A heart breaking playoff defeat can take a long time to overcome.
That time can also feel like an eternity if you aren’t even old enough to drive a car.
After a slow start to their season, the Lacombe Dodgers rebounded and had rounded right into form by the time they hosted the Bantam AA Tier 3 Provincials.
“At the beginning of the year, we kind of started off as the underdogs because we lost a few players to the AAA program,” said Tanya Bast, the tournament director. “We weren’t that strong at the beginning but coming on to the end of the year the boys picked it up and started to gel as a team.”
In addition to facing off against four of the best teams from Central Alberta, the Dodgers had to contend with the rather objectionable weather in Lacombe.
“We kind of worked through the adverse weather,” said Bast. “We started playing our game against Calgary on Saturday night but we had had to stop because of the lightning and thunder and had to finish on Sunday.”
The Dodgers opened the tournament with a 10-3 victory over the Red Deer Braves. They followed up that game with what may have been the teams premier performance of the season when they mercied the top seeded North Peace Hurricanes 19-7.
“North Peace Hurricanes came in first overall,” said Bast. “They were the team to beat. The Dodgers really came out to play that game.”
The Dodgers would then begin the aforementioned game against the Calgary Cubs on Saturday evening before finishing the 21-15 extra-inning thriller the following day.
Lacombe looked to be on their way to the finals during their game against the Northeast North Stars but Lady Luck was not on their side.
“Lacombe was winning in the bottom of the seventh with two outs and two strikes and then Northeast hit a little blooper into left field and ended up winning 8-7,” said Bast.
Northeast would end up losing to North Peace 15-8 in the final.
Despite the rough weather, officials say participants enjoyed the tournament.
“We got a lot of great feedback from the other teams,” said Bast. “Despite the adversity with the weather, they said it was one of the best provincials they have been to. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun.”
While the Dodgers expect to lose a few players to AAA prior to next season, the team believes that they have some young guns on the way who can possible bring the team to the next level.
“We are definitely going to lose three players to midget next year and maybe a few to AAA, but we are going to get some really strong players from peewee as well,” said Bast.