A slow-throwing pitcher is just one of the many things on the minds of the Cordova Bay Blackout hitters as they enter the Midget B (under-18) Fastball Provincial Championship at Lochside Park, Friday (July 19) to Sunday.
The host Blackout were caught off guard in an exhibition game versus Peninsula last week when a pitcher threw in the 40 to 45 miles per hour range, about 10 mph slower from what batters usually face, which is a general pitching speed of 50 to 55 mph, said Blackout coach Derek Brooker.
“It threw the timing off our batters. We have to be ready for that and for the many aspects that come with such a high skill level tournament.”
The Blackout defeated the same Peninsula team in June to win the district championship with a lopsided victory with double-digit runs, but had edged Peninsula by just two runs earlier in the district tourney.
This weekend both Greater Victoria clubs will be up for a monumental task as 16 teams in all, each of them the winner or runners up from their respective districts, visit Lochside.
That includes Duncan, the defending B.C. Midget B champs.
Peninsula picked up a pair of Strawberry Vale players in addition to its core, which won bronze in last year’s under 19 ‘C’ provincials. The Blackout made no additions to its roster of 13.
“There’s some of us on this team have played together since we were 12,” said Blackout pitcher Mia Brooker.
“We’ve been wanting to win provincials for a long time. We were shut out from provincials last year when we didn’t make it out of districts. So we want this.”
Placing in the top three this weekend will advance the team to the Western regionals.
Four years ago this team came second in the peewee provincials and then two years ago it was fourth at the bantam B provincials.
Key to the tournament is Thursday’s draw.
“Hometown advantage is great, much easier than getting a hotel and having to get around (another town),” coach Brooker said.
As hosts, the Blackout knew they had an automatic berth into provincials before the season started. It’s the type of knowledge that can affect the team’s mindset and has worked in the Blackout’s favour, the coach added.
“It’s the first time the team has won gold at the districts in six tries. Last year we were a strong district, and lost to Strawberry Vale and Peninsula at the districts and missed provincials. That weight was off our shoulders from the start of the season.
“There’s some very driven athletes on this team, they set their goals high, and want to medal at provincials and go to Westerns.”
Opening ceremonies at Lochside are Friday at 5:30 p.m. followed by a rhythm and blues show by The Midnights.
Visit the tournament website at cordovabayfastball.ca.