For the first time in their young careers, Morgan Tanner, Declan Wurz, and Spencer Johansen will all be competing at the provincial level when they suit up for Zone 2 in the Alberta Summer games.

Hosted in Okotoks from July 21-23, all 3 players are excited to compete at the top level in the province. While that alone is enough reason for excitement, Johansen explained they're also looking forward to suiting up with rivals they've known for most of their lives. All three currently play for the Calgary Bisons U15 AAA team in the AAA Baseball Alberta League and have played against the same teams and players for several years, so even though it will be their first time on a team with their rivals there is a level of familiarity already there.

"It'll be exciting because we get to stay with our team throughout the whole thing and you can really bond with the teammates if you stay in a group the entire weekend. We've known these guys almost our whole lives, been playing against them, but now we can finally get to know them and talk to them and see what they're really about," Johansen said 

On the flip side, not all Bisons players are in Zone 2 so they're also excited to go against some of their teammates as well.

While playing at a higher level may seem like it could be nerve-wracking, all three players said they're just preparing as they normally would, as at the end of the day it's the same sport and they just have to trust their practice and skills the same way they do in the regular season. However, one thing emphasized by all three was the importance of teamwork to win at the provincial level. 

"You can't win with just one guy. Baseball is one of those sports where everybody has to be involved in the game to win. There's not just one guy that shoots the puck and can score. In baseball, there are nine guys in the lineup that have to be solid and have to be able to hit the ball and have to be able to score runs," Tanner said. 

"It's an unselfish sport, say the first guy gets on base and then the other guy tries to hit a home run and gets out, it doesn't work," Wurz said.

"You have to bounce off your teammates and try and string things together to get runs. You can't just have one guy that can get all the runs. It's not how that works," Johansen added.

The provincial zone tournament will run in Okotoks from July 21-23, you can find more information on the Alberta Summer Games website here.

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