Senior Sultans preparing for playoffs
by CASSIDY DANKOCHIK
Jared Esau likes where his team is at.
The player/coach of the Carillon Sultans was fresh off splitting a doubleheader with the league-leading West Winnipeg Athletics, and is looking forward to the playoffs, even if he doesn’t know what team they’ll be facing in the first round.
“The ball has just been fun,” Esau said on the 2022 season.
“We’ve all been having a great time, and plus we’re staring to play really good now.”
The top tier in the Winnipeg Senior Baseball League (WSBL) includes West Winnipeg, Carillon, the Stonewall Blue Jays and the Elmwood Giants. Carillon will play either the Giants or Athletics in the first round of the playoffs. This is only the second year this version of the Carillon Sultans have played senior baseball.
Carillon’s record of 12-8 has them sitting ahead of Stonewall in the standings, but with the Blue Jays only a half-game back, the end of the season could still provide a dramatic finish in the top tier.
In the past 10 games, the Sultans have a record of 6-4, scoring over six runs per game.
It was a rough first 5-inning game for Carillon in the first game of the day Aug. 7, as their bats fell silent in a 6-1 loss.
After falling behind 3-0 in the top of the third in the second game, the Sultan offense came alive, nearly batting around and scoring five runs to take the lead. Carillon followed up with two more runs in the bottom of the fourth to clinch a 7-3 victory. It was West Winnipeg’s third loss of the year.
“That’s very encouraging, especially going into playoffs,” Esau said of the split.
Either way, the Sultans will be playing a team higher than them in the standings in a three-game series in the first round.
“We feel pretty confident against both of those teams,” Esau said, referring to Elmwood and West Winnipeg.
“They have better records than us, but we’ve shown we can play with both of them. Plus, our bats are really heating up. We’re playing really good ball. It’s fun to see.”
Not only did Carillon split their double-header with West Winnipeg, but they also defeated Elmwood 7-0 in their most recent matchup.
It’s been a challenging season for the WSBL, with early season rainouts causing the entire season schedule to be pushed back.
The final regular season game for the Sultans will be played at A.D. Penner Park, when the team hosts the Springfield Senior Braves. The first round of the WSBL playoffs is set to begin Aug. 15, and after the first round is completed, Elmwood will be heading to Nationals in Nova Scotia.