The Lethbridge Lumberjacks took a few final practice swings Tuesday night, last-minute prep before heading to Ontario.
The squad is one of six teams competing at the 2022 Canadian Intermediate Baseball Championship.
“Pretty nervous,” pitcher Carter Bevans said ahead of the trip. “We’ve faced one of the teams there before, just don’t know about the other ones yet.”
“It’s excitement, a little bit of nerves,” said catcher/third baseman Andrew Puszkar.
The team made the tournament after beating Medicine Hat in a three-game series last weekend.
Assistant coach Travis Oberg says the Lumberjacks faced some adversity in the final before punching their ticket to Ottawa.
“We took a tough Game 1 loss and the boys really dug deep and came back with a 16-10 win and then a 9-3 win,” Oberg said.
Now the Lumberjacks will face squads from across the country, beginning with a matchup Thursday against North Regina, who they beat twice earlier this season.
If they find themselves among the top-four teams after a five-game round robin, they’ll advance to the elimination round.
“Little League puts on great national championships and I think that experience itself will carry them for years,” Oberg said. “it’s a memory they’ll get to have — to be able to say they were the team and get to go this year for Alberta.”
After a couple of seasons marred by COVID-19, the players are ready for the chance to test themselves against some of the best teams from B.C., Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec.
“I’m excited to see what the competition is like there and just looking forward to seeing some really good pitchers, trying to hit against them,” said left fielder Braeden Gaskell.
And preparing to enjoy their moment on the national stage.
“You know we want to win, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Puszkar said.
“You want to have fun and remember it.”
The tournament winner will represent Canada at the Intermediate World Series in California next month.