If the results of last week’s provincial championships are any indication, there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about the future of Abbotsford baseball.
In the mosquito (age 10-11) category, a trio of Abbotsford Angels teams made it to the B.C. final in their respective divisions.
The Abbotsford AAA Tier 2 team and the Single A squad both came home with gold. The Tier 2 boys went a perfect 6-0 at their provincial tourney in Burnaby, capped by a dominant 7-0 victory in the final over Prince George.
The Single A boys posted a 3-1 record in the round robin, with their lone loss coming against Richmond. The Angels avenged that loss in the championship game, as they blitzed Richmond 16-1 to claim the title.
A third Abbotsford team, the AAA Tier 1 squad, earned a silver medal. They suffered an upset loss in the B.C. final, falling 14-5 to Chilliwack.
“The depth of this age group is just exceptional,” observed Shawn Kelly, coach of the AAA Tier 2 squad. “It really means that the peewee and bantam levels should just get better and better in the future, assuming these kids stay engaged in the game.”
Kelly pointed out that the Abbotsford Angels Hardball Association has created programs to ensure kids get top-quality coaching at the lower age levels and build good fundamentals. An all-star game for the mosquito level has also been instituted over the past two seasons to keep kids excited about the game.
“They’re getting good coaching at age seven or eight, and their fundamentals are better,” Kelly said, analyzing the Abbotsford association’s success at the mosquito level. “When you get kids at nine or 10 who have really good fundamentals and can throw the ball 55 or 60 miles per hour, there’s not a lot of guys out there like that.”