Chuckers show promise at own U15 Wood Bat Classic

A young Richmond Bantam AAA Chuckers team came within a game of reaching the final of Richmond City Baseball’s U15 Queen Victoria Wood Bat Tournament for the second straight year.
Coming off a 2013 campaign which saw the Chuckers capture the regular season pennant and just miss out on the championship round at the provincials, Ryan Klenman has taken over the head coaching duties from his dad Alex and has just one returning player on his roster. Still, Richmond has been competitive so far in league play with a solid 10-6 record and backed that up with a strong showing at their own 12-team tournament, held at Blundell Park.
The hosts advanced to Monday’s semi-final before falling 7-3 to eventual champion Spruce Grove. The Alberta squad received excellent pitching, limiting the Chuckers to just six hits, while breaking a tight game open with three runs in the top of the seventh. Spruce Grove went on to defeat the Victoria Black Eagles 4-2 in the final.
Richmond had opened the playoff round with a 6-3 win over White Rock. The locals scored four times in the first inning and then rode the excellent pitching of starter Kallen Collett, who allowed six hits and struck out five over five innings of work. Veteran Ryder Mavis worked the final two innings to earn the save.
Catcher Taiki Matsunuma led the way at the plate with a pair of hits and an RBI.
The round-robin portion of the tournament saw the Chuckers start off with an 11-6 win over Burnaby. Cameron Lewis and Collett had big games at the plate with three hits each. Gavin Lunny had three RBIs and also stole three bases. Alex Dawson connected for a pair of doubles.
Burnaby made things interesting with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth to make it 7-6 before Richmond put the game away with four in the sixth.
Spruce Grove’s only loss of the weekend came against the Chuckers on Saturday afternoon — 8-6.
Richmond rallied from a 6-4 deficit with four runs in the fifth. Mavis was a force offensively with a pair of doubles and four RBIs. Roman Guthrie and Dawson also drove in runs. Lewis earned the win in relief with three solid innings of work.
The Chuckers return to league action this weekend with doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday against the Victoria Black Eagles and Red Eagles respectively at Blundell.

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