Last weekend the Magrath Zeniths headed into a tournament ranked as first place, in the western division. And even after taking second place, the team still currently sits in first place at the tier II position.
“We took second, which was way better than expected,” said coach Jordan Brame. “(And) although there were no official results posted wins and losses would indicate that we are the number one tier II team in the province.”
Teams from Chinook High, Winston Churchill, Medicine Hat, McCoy, Crescent Heights, Eagle Butte and even Saskatchewan’s Notre Dame all competed in the tournament for a shot at number one.
“The majority of the teams were tier I, so we went in with the goal of winning two games, but hoping to run the table,” he explained. “The first game we played was against Crescent Heights. Tyson Gruninger had a great game. He was two for four with a home run and a single, on the mound he pitched six innings and struck out 10. We won 12 to one, spurred by great team offense and aggressive base running.”
Saturday morning’s game took place between Eagle Butte, who was ranked first in the tier II eastern division, with the Zeniths coming out on top.
“The boys played really well. Matt Noad and Tyson Bourne combined for 10 strike-outs, allowing only two earned runs. We were tied five to five going into the top of the 7th and we exploded for seven runs,” said Brame of the Zeniths second game last weekend. “Derek Strate and Matt Noad led the team going four to five and three to four respectively. It was a tough game and I was very proud of the way our pitchers performed, and the way we stayed mentally tough, coming from behind for the win.”
Saturday afternoon the Zeniths faced off against the undisputed, number one ranked team in the province, Medicine Hat’s McCoy. Although the team was nervous heading in to the game, only a few errors were made during the first half of the game.
“(They) were up seven to two (in the first couple innings.) Derek Strate was able to keep his head (however) and pitched an absolute gem. He held them for the next three innings, striking out eight over the course of his six innings pitched,” he said, and added, “If you take away the seven errors, at the end of six innings it was two to three. I’d say it was a huge confidence boost to be able to play right there with a team like that. We ended up taking second overall, losing that game 13 to two.”
Despite taking home second, Brame is “very pleased with the way that we played,” and that the boys could come together as a team to pick each other up after mistakes were made.
“I am very pleased with our team at this point,” he said. “The difference between winning the tournament and taking second this weekend was errors and strikeouts. Limiting our mistakes and putting the ball in play will put us in a better spot to be successful at the end of the season.”
The Zeniths will next face off against Cardston, tonight (Thursday), Picture Butte Monday at home and Tuesday the boys have a double-header in the Crowsnest Pass.
“We have a few very experienced players and a few very inexperienced players. It’s been very interesting to watch the way that our veteran players have stepped up to the plate and are teaching the younger players,” said Brame of his team’s overall performance this season.
For more information about the Zeniths baseball team and their game schedule please either contact the school at 403-758-3366, or visit their website at http://www.magrathhigh.com.