PBA wins another CCBC title
The Prairie Baseball Academy is in seventh heaven.
The PBA edged the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack 4-3 in 11 innings during the championship game of the Canadian College Baseball Conference Sunday night in Kelowna to win its seventh straight CCBC title.
With two out in the bottom of the 11th inning, PBA leadoff hitter and shortstop Dylan Flasch picked the opportune time to steal second base, setting the table for Carter Witbeck to drive him in with the winning hit.
On the hill, the PBA only used a pair of arms as Rhett Feser put in 7 1/3 innings of work before Greg Hollman came in the rest of the way to earn the win.
“I’ll tell you what, it was a lot of fun playing a game like that,” said PBA head coach Todd Hubka, whose team went down 3-2 to the WolfPack in the top of the 10th before putting up the tying run in their half to set the stage for the 11th inning dramatics. “And you know what? I couldn’t be more proud of the kids. It’s a lot of pressure on them. They know what everyone has done before them and they don’t want to be the one for the streak to end. I’m very proud, (it’s) a lot of pressure on them and they came through.”
Lethbridge got off to a quick start in Sunday’s final, opening up a 2-0 lead after the first inning.
Witbeck singled to right field with two out and scored on a Dylan Borman triple. Borman then scored for the early 2-0 lead.
The WolfPack answered in the third inning with a pair runs to tie it up.
That’s the way it stayed until the 10th inning, but the PBA came close to putting the game away in the bottom of the ninth.
Tyson Abbott led the inning off with a single and advanced to second when Eric Davies was hit by a pitch.
But with Abbott on third, Davies on second and Flasch on first, Brett Brittany was sent down on strikes to send the game to extra innings.
The WolfPack took a 3-2 lead in the top of the 10th when Josh Hillis singled and advanced to second on an error to centre field and scored on a Blayne Halland double.
With their championship streak on the line, the PBA kept the extra innings going in their half of the 10th as Borman scored on a bases loaded fly ball from Davies to make it 3-3.
“I don’t think we said anything,” said Hubka of the mind set when TRU took the lead. “It was one of those things that it is what it is. We’re either go to step up and tie this thing back up or we’re going home with second place. Again, it’s our mind set at Prairie Baseball, we make these kids work extremely hard throughout the year and get ready for those types of situations and they came through. I can’t be more proud of them.”
After the WolfPack went down in order in the top of the 11th, the PBA went to work one more time as Flasch reached first base on an error to shortstop.
“It started with Dylan on first base,” said Hubka. “We’ve harped on these kids all year about reading curveballs down and it was actually a curveball in the dirt and he read down angle and got into scoring position. Dylan did a great job to get into scoring position for Wits to come in and hit him in.
“Hats off to Dylan. It’s those types of situations, you have to believe in yourself that you’re doing the right thing and reading down and he did. We had our sophomore three-hole hitter (Witbeck) up to hopefully win the game and you know what? That’s why he hits in the three-hole.”
When he saw his teammate swipe second, Witbeck knew what he had to do.
“As soon as I saw the catcher throw the ball down and knew it was late and (Flasch) got to second I felt like I needed to do something. He was pitching us outside the whole game so I knew what was coming. I didn’t really get a hold of it enough, but as soon as I saw the ball I knew it was dropping. So I ran to first and heard coach Mac and he said ‘You stay here.’ I watched that ball get thrown home and I saw him touch home plate and I waited for the tidal wave.”
Feser went deep in his championship start, working into the seventh inning and allowing two runs on five hits, walking four and striking out nine.
Hollman took over the rest of the way, tossing three and two-thirds innings, allowing one run on four hits with no walks and six strikeouts.
“Our pitching staff has been very strong all year and it’s kept us in a lot of ball games,” said Hubka. “And again, in the final game they threw really well and gave us a chance to win. Our bats went a little quiet for the day and we leaned on our pitchers and our pitchers kept us there to give us a chance to win in the end.”
“The one inning where we were down and needed to put up one to tie it, we battled together, worked hard and made sure we got on base,” added Witbeck. “I’m proud of these guys, that’s for sure.”
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