There might be an even bigger story than this one, depending on how the Grande Prairie Northern Lights did at the Tier I ‘AAA’ Midget baseball provincial championships this past weekend. But for now, let’s talk about how William Chemago and Matthew LaFrance of Slave Lake helped the Lights win the Tier II provincials.
The tournament happened in between rainstorms on the July 27 weekend in Fort McMurray. The Northern Lights rolled through their first three games, beating Okotoks, Calgary and Fort Mac. They scored 24 runs and allowed only four. Then in the final against the Edmonton Padres, GP won it in dramatic fashion in the seventh inning, 3 – 2.
Chemago played third base in that game, and LaFrance was in right field. Both figured prominently in the win. LaFrance scored the winning run – singling, stealing second and then coming home on a single.
“It was real close,” says Chemago. “A bang-bang play at home.”
LaFrance says the hit that drove him in was by Ronaldo Sanchez, “up the middle,” and that he slid home “under the tag.”
Defensively, Chemago got a big out earlier in the game, throwing out the baserunner at first from his knees.
“I didn’t know I could do that,” he says.
On the final play of the game, Edmonton had the tying run at second, with two out, and the batter hit a hard ball to Chemago at third.
“It was hit right to me,” he says. “I kind of faked him out (the runner on second) with the throw and then chased him and got him.”
Why didn’t he just throw to first for the out?
“I knew the person hitting – one of the fastest players in the league. It would have been really close.”
Dave LaFrance, who was watching the game – all the games – says he was impressed by how good the team was defensively, not giving an inch. And the hitting – which had been a problem earlier in the season – was there when the needed it. That, plus good pitching.
“All that came together,” he says.
It will take all that, plus a bit more, to do well against the Tier I field in Sherwood Park. We hope to have a report on that, one way or another.
Chemago liked their chances.
“We’ve played all those teams. We’ve had really close games.”