The home cooking must have agreed with the Elmwood Giants senior men’s baseball team last weekend.
The Giants, hosting the Western Canada Senior AA Baseball Championship at Koskie Field, went undefeated in four round-robin games and the championship final.
Ace pitcher Anthony Friesen threw a complete-game two-hit shutout and left-fielder Brett Schreyer hit a two-run home run as the Giants beat the defending champion Trail (B.C.) Orioles in Sunday’s final.
"Unbelievable," Schreyer said in describing the decisive swing. "Especially in a situation like that. It felt really good to contribute to a win like that."
With a hit-and-run called for, Schreyer swung at the first pitch and watched as it descended over the left-field fence.
"It wasn’t a no-doubter," said the St. Andrews resident, who plays for the Kildonan Mudcats but was added to the Elmwood roster for the tournament.
The Giants found timely similar timely hitting throughout the weekend, but it was their pitching that made the difference. The strong pitching included another solid outing from Friesen, who gave up only one run in a complete game to open the tournament on Thursday against Team Manitoba, a collection of all-stars from the Brandon area.
"We played real good all weekend," said Mark Bullion, the Giants’ playing manager. "Our pitchers were the stars all weekend. We gave up five earned runs in five games."
The Giants were the first team to shut out the squad from B.C. all season, and dealt them a 4-1 defeat on Saturday night to close the round robin and clinch the top spot. If B.C. had won the game on Sunday, a late-afternoon rematch would have been needed to determine the champion.
After finishing second in each of the last two years, the Giants are now guaranteed a spot in next year’s western championship.
"We had a stronger team this year," said Bullion, a Whyte Ridge resident. "We were a little deeper. We’re looking forward to defending it next year. I’m expecting a lot of the guys back."
Elmwood put the finishing touches on a very successful season, winning the provincial championship as well as the westerns.
"We had a bit of a letdown in the league semis," Bullion said. "The guys were a little disappointed about that. But any time you can bring home two championships it’s a good season."