Last year they came close; this year, they went all the way.
The Muenster Mosquito Red Sox baseball team claimed the A2 Provincial Championship on July 22, after a weekend-long four-team tournament held in Muenster.
One of three Muenster ball teams to win Provincials that day, the Mosquitos claimed theirs after a great second final against the Macklin Lakers.
Muenster started out the tournament strongly, beating the Dinsmore Dynamos 18-0 in three and a half innings on July 20.
“Dinsmore struggled,” said Muenster coach Joel Taphorn.
The Red Sox took on the Unity Cardinals in their second game of the tournament the morning of July 21.
That was a game Taphorn described as a “barnburner.”
“It was a tough game,” he said.
In the fourth inning, it was 3-0 for Unity. Then Muenster got six runs at the top of the fifth, and three more at the top of the sixth.
“We had no hits until the fourth inning,” he said.
Still, the game ended with Muenster up 9-4.
They played Macklin, the other undefeated team so far in the round robin, on Saturday evening.
By the third inning, Macklin was up 5-1 over Muenster. But then the skies opened up, the rain fell, and the game was suspended until morning.
The next day, after the field was cleaned up, Muenster seemed to come out with some renewed focus.
Because both teams’ starting pitchers were over their pitch count for the game, Muenster’s pitching depth also came into play.
“It helped us,” Taphorn said, that they had more than one good pitcher on their team.
When the first two Muenster pitches resulted in a strikeout, and a play on that second pitch resulted in another Macklin player out at second, things started turning around for the Red Sox, Taphorn said.
“Then our kids were up. They started hitting, and we came back to beat them 9-5.”
Muenster took on Macklin again in the first game of the final. The Red Sox had lost 3-1 in Provincials the year before; this year, they lost their first game 3-2 to Macklin.
“It was a great game,” Taphorn said, despite the loss.
Each team made just one error, and pitching and defence were both fantastic, he noted.
But one loss did not equal a championship loss for Muenster this year.
Because they had finished the round robin undefeated, Macklin would have had to beat them twice to win it.
And though the second final was a close one — the score was 2-1 for Macklin at the top of the second — Muenster came out on top of a 5-2 final score.
The quality of ball played by the Mosquitos at the tournament was something that made their coaches proud.
They made six double plays just in Sunday’s games, Taphorn said, which is pretty impressive for Mosquito-level baseball.
In the last game, Muenster’s pitcher, Matt McGrath, threw 69 pitches for a complete game — something else unusual for Mosquito ball.
“Macklin played fantastic. Their defence was very good,” he said. “But we had some hitting and pitching left,” he added, which made the difference in the second final.