They were so close to a provincial title, they could almost taste it. But it was not meant to be.
The Marysburg Royals senior baseball team competed at the Saskatchewan Senior AA championship tournament in Yorkton August 4-5.
And while they had an excellent tournament overall, “we came up just short,” said Royal Curtis Strueby.
In their first game, they took on the Lloydminster Twins in a rematch of last year’s final.
“We knew we were going to have to be sharp as we were seeing their ace on the mound,” Strueby said.
Royal Dean Jaeb was up for the challenge and pitched a fantastic game, holding Lloydminster to only three runs, just two of them earned.
Marysburg was down 3-0 in the bottom of the fifth when they exploded, gaining six runs on the strength of a Brent Puetz home run.
The final score was 6-3 for the Royals.
In their next game, they faced the Saskatoon Stallions.
Colin Bauml started on the mound and although he was injured and not 100 per cent, “he sucked it up for us and pitched a solid four and a third innings,” Strueby reported.
Josh Cote then came in for the Royals and got the 10-9 win.
This was a very close game that saw the lead change five times. It was tied going into the bottom of the seventh when Royal Braden Bauml hit the game-winning single (his third single of the game) to seal the win for Marysburg.
Brent Puetz hit a home run in the win and Cole Bauml and Kyle Yarksie also had two hits.
In their next game, the Royals played the Holdfast Trappers and won by a score of 4-2.
Paul Strueby pitched the complete game for the win and Braden Bauml and Brent Puetz paced the offence with a home run each. Shaun Strueby also had two hits in the victory. This left us 3-0 and in first place in our pool.
Marysburg then took on the Saskatoon Outlaws, who had finished second in their pool, in the semi final.
The Royals started Bevan Ledingham on the mound and played solid defence behind him. Only one error was made.
The Outlaws capitalized on the error and scored three unearned runs after that, but Ledingham worked hard and kept the Outlaw bats in check as the Royals managed to score a bunch of runs, capitalizing on a couple of Outlaw mistakes.
The final score was 11-6, with Curtis Strueby leading the way with three hits for the Royals.
This moved Marysburg into the final against the Holdfast Trappers who had defeated the Saskatoon Diggers to advance.
“It was a very well played game, however, unfortunately for us, this time it had a different result, as we lost by a score of 4-2,” Strueby said.
Mathew Strueby pitched a fantastic complete game to take the hard luck loss. Braden Bauml hit a two run home run to pace the offence but that’s all the Royals could score.
Though their provincial run ended with a loss in the final, “we can’t hang our heads,” Strueby said. “We played well right until the end. I think the difference in the final was we just didn’t get the hit to score a run or two like we had all weekend.We faced a pretty good pitcher who kept us a little off balance after the first inning.
“We had a fantastic weekend, we just couldn’t quite do it in the end.”
The Royals have nothing to be ashamed of though.
“If we played them again, we might beat them 4-2. It was that close. They were a good team and just happened to be a little better than us on that day.”
They also didn’t stack their team with newcomers for the tournament.
With the exception of two players — a catcher from the Smoking Guns, they got on their roster as an injury replacement for Jordan Gerwing, and a pitcher from the Saskatoon Blue Jays — the Royals went with their own team and competed hard.
“That is something that we can be very proud of. I know for a fact the guys are already looking forward to playing for that provincial title again next year,” Strueby said.
In league action, the Royals played the Saskatoon Stallions August 7 in their second-to-last league game and won by a score of 11-7.
With the win, they finally clinched the league pennant for finishing first overall.