The Wadena Squirt boys’ softball team beat the Moosomin Marauders on June 13 to keep the championship title.
Left to right, back row, coaches Darin Faubert, Gerard Fogg, Elden Helberg; middle, Brayden Jones, Josh Barowski, Wyatt Jack, Brett Fogg, Keenan Sowa, Winston Byman; front, Carter Peterson, Skyler Maleschuk, Koby Faubert, Griffen Helberg, Josh Ochitwa and Blake Tokar.
On June 12 the Wadena Squirt (Under 12) boys’ softball team headed to Moosomin to defend its provincial B championship. The team had been practising since late March, starting with a pitching clinic. In April the boys moved into the skating rink before heading onto the ball diamonds in May. In early June, the team headed to the Hustler Classic in Saskatoon, where they won the bronze medal in the A division.
Provincials started with a game against the Okanese Chiefs. The boys jumped out to a quick start, leading 5-0 after the first inning. With some great outfielding by Skyler Maleschuk, Keenan Sowa, Brayden Jones, Blake Tokar and Josh Barowski, the Okanese team could not mount a comeback and the Wadena team dominated the game, eventually winning 13-3 in four innings.
Next up was the host team, the Moosomin Marauders, with a bye to the provincial final at stake. The game remained close throughout the first three innings, but third baseman Wyatt Jack and second baseman Winston Byman made great infield plays at key times to end any Moosomin threats. As a team, the boys remained aggressive on the basepaths, stealing bases at virtually every opportunity. In the fourth inning, the Wadena team pulled away, finishing the game with a 17-9 win and a bye to the final the next day.
Sunday at noon was the provincial final. The team met at 10:30 for batting practice before their scheduled infield/outfield warmup 30 minutes before game time. The provincial final was the best Squirt-level ball game many people had ever seen. The Wadena team committed no errors and team defence was phenomenal, with Moosomin having five line-outs.
The first inning was a pitching duel with Wadena’s Griffen Helberg and the Moosomin pitcher both pitching first-inning shutouts. In the second inning, Moosomin took the lead 3-2. However, the third inning tipped the game in Wadena’s favour. The local boys scored the maximum number of runs, five, and took a 7-5 lead after three. Two home runs, one by Helberg and a grand slam by first baseman Brett Fogg, opened the doors for Wadena’s first lead. The fourth inning was scoreless and featured more great defence. Catcher Josh Ochitwa was a steady presence all weekend behind the plate, and Carter Peterson at shortstop had the play of the weekend. After making a diving line-out snag, Peterson got up to his knees and threw out a runner who had led off, thinking the ball was going up the middle; this led to a double play. With Fogg at first, the boys were always able to throw with confidence as he didn’t miss anything thrown to him.
With a 7-5 lead after five, Koby Faubert came in to close out the game. In the fifth, Wadena scored two runs and Moosomin one, giving Wadena a 9-6 lead with two innings remaining. In the sixth, Faubert threw a four-pitch inning and Wadena scored one more to lead 10-6 heading to the last inning. With Moosomin up to bat, they scored a quick run to make the score 10-7 before a ground out to the pitcher and a ground out to second, which left the huge Wadena fan base on its feet as one more out would lead to a provincial title.
Faubert struck out the batter in five pitches and started the celebration. With a 10-7 final, the Wadena Wildcats had successfully defended their provincial championship.
The team was coached by Darin Faubert, Elden Helberg, Gerard Fogg and Derek Ochitwa.
Submitted by Darin Faubert