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Flyers win provincials for second year in row

The F.P. Walshe Flyers won the Tier 2 high school provincial baseball title -- their second provincial title in a row.

The F.P. Walshe Flyers claimed their second provincial high school baseball title in a row Thursday.
The Flyers, who last year won the Tier 3 title, blanked the defending Tier 2 champion Maple Creek Red Sox 9-0 in a neutral site game at Medicine Hat.
There was a sense of nervousness heading into the championship game, Flyers coach Peter Lavorato admitted.
In addition to being the defending champs, Maple Creek was undefeated in Southern Alberta High School Baseball League play this year.
The Flyers knew little about Maple Creek but because the Red Sox had beaten W.R. Myers, Vauxhall, Oyen, Eagle Butte and Medicine Hat the coaches concluded Maple Creek must be good.
The Flyers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning and added three more runs in the third.
At this point the coaches breathed a sigh of relief, Lavorato said.
Flyers pitcher Jake Hansen had gone through all Maple Creek’s batters and not one reached base safely.
“It was at this point that we all knew that with our pitching Maple Creek was never going to stage a comeback,” Lavorato said.
Hansen gained confidence as the game progressed, and the southpaw finished with 13 strikeouts against the 20 batters he faced, allowing two hits and no walks.
Taylor Wolstenholme pitched one inning to earn the save.
The pitchers were backed up by solid defence as the Flyers committed only one error.
Heading into the final Maple Creek had not committed an error in the playoff tournament.
“As the championship game wore on players started to drop balls that would otherwise be considered routine,” Lavorato said. “It was plain to see that Jake’s pitching, along with our strong defence as well as our timely hitting proved too much for the Saskatchewan players. They slowly began to fold under the pressure.”
The Flyers added three more runs in the fourth to lead 7-0, and the Flyers coaches started to relax.
“The players could also sense the end was near for Maple Creek,” Lavorato said, noting the players cautiously began to whisper, “Back to back provincial championships,” not wanting to jinx their good fortune.
The Flyers closed out the game with two runs in the bottom of the sixth for a 9-0 win.
Wolstenholme went 4-for-4 with a double, a triple, one run batted in and three runs scored. T-Wooly also had two stolen bases.
Ryan Cook went 2-for-4 with three RBI and a stolen base.
Hansen went 1-for-1 with an RBI and three stolen bases, and Tyler Ammann went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.
Brad Burrows went 1-for-4 with three RBI and Maverick Price went 1-for-3 with a double and a stolen base.
The senior varsity Flyers went undefeated in league play and 14-2 overall. The two losses came in a Tier 1 tournament. In the same tournament the Flyers beat Winston Churchill Bulldogs, who went on to win the Tier 1 provincial championship.
Lavorato said the team — and their parents — dedicated themselves to winning another provincial title this year and it paid off.
“Looking back to old tournament programs of coach pitch and Little League we see familiar names such as Tyler Amman, Maverick Price, Taylor Wolstenholme and Jake Hansen,” Lavorato said. “The same players that dominate the game at the high school level today. With the addition of Skylar Holtz and Brayden Russell the Flyers seniors would rival any team in any tier in the Southern Alberta High School Baseball League.”
The provincial championship for Lavorato marked the end of 25 years of coaching baseball in Fort Macleod.
“I have been blessed with many great assistant coaches, parents and of course players over the years,” Lavorato said. “The memories have been some of the best in my life. I will be deep in thought over the offseason and wrestle with my coaching future here at F.P. Walshe. I encourage parents to play catch with your kid watch a baseball game together and make every effort into enrolling your son or daughter into Little League. It is never too late.”

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