Competition fierce for junior baseball crown
The crack of the bats, the glow of the big lights, and the thrill of the grass are once again filling baseball diamonds around Winnipeg.
On May 14, the Manitoba Junior Baseball League opened the regular season with a round of double-headers. Defending champs the Elmwood Giants split wins with the Pembina Valley Orioles, while the St. James A’s doubled up on Ws against the Carillon Sultans. St. James notched another 3-1 win on May 17 against the Interlake Blue Jays to take an early undefeated season lead on the standings, with a +19 run differential at press time.
While St. James is off to a hot start this year, Elmwood are looking to make history as they try to win a sixth straight league championship. But the other clubs aren’t going to sit back and let “the Evil Empire” retain the title without a fight.
Since 2014, Elmwood has won seven championships, and appeared in the final each year but one. Top challenger to the Giants’ dynasty in recent years has been the St. James A’s, who have not only battled the Giants throughout the regular season but have taken Elmwood on in the finals without success in 2022 and 2018. In 2017, St. James defeated Elmwood for the title.
Not to be outdone, St. Boniface Legionnaires also challenged Elmwood in the final in 2019 and 2014, as did Winnipeg South in 2016. Altona (2020) and Pembina Valley (2021) also made it as far as the finals before losing the championship to the Giants, while Altona won the 2015 title, defeating Winnipeg South in the final.