The senior AA men's baseball provincials kick off in Thompson tomorrow and local players warmed up with a couple of games this past week as the Thompson senior baseball league nears the end of its season.
"[On Monday] night the Matechuk's Dropkick Murphys beat the Boston Pizza Reds in a well-played ball games," said provincial tournament convenor Red Sangster on Tuesday. The Reds were set to take on the Bankside Billiards Cubs that evening. "The Reds still lead the league by nine points. There's only a few more games left in the league and of course the big weekend is the AA provincial playoffs starting Aug. 4."
The opening ceremonies for the playoffs will take place about 15 minutes prior to play getting underway at noon at both the Red Sangster ball diamond and the adjacent field. Six teams from around the province, including one representing Thompson, will play for the right to represent Manitoba at the Western Canadian senior baseball championships in Winnipeg Aug. 23-26.
"This championship will test the skills of the best senior AA players from our province," said Baseball Manitoba president Ken Sharpe in his message to tournament participants and spectators. "These athletes involved in the tournament have spent the whole summer preparing for this opportunity and the payoff will be some of the most exciting baseball played in Manitoba this year."
Sharpe also acknowledged the players weren't the only ones who spent the summer preparing.
"I know the Thompson organizing committee has spent countless hours to make sure the diamonds are in the best possible condition along with all the other details involved with ensuring the tournament is the best it can be," he said. "The combination of top athletes, coaches, officials and grounds will provide a memorable event for everyone involved."
He also encouraged those attending the tournament to get out and see as much of Thompson as possible while enjoying the tournament.
Sangster wished everyone involved good luck and told spectators to prepare to see some good baseball.
"Enjoy yourself, we'll see you all at the ball games," he said.