Chilliwack’s college prep Cougars are 2019 provincial champions.
The Cougars captured the crown Sunday with a 5-2 win over the Ridge Meadows Royals, taking the title for the third time in four seasons.
B.C. Baseball’s Final Four tournament was held in Richmond.
The Cougars were joined by the Royals, Cloverdale Nationals and Kelowna Sun Devils.
Chilliwack opened last Friday with a 5-0 shutout of the Royals, led by starting pitcher Tyer Mendonca.
The hurler kept the Royals off balance all game, and mound-mates Evan Finnie and Zach Klim picked up where he left off in game two, pitching Chilliwack to another 5-0 win, this one over the Nats.
The Cougars briefly crashed back to Earth in game three as they were whomped 12-1 by Kelowna.
With a record of 2-1 in round-robin play, Chilliwack tied for second and faced Kelowna again Sunday morning, with a finals berth on the line. The Cougars turned the tables in the rematch, thumping the Sun Devils 12-1.
Mendonca was back on the mound in the gold medal match, thwarting the Royals with five strong innings before handing the ball to Klim, who pitched the final two innings.
Noah Zimmer provided several defensive highlights in center field and Conall Sexton made an amazing over-the-fence catch to close out the sixth inning.
While Ridge Meadows scratched across two runs, the Cougars were able to plate five thanks to timely hitting and defensive miscues by the Royals.
Singles from Jude and Ty Hall got the Cougars going in the first inning, and Riley Smith hit a clutch sacrifice fly to get Jude home. Zimmer led off the third inning with a single, followed by a Smith walk. A Keenan Hilton double brought both baserunners home.
A seventh inning single by Diego Colebourne plated the final two runs.
This has been a group that work hard all year,” said head coach Scott Pankratz. “They have steadily developed. Our goal was always to be playing the best at the end of the season. We had contributions from every player of the team at one point in the season.
This truly was a ‘team win.’ This is a great group of guys that always play for each other and never give up on the final goal.”
The team has now earned a trip to New Jersey to represent B.C. Baseball at a wood bat tournament.
Other members of the team are Brett Fehlauer, Josh Siemens, Brenden Goldsworthy, Jackson Saunders and Matthias Klim.
Pankratz is helped by assistant coacehs Ray Johnston and Ken Harbut.