It was an all-Calgary showdown Sunday afternoon at Confederation Park in Cranbrook as Redbirds (Red) defeated Redbirds (Black) by an 11-3 margin to claim the fifth annual Mount Baker Wild Spring Baseball Classic.
The host Wild finished the tournament with a 2-1 record, grounding Trail’s J.L. Crowe Hawks 14-5 to grab a third-place finish.
“We hit the ball and scored a lot of runs in most of our games,” said Josh Lowden, who is in his fifth year as coach of Mount Baker’s high school baseball program. “There were a few errors here and there that cost us in one game.
“I don’t think the boys played poorly by any means, [Calgary] just put the bat on the ball and were hitting gaps on us.”
Kimberley’s Selkirk Storm whisked a fifth-place finish from the Grand Forks Wolves with an 11-2 triumph to finish out the tournament.
The spring high school baseball season serves as a great warm up for many local athletes ahead of the Montana State American Legion Baseball season, with many Wild and Storm players going on to kick up dust with the Cranbrook Bandits.
“We treat [the high school season] as a type of spring training towards the Bandits program,” Lowden said. “The high school season is quite short. It spans about a month and a half. We get a lot of games in during that period, but my goal is to get players ready and give them the baseball knowledge to succeed at the next level, whether that’s with the Bandits or further on than that.
“In such a short season, to gear up for that summer league with the Bandits is how we treat it — as spring training.”
The high school baseball season wraps up this coming weekend for both the Wild and Storm, with Mount Baker Secondary travelling to Medicine Hat and Selkirk Secondary visiting Grand Forks.
“It would be great to finish on a high note,” Lowden said. “The boys need to make sure they’re playing smart baseball. They need to eliminate any mental mistakes that can be made. It’s a big-thinking game. They know they’re capable of playing with these teams. We’ll see some harder teams in Medicine Hat, but as long as they eliminate the mental mistakes and stick to the basics, I think we’ll be just fine.”
From there, the Bandits get to work on their American Legion Baseball season beginning Friday, May 13, at the Wood Bat Classic in Libby, Mont.
Bandits tryouts wrapped up April 25. Head coach Paul Mrazek hoped to finalize his roster Monday evening.
Home action takes off Saturday, May 21, at Confederation Park in Cranbrook as the Bandits host Trail.
Watch Townsman/Bulletin sports for more on the Bandits this week.