Winkler wins Mosquito AA championship

From top left to bottom right: Coach Herman Peters, coach Kevin Penner, Mark Schefer, Caleb Fast, Heidi Wiens, Carter Nikkel, Diego Hildebrand, Daniel Wilson, Bryson Penner, Ryan Peters, Haiden Friesen, Graham Thiessen, Jackson Friesen, Caleb Pauls, Ricky Friesen.

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The only thing Winkler’s 11U AA baseball team lost last weekend was the championship final coin toss.

Winkler captured the 11U AA provincial championship, going undefeated over the weekend. They defeated North Winnipeg 4-0 in the final in Morden Sunday, July 15.

“The kids said I should call heads and we lost,” said coach Herman Peters, laughing.

The team cruised through Friday’s games, defeating Bonivital 8-4 and Souris 14-1.

Saturday posed some challenges.

Scoreless through the full six-innings, they notched one run and kept Steinbach off the board to win 1-0.

Coaches Herman Peters and Kevin Penner talk strategy with the team between innings.

“In extra innings you start with runners on first and second with none out,” said Peters. “We were able to hold them from scoring.”

“That was a really big game to keep us rolling.”

The drama wasn’t over.

Saturday evening saw stormy skies open, causing a weather delay. They only got through three innings, needing to return Sunday morning to finish.

“They had based loaded, two outs, and that’s how we went to bed,” said Peters. “And their number three hitter was up.”

“Ryan (Peters) got it at shortstop and ended the inning right there.”

“There were some dramatic moments for sure.”

The undefeated round robin earned the team the number one ranking going into the playoffs. That earned them a bye through the quarter final. Peters says that proved valuable in the championship run.

Jackson Friesen pitches in Winkler’s 1-0 win over Steinbach Saturday, July 14 in Morden.

“Pitch counts are so important,” he said. “When we’re managing the pitch counts for all our kids, not having to throw an extra player or two in a quarter final helped a lot.”

This time, they dropped Steinbach 6-1, without requiring extra innings to reach the final.

Choosing heads in the coin toss was really the only mistake the team made in the gold medal game.

Batting first, they jumped to an early 2-0 lead in the second, and shut North Winnipeg down.

Graham Thiessen put the exclamation point on the tournament with a two-run home run in the fourth.

“The kids played really well,” said Peters. “They just kept rolling.”

Peters said the weekend was a full team effort.

“We had enough pitching and enough depth to step up and get it done.”