Legal Legends end season as provincial champions

submitted by Adele Walsh, Team Manager and Parent

Legal Legends 15U boys hardball team decided early in the season that the team was strong and dedicated. It made for an easy decision to enter the provincial tournament under head coach Eric Smith. Speaking of dedication, Eric knew that his father, Ross Smith, would be a great addition to the coaching crew; not only did we gain Grandpa Ross’ baseball knowledge but also his compassion for the team and players. Two of the provincials players are Ross’ grandsons, which further added to the excitement of the provincial tournament drive. The players were also privy to Nathan Day’s guidance, grandson of Ross and nephew of Eric, who currently plays for Westlock Red Lions. Nathan’s technical knowledge and team spirit were an asset to the team, besides his over a decade of ball expertise.

Due to other commitments, 5 of the 12 original players were unable to go on to the July provincial tournaments. The hunt was then on to add five players to the roster. After having played against Gibbons, Coach Eric reached out to a couple of players from their team to join the provincial team. Not only did we gain another two players, we also gained more knowledge from coach Matt DeSmet from Gibbons. Two additional players were invited to play from Morinville and Waskatenau. Two underage brothers of boys on the team were also invited to play, one being two years younger than the team! The first tournament was hosted by the St. Paul team. After weekend one, we knew we met our competition! Two losses and one win in St. Paul led the team to work on a few things. The following weekend took the team to Thorsby to play St. Paul,

Thorsby and Round Hill yet again! History repeated itself, and Legal was faced with two losses and a win again. Interestingly enough, Legal beat Round Hill twice and Round Hill beat Thorsby twice in two weekends. Given win and loss differentials, all three of the teams in our division besides St. Paul ended up in the provincial A, tier two, final tournament hosted by Edmonton’s South Baseball Association! Legal played Leduc and won the first game. The next game of the day was the Edmonton host team, who beat us pretty handily. The boys headed home to have a good sleep in their own beds. Sunday’s 3:00 game was to be played against Thorsby, a team that we had seen the last three weekends and had remained undefeated against Legal. The Legal Legends came out “guns a blazing” and beat Thorsby 18-15, which meant Legal was heading into back-to-back games on a hot and sunny afternoon. The final game was for all the marbles, this time up against Edmonton again. The Legends came back swinging and played another phenomenal game and won the entire tournament! Some would say Legal could have been considered the underdogs! Such a cool ending to the season for these 12 boys with sheer determination not to give up and give it their all! Many are excited for next year’s ball season that now seems so far away!

Provincial Baseball Champions, the U15 Legal Legends, rode in style during the Fete au Village Parade on Saturday, July 29. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

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