The Strathmore Reds Tier II U13 AA baseball team defended their provincial championship on home turf with a convincing 7-0 win last weekend in the gold medal match.

The Reds had an incredibly dominant season and went into the tournament with plenty of confidence, but faced an early and unexpected speed bump when they dropped their first game against the Calgary Cardinals, their only loss against them in eight matches this season. Despite that loss, Head Coach Troy Lapohn explained the team didn't let that get in their heads, as they won the rest of their games that tournament, including avenging that Cardinals defeat in the gold medal match 7-0.

"We lost that one game, which was a little bit uncharacteristic of our team, maybe nerves got in there. In baseball, one play changes the momentum, the team definitely regrouped and came back and won. We have a great team and they certainly came together as a group in the final weekend, they played their butts off," he said.

Lapohn said the Reds have a deep and talented roster that carried them throughout the year, including stellar pitching from Brock Boelk and Luke Wortman. Combined, they only allowed three hits, and when the Cardinals did get a hit the fielders were ready on the defense to shut out the Cardinals.

Winning provincials twice in a row was definitely a special moment for the team, and it was heightened by the fact the Reds were hosting provincials in Langdon. Lapohn said winning on home turf made the celebration even sweeter, and the home crowd advantage definitely gave the Reds an additional boost.

"It's always a great experience having all of the families and friends come out to support the team and it's so nice that we don't have to have to do the travelling. We have a great group of parent volunteers and everybody stepped up from 8:00 in the morning till 9:00 at night."

Boelk, Wortman, and Jonah Lapohn were all a part of last year's championship team, so it was especially nice for them to be a part of winning two in a row. As they prepare to move forward in the Reds program the remaining U13 AA players will look to make it three in a row next season, but for now, the entire team can celebrate a fantastic season capped off with another provincial banner.

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