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Chuckers come up just short on home turf

Bantam AAA baseball team reaches final of RCBA Queen Victoria Invitational before falling to Delta

A rookie right-hander from Ladner is one of the few to have an answer for the Richmond Bantam AAA Chuckers so far this minor baseball season.
The Chuckers steamrolled to the championship game of their own Queen Victoria Day Invitational over the long weekend — averaging over 10 runs per game in three impressive victories. Richmond looked poised to capture its second tournament in as many tries this season before running into Braedy Euerby and the Delta Tigers.
The starting pitcher limited the Chuckers to just four hits and no walks to lead the Tigers to a 3-0 victory. Euerby also received some timely defence and a little luck too with four hard hit infield line outs, including a pair that producing rally killing double plays.
If Richmond head coach Alex Klenman wasn’t already convinced it wasn’t going to be his team’s day, then the top of the seventh provided further evidence.
The hosts loaded the bases with nobody out against reliever Caleb Cassie when another scorching line drive resulted in double play to essentially end the game.
Ironically, the game was similar to when the Chuckers dropped a 3-1 decision in league play to Euerby and the Tigers last month. He is now responsible for two of the team’s five losses this season in 32 games.
“That’s baseball. It can be a funny game like that,” shrugged Klenman. “We faced this kid earlier in the year and he had our number pretty good. Today, we hit four line drives that were screamers and they happened to be in the right place. As coaches, you don’t feel bad about hard outs. You know at some point they are going to fall. It just didn’t happen today.
“You have to give (Euerby) a lot of credit, too. To be able to throw two pitches consistently for strikes at this age level is tough. We like would to get him again at some point. It was like watching a replay (of the first game).”
The Chuckers will host Delta again in league play on June 8 in what is developing into an intriguing, yet very friendly, rivalry.
The Tigers are just a second-year program but have the advantage of pulling talent from all three associations in Delta. The team is guided by Cam Frick who played under Klenman back in 2008 and also coached within Richmond City Baseball before returning to his hometown.
“A couple of times Alex came over, looked at me and just smiled,” laughed Frick. “He knows I have him read pretty good. They are a very solid team.”
Delta took out defending champion Okotkos in a 3-2 semi-final thriller. Meanwhile, the Chuckers were making it look easy despite a very challenging schedule, including an 8-2 win over league-leading Abbotsford to advance to the championship game. Rookie left Justin Thorsteinson gave Richmond another outstanding start on the mound.
Carter Castle, Gabriel Suessenbackher-Fu and Reid Dawson were equally effective in their starts. Finkelstein, Howells and Broderick were solid in relief.
Dustin McElwain led the attack against Abbotsford with three hits, including a key two-run double in the third. The Chuckers opened the tournament with a 17-hit attack against Alberta’s Parkland Twins — a 12-4 romp.
“We hit the ball extremely well all weekend with a lot of extra base hits,” said Klenman. “(The final) might had been a different game had we scored early.”
Klenman also had high praise for the parent volunteers who make the tournament possible every year.
“I can’t say enough about parent group that put this on,” he added.
“They sacrificed their whole weekend here form crack dawn until evening, This group was fantastic and we can’t do this without them. They make it easy for the boys to just come and play.”