Tier 2 Baseball Championship.
After a tough loss in extra innings to qualify for the Tier 1 Provincials, Pembina Hills is prepared to bring their 'A' game into this tournament. Head coach Chance Bitzer outlines what the weekend will look like.
"There are four teams, so it's going to start with a round-robin where we play each team. From there they will do the seeding based on record. The fourth-placed team will be eliminated, second and third will play in the semi-finals on Sunday morning, and whoever the number one seed is will go right to the finals," says Bitzer. "I think it'll be an exciting weekend, and hopefully, we can get off on the right foot today and set ourselves up to make a run on Sunday."
Pembina Hills has two games today, with the first coming against Elmwood at 9 a.m. and the second taking place at 12:45 against Interlake. Bitzer describes what their biggest focus will be throughout the round-robin.
"The main thing with a tournament like this is pitching. If our pitchers can throw strikes, that'll be huge. Sometimes it can be tough with the pitch count rules, making sure we have arms available by the time Sunday rolls around," Bitzer continues. "Our pitchers have been throwing well lately, and our bats have been looking better and better. So, if we can get hot there, that gives us an opportunity to have the guys we want pitching on Sunday available to throw."
Pembina Hills will have two games today and one more tomorrow in the round-robin play. All games will take place in Winnipeg at Charleswood Park.
After going to extra innings in the tier 1 qualifier with the Carillon Sultans, Bitzer says they are entering this tournament with confidence.
"I think we actually feel good. We would've liked to compete in tier 1 but at the end of the day, we're just excited to still compete in a provincial tournament. We played well against Carillon, and they're a good team. When you go into extra innings in our league, you start with a guy on first and second, so anything can happen," Bitzer explains. "I think we played a good game, and if we keep moving in the right direction, we can use that momentum in this tournament."
The head coach notes the winner of the tournament will be heading off to Estevan, Saskatchewan, to take part in the AA U18 Western Canada Baseball Championships. For the full schedule for this weekend's tournament click here.