Elmwood Giants ‘drive for five’ still alive in playoffs


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With the Manitoba Junior Baseball League regular season wrapped up, the Elmwood Giants’ drive-for-five was still alive heading into playoffs.

Elmwood, which has won the provincial title for the past four years in a row, finished the regular season on top of the eight-team league, going 21-3. Defence and pitching were key to the team’s success.

“That’s what we stress every year,” manager Ed Kulyk said. “But our one through nine batting order was solid. There was not a weak spot on the roster.”

On July 18, the Giants started a best-of-three round playoff series against the bottom-seeded Interlake Blue Jays. Elmwood won the opening game 10-9.

“It was a nail-biter, but a win,” Kulyk said. “We had one bad inning and they scored seven.”

The deciding game on July 20, however, was anything but a nail-biter, with Elmwood earning a commanding 10-0 win.

“We wanted to make a statement after the first game there,” Kulyk said. “We were ready to win it early and we got moved to a different diamond. We hit the ball well and they ran out of pitching quick.”

The best-of-three semifinal round started on July 23, though results and match-ups were not available at press time.

“If we play defence the way we can and we have consistent pitching, we should compete well,” Kulyk said. “Best of three, anything can happen. The final, best of five, again anything can happen. Good defence, great pitching, timely hitting is what we’ll need.”

Should Elmwood emerge victorious to defend the junior baseball title, a best-of-five series championship series will begin on July 27, with games daily as needed through July 31. Following the finals, Elmwood will travel to Halifax, N.S., to represent Manitoba at the national championship tournament.

Meanwhile, St. Boniface Legionaires finished in fourth place with a 14-10 record. The Legionaires took on the Carillon Sultans in the first round of the playoffs. St. Boniface won the opening match 5-2, but Carillon rallied on July 21 to win 7-2. Results of the deciding game on July 22 were not available at press time.

Sheldon Birnie

Sheldon Birnie
Community Journalist

Sheldon Birnie is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. The author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in journals and online platforms across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. A husband and father of two young children, Sheldon enjoys playing guitar and rec hockey when he can find the time. Email him at sheldon.birnie@canstarnews.com Call him at 204-697-7112

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