The Estevan TS&M Tornados were massive underdogs, but they pushed the Lloydminster Twins to the final out anyway.
A 4-3 loss to the Twins in the semifinals eliminated the Tornados from the peewee AA provincials Sunday morning at Cactus Park.
But the Tornados retired knowing they had given a tournament favourite everything they could handle.
"I don't think a lot of people expected us to make it to the semifinal at all," said head coach Landon Lafrentz. "The amount of work these boys put in this weekend was just tremendous and I couldn't be more proud of them."
The Tornados had two considerable opportunities to take the lead.
In the top of the fifth inning, after surrendering two runs in the fourth to fall behind 4-1, the club scored one run and still had the bases loaded with two outs.
Colton Schell smacked a hard fly ball to right field, but the ball was met with a spectacular diving catch to end the inning.
"That was a freak play. That was probably a three-run hit if he would've dropped that," said Lafrentz. "That could've been the game because I have all the faith in the world that Brett (MacMurchy) would've shut those guys down in the bottom of the sixth."
Then in the top of the sixth, MacMurchy singled in a run to get the Tornados within one. They still had runners on second and third with only one down, but the next two batters struck out to end the game.
"They were warriors out there. This is a tough team. Lloyd was a really tough team. We fought through and we made it real close. They brought their ace in at the end. That showed that they weren't clowning around," said Lafrentz.
Lloydminster went on to lose 3-0 to the Muenster Red Sox in the final, getting shut down by strong pitching and giving up two solo home runs.
Lafrentz pointed out that "anything can happen" at provincials; for instance, the Weyburn Beavers, who finished first in the Regina AAA league, went winless on the weekend.
"I'm just really impressed with the team as a whole, how far we came, how well we hit the ball this weekend in contrast to a lot of the tournaments we went to throughout the year. Provincials has always been the weekend of the upset and we were able to do it this weekend," he said.
The Tornados went 2-1 in the round-robin to finish second in Pool A. They edged Swift Current 7-6 in Friday's opener, walking it off when Shae Little scored on a passed ball.
They then smoked Martensville 24-6 Saturday morning before putting up a goose egg in a 17-0 loss to Muenster.
Sunday's playoff portion of the two provincial tournaments was in question after a brief but torrential downpour hit the area on Saturday night. Estevan Minor Baseball volunteers were at Cactus Park as early as 6 a.m. on Sunday to work on the diamonds.
Only one bantam diamond and one peewee diamond were useable, which altered the schedule.
"I knew as soon as we were getting rain (Saturday) night that I had to set the alarm clock and get down here," said Estevan Minor Baseball president Kent Phillips.
"Luckily we have a great group of volunteers and they worked their butts off to get these two diamonds ready so we could play."