The Humboldt 13U AA Tier 1 Dodgers wrapped up a more than successful season by bringing home a silver medal from its provincial tournament last weekend. The performances capped a busy season which saw an exceptional turnout of ball players in the age group. The numbers are a clear indication of the appetite for baseball in the region and it bodes well for the future of 15U and 18U programs, says Dodgers coach Brett Suchan.
“We had quite a few registrants for 13U, so we had a house league of three teams from Humboldt and one team from Muenster. We played quite a few exhibition games and we ended up creating two travel teams, one that I coached and the other coached by Jeremy Clark who went to AA Tier 3 provincials.”
The team got off to a slow start at the beginning of the season, admits Suchan, but once the players found their footing, they hung tough with the best in the province. The team gelled and grew stronger throughout the season, and they were at the peak of their performance for provincials.
Their provincial run started at the tournament with a young team from Prince Albert who battled hard. The Dodgers walked away from that opener with a 12-5 win. Emmett Bryksa and Luke Manz made major contributions with Manz getting the nod for player of the game. Next on the slate was the Sask5 Giants from the Martensville/Warman region, a tough team, according to Suchan who plays in the AAA division.
“Terex Waldbauer pitched really well and ended up getting player of the game,” said Suchan. “While we lost that game, we bounced back against Weyburn, and again Luke Manz pitched a great game, he hit the ball well all weekend and again ended up getting player of the game.”
Following the 10-7 loss to Sask5 and a 14-2 victory over Weyburn, it was off to the semi-finals against the North East Expos. Camden Suchan pitched a nearly flawless full game of 61 pitches, and was with rock solid defense to lead the Dodgers to a decisive 14-2 win. Suchan got the nod for player of the game.
Maidstone was the team to beat at the tournament, and while the Dodgers connected well at the plate, the Maidstone defense locked down opportunities for the Humboldt crew and the final went to Maidstone. Luke Manz's performance shone to the extent that he was picked up by the rival Maidstone squad as they head to Westerns for competition.
“We just didn’t get the bounces we had before, so Maidstone ended up pulling through,” explained Suchan. “They ended up beating us 9-3. Our kids fought hard and played really well. I’m so, so proud of them.”
Camden Suchan, the only female on the squad, excelled on the mound throughout the season. The support of her teammates, along with her considerable contribution both on offense and defense sparked her confidence, says proud father and coach Brett.
“She works extremely hard. We do bullpens every week, so she’s no stranger to hard work. She’s pitched in big games, she’s proven herself, and she’s just grown more and more confident as the season has gone on. And that’s a tribute to our fellows on the team too with really good inclusion. Everybody was just a great teammate.”
For Camden, the season is not over. After successful tryouts for the Team Saskatchewan 14U girls team, the Dodgers pitcher will be off to Winnipeg in August for the Western Canadian Competition. Team Sask will test their mettle against their counterparts from Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia to determine who is the “best of the west.”
Members of the 13U AA Tier 1 Dodgers this year included #15 Camden Suchan, #19 Evertitt Solar, #48 Carter Trann, #50 Noah Brenner, #66 Jimmy Ingram, #68 Luke Manz, #72 Emmett Bryksa, #72 Cruze Craven, #78 Terex Waldbauer, #81 O’Neill Collins, #87 Blake Olson, #89 Chase Hinz. Coaches were Brett Such, Michael Suchan, Andy Trann and Chris Solar.