Another great run of “Best of the West” tournament action in Kamloops as the Big League Experience once again hosted 50 teams in the span two weekends. April 4 – 7 saw 12 Midget/Junior Premier teams and 14 Bantam teams – AA and AAA divisions and April 11 – 14 saw 10 Premier and 14 Bantam teams from throughout Western Canada.
April 4 – 7
Let the season begin as 26 teams made their way into Kamloops and for some teams it was the 1st time on the field as weather in parts of Western Canada as been wintery. With that said, the juices were flowing and there were some great games and excitement throughout the weekend in all divisions.
The tournament started on Thursday afternoon and ended on the Sunday with the Badlands Academy Badgers knocking off the Edmonton Prospects for the title. The tournament included many teams from both sides of the Rockies participating in 3 pods:
Pod A: Whalley Chiefs, Badland Badgers, Ridge Meadows Royals and Coquitlam Reds
Pod B: Kamloops River Dogs, Fort Mac Oil Giants, North Shore Twins, Langley Jr. Blaze
Pod C: Okanagan A’s, Jasper Blue Jays, Edmonton Prospects, White Rock Tritons
The tournament included 14 teams in total: 2 Pods of four in the AAA division (8 teams) and 2 Pods of three teams in the AA division (6 teams).
Pod A: Kamloops River Dogs, Okotoks Dawgs Red, White Rock Tritons and North Shore Twins
Pod B: Okotoks Dawgs Black, Coquitlam Reds, North Island Royals and Whalley Chiefs
Pod D: Okotoks Dawgs White, Ridge Meadows Royals Victoria Mariners Blue
Pod D Kamloops River Dogs, Calgary Cubs and White Rock Tritons
Both Division had some exciting games that included some great emotion as many games went down to the last out. As a result it was an Okotoks sweep as the Dawgs Black (AAA division) and Dawgs White (AA divison) went on to be crowned as champions.
April 11 – 14
Premier Showcase Weekend;
24 teams that included 10 in the Premier Showcase event and 14 Bantam teams – making the beautiful MacArthur Island in Kamloops a very busy place.
This highly competitive tournament of 10 elite teams included players and teams from throughout Western Canada. Eight Junior National team players were participating with various clubs that saw a number of MLB scouts and college recruiters watching along with Team Canada’s Junior National Team Head Coach Greg Hamilton in attendance. The goal for the players are to be seen and potentially recruited/scouted or invited to one of our provincial or national events such as the T12 and potentially up their stock in the upcoming MLB June draft.
The 10 teams were broken down into 3 Pods:
Pod A: North Delta Blue Jays, North Shore Twins and Vauxhall Academy
Pod B: Edmonton Prospects, Coquitlam Reds and Langley Blaze
Pod C: BLE Scout team, Fraser Valley Cardinals, Victoria Eagles and Okotoks Dawgs
The 3 pod winners automatically qualified for next year’s 2020 BOW tournament and were placed into the semi final game with a chance to win this year’s Championship. Those pod winners were the Vauxhall Academy, Langley Blaze and BLE Scout team. The two Wildcard teams – North Shore Twins and the Okotoks Dawgs played off with Okotoks Dawgs advancing as the #4 seeded team in the Semi Final match ups.
With the seedings, the playoff and consolation picture was set:
- In Semi Final action: BLE had a late charge with bases loaded and down 6 – 3 in the 7th, but Okotoks shut them down and advanced to the final and would take on the Langley Blaze who defeated a very strong Vauxhall Academy in the other Semi Final game.
- In qualification games: North Shore Twins knocked off the North Delta Blue Jays and Victoria Eagles defeated the Edmonton Prospects to qualify for the 2020 tournament.
- In Consolation Game: Coquitlam Reds defeats the Fraser Valley Cardinals.
In the Championship Game: The Okotoks Dawgs took on the Langley Blaze and games don’t get much better than that! The Dawgs took an early 4-1 lead in which the Langley Blaze erased with 3 runs in the 5th inning to tie the game that would eventually need a number of extra innings to decide. Great pitching and defense took this game to 11 innings in total and it was there the Blaze edged that eventual run to give them the 5-4 decision and Championship.
With the conclusion and results of this year’s event, here are the following teams that have qualified for the 2020 Showcase event:
- Langley Blaze
- Okotoks Dawgs
- BLE Scout Team
- Vauxhall Jets Academy
- North Shore Twins
- Victoria Eagles
*The avenue for those teams that we’re not able to automatically qualify for the 2020 event will be through the Fall Qualifier that is scheduled for Sept 26 – 29th in Kamloops, BC.*
Bantam Premier Division
Coinciding with the Premier Showcase event was the Bantam Premier AAA tournament. With 14 teams in total that included; 1 team from Saskatchewan, 6 from Alberta, 5 PBL Prep teams and 2 BC Minor teams, the weekend had a great mixture of strong competition from throughout the west. The Venue, Kamloops McArthur Island is setup in such a way that many of the Bantam players were exposed to the Showcase Tournament Scouts/Coaches and Recruiters, creating an amazing environment! It also brought individuals such as Team Canada’s Jr. National team coach Greg Hamilton over to take a look at some of the top up and coming talent from the West.
The 14 teams were broken up in 4 Pods as such;
Pod A: Lethbridge Bulls, Calgary Longhorns and Chilliwack Cougars
Pod B: Parkland Twins, Fraser Valley Cardinals and Okotoks Dawgs Black
Pod C: Going Yard (Sask), Okotoks Dawgs White, Victoria M’s Teal and Langley Blaze
Pod D: Okanagan A’s , Okotoks Dawgs Red, Victoria Eagles, and Delta Tigers.
After round robin play the top two teams advanced to the Semi final game with the #3 to #6 seeded teams battling in a Wildcard game to get to that Semi game.
In Wild Card Action:
- Victoria Eagles knock off the Okotoks Dawgs Black and Fraser Valley defeats Chilliwack
In Semi final Action:
- Langley Blaze Defeats the Victoria Eagles and Fraser Valley Cardinals edge the Delta Tigers 1- 0 in a great pitchers dual
In Championship Game:
- Langley Blaze prevail with a strong game and BOW championship with their victory over Fraser Valley. I am sure these two teams will see each other again during Provincial play.
THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO ATTENDED THIS YEARS “BEST OF THE WEST” TOURNAMENTS AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOUR TEAMS PARTICIPATE IN THE FUTURE!!! GOOD LUCK THIS SEASON FROM THE BIG LEAGUE EXPERIENCE!!