…with Heisler before heading into its first provincial weekend of the season.
There, the Stettler boys were handed a 13-8 loss, but according to coach Jeff Lee, it was an excellent experience and demonstrated where the first-year bantam team needs to focus in practice in the coming weeks.
“For our first game, it was great to see the kids hit so well,” Lee said. “Both pitching and batting were better than we were expecting.”
The team plays in a provincial league, which means this past weekend, May 1-2, they faced local teams in the AA division. There, the Bantam boys didn’t fare as well against teams from Red Deer, Lacombe and Camrose.
“We’re probably a tier four team,” Lee said. “These teams were tier one. It was pretty unbalanced.”
Despite that, like in the Heisler game, batters were connecting really well with the ball, and the pitching was pretty solid, Lee noted.
Defensively, though, there were holes, Lee admitted.
“It was the errors that got us,” he said. “Everything else, we were competing on these teams’ levels.”
The size of these larger communities mean the teams have a larger pool of players to draw from, whereas Stettler’s fielding its first Bantam team in a year this year, as last year there wasn’t enough kids to form a team.
The younger team, comprised of first-years only, means the team is a bit of a small fish in a pond of big fish, Lee said.
“We held our own though,” he added, proud of the players who took a bit of a drubbing on the weekend.
With this round of provincials over, the next round will pit teams from north and south against each other. There, more stratification will happen and it’s likely the Stettler team will play against teams of similar capacity, rather than being pitted against teams vastly higher in skills like this past weekend.
“We’re going to be focusing our attention on defence now,” Lee said. “You can be leading but have bases full, and if a ball bounces between your legs and you have to run for it, the other team just got four runs. That hurts, and we need to improve on that.”
In girls’ softball, Stettler’s U12 Jays beat Lacombe by a score of 11-10 in the first game of the season.
“With the scored tied and the Jays down to their last out, Chloe Strochein drew a walk to put the winning run on base. With Breann Kerik at the plate, Chloe would score on a single up the middle to put the home side ahead,” coach Robert Couch said.