The U14 'A' Prince Albert Astros will be in Lloydminster, Alta., this weekend to defend their Western Canadian championship. Defeating the Warman Panthers in their provincial final on July 13, the Astros will meet the Saskatchewan rival yet again at the Legion Ball Park in Lloydminster, as they take on a field of four other teams from British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Alberta. Submitted photo
After successfully defending their provincial title, the U14 ‘A’ Prince Albert Astros will look to keep their Western Canadian crown on their collective head in Lloydminster, Alta., this weekend.
Defeating the Warman Panthers in their provincial final on July 13, the Astros will meet the Saskatchewan rival yet again at the Legion Ball Park in Lloydminster, as they take on a field of four other teams from British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Alberta.
Astros coach Derek Smith said that with entering the tournament as defending champs, he expects the other teams, especially their rivals from Warman, to come at them in full force.
“Every game is going to be a tough one,” Smith said while en route to Lloydminster on Thursday. “Everyone is going to be coming up hard against us.”
The Astros will kick things off on Friday with their opening tilt against Warman at 9 a.m. as round-robin play wraps up on Sunday.
The top four teams from round-robin play will advance to the playoffs with the championship game schedule for Monday at 1 p.m.
Riding the momentum of a provincial title, Smith said the Astros’ game plan has changed very little since their thrilling 4-2 victory over the Panthers at Prime Minsters’ Park to claim a second consecutive championship.
“We’ve got three to four pitchers that can throw at anytime,” he said. “Again, we look for our sticks to come alive and score some runs and provide some support for our throwers.”
When asked who some of the tougher squads the Astros will be up against this weekend, Smith pointed to the host Irma Tigers and the Napanee Express, coming all the way from Ontario.
Hailing from a small town nestled between Belleville and Kingston, Ont., the Express blasted through a 22-team tournament to qualify for Westerns.
Also competing in the tournament are 100 Mile House and the Pimicikamak Thunder.
Smith said the Astros will just look for a positive start against Warman and keep things going from there.
“It’s be a first big game for us,” he said of the Astros opening match. “We look to ride the provincial title, keep our hitting and pitching up and get off to a 1-0 start.”