The Cardinals clinched the title with a 10-1 win over the Victoria Mariners at DeLair Park on Sunday, to cap off an incredible turnaround season.
Abbotsford entered the BCPBL playoffs as the number eight seed, and then knocked off the top-ranked Langley Blaze in a three-game series in Langley last weekend.
The Cardinals continued their hot run of play by losing only one game during the BCPBL championships, which ran from Friday to Sunday at DeLair Park.
“I’m not really sure how we did this,” joked Cardinals head coach Derek Florko after the win. “We started off the season slowly, but it seemed like every week and every month we just got better at one little thing. Once we got here we peaked and we really played our best at the end.”
Sunday’s win saw the Cards trail 1-0, but then explode for four runs to take the lead in the third inning. Dylan Ohlsen highlighted the inning with a two-out, two-run double to put Abbotsford up 4-1.
They added another four runs in the fifth inning to add some insurance. They also scored one run in both the fourth and sixth innings.
Cardinals pitcher Ethan Kano-McGregor was named the player of the game in Sunday’s final, after allowing just one hit in six innings pitched. The Cards pounded out 12 hits led by Ohlsen (two hits, four runs batted in); Brett Bass (four hits), Ryan Hamilton (three hits, one RBI) and Colton Harold (two hits, one RBI)
Florko said it’s a surreal feeling to finally win the championship.
“We’ve never won and I’ve never been to the final four before,” he said. “I don’t really think it’s sunk in yet.”
He said the Cardinals have a number of graduating players, and this is the perfect way to go out.
“Our graduating guys have been awesome,” he said. “They set the tempo for the younger guys and have been great leaders. This is one of our best graduating classes ever.”
Florko said the series win against the Blaze helped bring a lot of confidence to the Cardinals.
“It’s the first time that’s ever happened for us,” he said, of the series win over Langley. “That was huge for us. I think the guys were almost more ecstatic for that than they were for this one. We’ve never had much success against them in the past, so just to get by them was huge for us.”
Despite losing a handful of players to graduation, Florko said the future looks bright for the Cardinals, with a lot of talented youth on the team. He also pointed out that the Junior Cardinals are also strong, as they go for a junior title later this week.
The Junior Cardinals will play at Whalley Stadium starting on Friday for the British Columbia Junior Premier League championship. The club made team history by finishing first during the regular season for the first time in team history.
Abbotsford opens up against the Okanagan Junior Athletics at 4 p.m. on Friday. For more information on the tournament, visit bcpbl.com.