The U12 and U14 ‘A’ Prince Albert Astros will both be looking to defend their provincial title this weekend at Prime Ministers Park.
Both Prince Albert softball squads will square off in provincial action with the U12 boys getting going on Friday followed by the U14 team on Saturday.
Taking on a pool of three teams from Deslisle and Warman, the U14 Astros get going on Saturday with their opening round-robin tilt against the Warman Panthers at 12:30 p.m. followed by a meeting with the Deslisle Diamonds Dogs at 6:30 p.m.
With a strong pitching staff and potent offence, U14 Astros coach Derek Smith is confident his squad will defend their provincial title after going undefeated against the Panthers and Diamond Dogs this season.
“We stack up well,” Smith said. “We have four pitchers who can throw the ball pretty hard. Anyone of them can step in and throw a good game.”
All three teams will advance to the championship round with the No. 1 team receiving a bye to the final game, scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday.
The second and third seeded teams will face off on Sunday at 10 a.m.
The top two teams from the U14 tournament will advance to the 2014 Western Canadian Championship in Lloydminster on Aug. 1-4.
“Our bats are key,” Smith added. “We hit the ball well and do things right most of the time. We’ve played a lot of games this year, played together as a team for three years so the guys are familiar with one another. We have a good chance to repeat as provincial champions.”
On the U12 side, the Astros will take on a pool of four other teams from Warman, Saskatoon and Deslisle, as they kick off round-robin play against the Panthers on Friday at 10:30 a.m. before they take on the Diamond Dogs at 2:30 p.m.
The U12 Astros will conclude round-robin play on Saturday against the Saskatoon Phantoms at 10 a.m. and the Saskatoon Eagles at 4 p.m.
The top four teams from round-robin play will advance to the championship round, which kicks off on Sunday at 9 a.m. with the big game scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
Smith said that the pair of Astros squads competing over the weekend will look to emulate the success of their Bantam affiliate, who struck provincial gold last week against the Saskatoon Selects.
“It will be a great weekend of ball in Prince Albert,” Smith said. “We look to continue the boy’s dominance and bring home another championship.”
A total of seven Prince Albert softball teams competed for provincial championships last weekend, including the Bantam 'A' Astros, who were victorious in a best-of-five series over the Selects.
So far this season, Bantam ‘A’ Astros, the Prince Albert girl’s Bantam ‘A’ Aces and the girl’s U12 ‘A’ Aces have won provincial titles.