The Kahnawake Warhawks Minor Baseball program sent teams from different divisions to the Lac St. Louis regional championships this past week, with varying results.
Of the five teams – U9B, U11B, U13B, U15B, and U18B – two were eliminated after the round robin games, two were eliminated during the elimination rounds, and one, the U9B team, is set to match up against the Chateauguay Red Sox Blue in the semi-finals.
Brandon Bordeau, coach of the U9B Warhawks team, who has also uploaded videos of various regional games throughout the week on his Youtube channel Baby Blue Memories, said that he knew the team could make it far into the tournament as long as they played their game.
“They play hard, they hustle every play, and they make their opponents work for it,” said Bordeau. “We have a lot of terrific players, especially given the fact that we only had one player with any prior experience.”
Despite some growing pains at first, the team finished the regular season 9-7, capping it off with a six-game winning streak, which immediately followed a five-game losing streak.
The long losing streak, according to Bordeau, was caused in large part by the sheer amount of players missing time due to injury. “I thought when we’d get healthy, we’d be alright, and that proved to be right.”
They won their first game 10-9 against the Soulanges Cougars Orange off of an Aidan Leblanc walk-off inside-the-park grand slam, then their second game 14-7 against the Valleyfield Reds Gris thanks in part to home runs from Dane McComber and Masen McGregor-Brown, giving them a bye into the quarterfinals.
Up to that point, the team had been the only one in the U9B tournament to give up single digit runs in each game.
Then, they won a thrilling 19-18 offensive showcase against the Suroit Orioles to lock them into the semi-finals. Aidan Leblanc hit another walk-off, and Dane McComber added to his home run total with two more in the game.
Jesse Lahache, coach of the U15B team as well as assistant on the U18B team, has not had the same kind of success, with both teams he coaches being eliminated back-to-back last Tuesday, August 22.
“(The U15B team) had a good season, we finished around .500 but lost a lot of close games, usually on costly errors,” said Lahache. “But we usually have a good shot when everyone shows up.”
Despite that, they lost their first two round robin games 10-6 against the Soulanges Cougars and 7-1 against the Presqu’Ile Pirates Jaune. In the first game, they were down early but started slowly coming back and scoring runs. However, the only coach available that day was ejected by the umpire, forcing the U15B Warhawks to lose by forfeit.
In the do-or-die game against the Presqu’Ile Pirates Gris, up 10-9 in the last inning, it’s another team’s error that helped them advance; pitcher Kallen Stacey fielded a pop fly, and the Pirates player on third base did not return to his base in time, inducing the game-ending double play.
That would be it for the U15B Warhawks’ good fortune however, as they lost another close game to be eliminated from the tournament. They fell 9-7 in a rematch with the Presqu’Ile Pirates Jaune on August 22.
Terry Stacey, head coach of the U18B team that was also eliminated August 22, is still proud of the way the team played this year. The team finished their regular season with a six-game winning streak, but were unfortunately missing two of their strongest players for regionals.
“We tried our best with what we had,” said Stacey. “We’re proud of our team’s effort but unfortunately we didn’t get the result we wanted.”
Their tournament got off to a good start with an 8-2 victory against the Chateauguay Red Sox, marked by strong games at the plate by Tyson Kyer and Jesse Lahache, as well as strong games on the mound by Wyatt Mayo and Rohahiio Stacey.
The next game, however, the team was missing quite a few players and struggled at the plate all night long as the Suroit Patriotes Bleu won 11-2.
Still, this was enough to get them into the elimination round, where they would play once again against the Red Sox. The Red Sox got off to an early 5-0 lead, but the Warhawks rallied back to take the lead in the fifth inning, in part due to a two double, 4 RBI performance from Rohahiio Stacey.
But, the Red Sox took back the lead in the top of the seventh inning, and the Warhawks just couldn’t get the hit they needed in the bottom of the inning, ending their tournament.
The U11B team and the U13B teams were the ones that did not make it past the round robin portion of the tournament. The U11B team was defeated 8-1 on Saturday, August 19 by the Presqu’ile Pirates Blanc, and by the Soulanges Cougars Gris Sunday August 20 by the score of 12-2.
The U13B team won their first game 11-0 against the Suroit Patriotes on August 19, but did not manage to advance to the next round after a 11-7 loss to the Presqu’Ile Pirates Jaune on August 20.