The Carlyle Cardinals capped an undefeated season in the Saskota Baseball League by capturing the league's year-end championship Harbourne Tournament for the second consecutive year.
Carlyle defeated the upstart Arcola Threshers 5-0 in the tournament final July 22 at Kenosee Lake. The Cardinals went 5-0 at the tournament, and coupled with their 11-0-2 mark in the regular season, it means that Carlyle was 16-0-2 against their Saskota foes this year.
Carlyle opened the tournament with a 9-0 win over Arcola. Then they defeated the Estevan Tower Wolves 7-2 and Lampman Pirates 10-6 to finish the round-robin with a 3-0 record.
The Cardinals shut out one of their top rivals, the Kenosee Cubs, 5-0 in the semi-final, and then beat the Threshers in the final.
"I think the biggest thing is we played good defence all weekend, and the bats were alive when we needed them to be," said the Cardinals' David Lemieux.
Carlyle entered the tournament as a favourite, thanks to their outstanding regular season, but the Threshers appearance in the final came as a surprise. This was their first year in the league, and they had the eighth-best record in the regular season.
But Arcola upset Lampman 4-2 and Estevan 7-0 in the round robin to qualify for the playoffs. Then they defeated the second-seeded Carnduff Astros 3-2 in the semi-final.
"They do have a lot of guys who really enjoyed the season, guys who haven't played in a while," said Lemieux. "They really seemed to come together on the weekend, and after they won their first game … I wasn't that surprised."
Lemieux said there is a great feeling in having an undefeated record this season.
"We didn't really realize it until after that we had done that," said Lemieux. "There are lots of great teams in our league, so that makes it special for us to do."
The Cardinals will now turn their attention to the Senior A provincial championships August 10 to 12 in Lloydminster.
The Carnduff Astros, meanwhile, will host the Senior A2 provincials the same weekend.