Thursday, 18 Jul 2019

Lethbridge Bisons open Little League Divisional Championships with big win

The Lethbridge Intermediate AAA Bisons may have entered Thursday’s provincial match-up against Medicine Hat as underdogs, but they put on a show for the home crowd in Lethbridge.

It took just five innings for the Bisons to beat Medicine Hat, as they decisively took Game 1 of the Little League Intermediate Divisional Championships by a score of 11-0.

“You know what, honestly it probably couldn’t have gone any better for us,” said Bisons head coach Denny Puszkar.

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“I think that may be the most complete game we’ve had all year.”

A pair of home runs in the first inning gave Lethbridge an early lead, and they just kept adding to it.

“A lot of energy in the first inning really helps,” said Puszkar, “just gets the kids going, [gets them] really into the game; it was a fantastic start.”

Tournament play begins with a round robin between the four competing squads. Lethbridge will face teams from Calgary, Edmonton, and Medicine Hat on their quest for the provincial title.

The winners will go on to represent Alberta at the Canadian Little League Championships next weekend, in Langley, B.C.

The opening game win could come in handy later in the tournament, due to the format.

“How our tournament works is that the two teams that will make the final, their round-robin game counts as Game 1 of the final,” said Puszkar.

“So, if we happen to see Med Hat in the final, this will be Game 1 of that best of three. So it’s a huge win for us.”

The victory is especially sweet because the Bisons entered Thursday dreading the match-up with their Game 1 opponents.

“We didn’t beat them the last three or four times we played them,” said second baseman Tristan Oriold. “So, it was fun to beat them by a lot this time.”

“We hit the ball a lot,” smiled Oriold.

The Bisons will continue their hunt for that provincial title — and a berth in the Canadian Little League Championships — as they close out the round robin Friday. The best-of-three championship series will go Saturday and Sunday, if needed.

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