The Sarnia Braves Rookie Select Team advanced to the River League Year End Tournament with a record good enough to put them into the Tough "A" Pool along with the tough teams from Wallaceburg, Dresden, Wyoming and their nemesis from Alvinston that had manhandled Sarnia in both league meetings during the Season, making for a tough Challenge for the Rookie Select youngsters for sure.
Friday night they played the Dresden A Squad, and definitely felt the jitters of Playoff action, as they were soundly beaten 14-4.
Saturday Morning, facing elimination and facing a tough Wallaceburg team, Sarnia started to click, and dominated with a 12-0 win.
In an Afternoon match, Sarnia faced the Dresden B Squad, and won 10-7, which set them up for a Sunday Morning battle against the Alvinston 1 team, and a possible berth in the Championship Game.
The Sarnia kids showed true teamwork in a huge 6-3 win over the previously undefeated (in both League and Tournament play) Alvinston 1 team. The defensive skill was on display as play after play looked routine to the Braves Infielders, and the Power hitting Alvinston squad was unable to catch the outfielders off guard as every player swallowed up every ball hit their way.
As there was then 3 teams left all holding 1 loss, a blind draw was used to determine the team that would receive a bye into the finals. Sarnia was drawn, and a spot in the finals was secured!
Alvinston 1 managed to win the semi-final game, and set-up another meeting between the two clubs for the Championship.
The Championship Final was a back and forth affair. Sarnia jumped out to an early lead in the first inning, but Alvinston fought back and was up by 3 going into the 5th inning. Sarnia scored 4 runs in the 6th to take a 1 run lead heading into the bottom of 6th inning. Alvinston had bases loaded with no outs, and through stellar defense up the middle, was able to get out of that inning allowing only 1 run, neither team scored in the 7th inning, although Alvinston had bases loaded again with less than 2 outs, but Sarnia got out of that inning unscathed, setting up an extra innings affair.
Sarnia was bitten by a bang-bang double play in the top of the 8th inning, and had to try to hold onto the tie in the bottom of the 8th. Alvinston again had bases loaded with less than 2 outs, but the Sarnia Team was resilient and managed to get the next batter out. With Alvinston down to their last pitch, they managed to squeak a seeing-eye single up the middle for the 11-10 victory.
The Sarnia Braves Rookie Select team had a VERY fun and successful season of Ball that included a tournament championship in the 2013 Rookie Select Invitation on July 20th, and a 2nd place finish in the River League Year End Tournament