In the words of catcher Crash Davis, in baseball, some days you win, some days you lose, and some days it rains.
That sums up the Canadian Little League Championship run for Calgary’s Rocky Mountain Little League team in Regina last week.
The team ended the tournament with three wins and four losses, landing them a spot in the semi-final game against Quebec. Only that game didn’t end up being played.
Rain forced the cancellation of their match versus Quebec, which could have landed them in the finals and a chance to head to the Little League World Series in Pennsylvania.
“It’s too bad, the players were eager to go,” said manager Will Sherstabetoff.
“We understood that obviously it’s like an exhibition game and they had to make sure for the championship game the field was ready for that.”
The team is comprised of 12 Rocky Mountain League majors (ages 11 and 12) players. The players must have played at least eight house league games on their respective team during the season to be eligible for tryouts on the Rocky Mountain Little League team.
After the selections, the team went to a host of invitational tournaments across Western Canada before going to provincials. This year those were hosted in Calgary at the Stanley Park diamonds.
“In that tournament, you have the winner who ends up going to Canadians, and happened to be us this year,” Sherstabetoff said.
Many of the teams they saw at the Canadian Championships were ones they’d played against at some of the invitational tournaments across Canada. Plus, Calgary hosted Canadians last year.
“I felt like we had a bit of a leg up going in,” Sherstabetoff said.
The next pitch attitude
The Rocky Mountain Little League team had all new players and a brand-new staff this year, but they’d faced many of these teams in tournament play.
Their goal was to reach the semi-finals and that’s exactly what they’d done. While some of the kids were disappointed not to play that three / four game – mainly out of sheer love of baseball – they still enjoyed the experience, Sherstabetoff said.
“I think we met our goal and of course, everyone wants to go to the Little League World Series, but there’s only one team every year, so no one was too disappointed,” he said.
“One of the things that we continue to talk about is a next-pitch attitude. I think they really take that to heart; we just turn the page and it’s on the next step, on to the next pitch, next game. We can’t get too low or too high over anything that happens.
“The other thing we’ve tried to stress is that this is an amazing tournament and an amazing opportunity, but this is just a moment in your baseball journey and hopefully you learned lots.”
Ultimately, with an experience like this, Sherstabetoff said he hopes players get some vision of what baseball could be like for them moving forward.
“Hopefully it gives them lots of confidence that they, with hard work and determination, that those things will pay off for them in their next steps in life.”
The Rocky Mountain Little League team players are from southwest Calgary in an area from Canyon Meadows north to downtown. The east/west boundary stretches from 14 Street SW to near Quarry Park.
The host team from North Regina upset perennial favourite BC in the Little League Canada finals. They will represent the country at the Little League World Series from Aug. 16 to 27.