Pitching was a problem for much of the season, but when it mattered most, the Langley Senior Blaze hurlers came up huge.
The Blaze captured the B.C. senior men’s provincial baseball championship on Monday afternoon at Kamloops’ Hillside Stadium with a 3-2 victory over the Coquitlam Angels.
The win capped off a spectacular weekend for the ball club as they went 5-0 and allowed just three runs combined.
Langley’s pitchers threw two no-hitters and a one-hitter along the way and allowed runs in just two of the 33 innings.
“Our pitching let us down most of the year,” admitted Langley coach Dave Diachuk.
“We just stuck to our process. We knew we had a good team and just kept going at it and it came together at the right time.”
The Blaze were just 3-9 during the Pacific Metro Baseball League regular season — and 15-20 overall before provincials — but beat the 6-6 Burnaby Bulldogs in the playoffs to join the 9-3 Coquitlam Angels at the B.C. championships.
And at provincials, Langley found their game.
It began with a pair of no-hitters the first two days — 3-0 over the defending provincial champion Kamloops Sun Devils and 10-0 over the Prince George Greys.
Shane Kraemer tossed the first gem with Ryan Eiswerth doing the honours in game two.
Jordan Broatch was up next, going the distance in a 6-1 win over the Nanaimo Coalminers.
And that set up a semifinal game against Coquitlam with Jesse Peters allowing just a first-inning single in a 2-0 win.
The Angels won their do-or-die game to advance to face Langley in Monday’s final — and would have to beat the Blaze twice since it was a double knockout format — and quickly plated two runs in the top of the first off Kraemer.
But the lefty settled down and Langley scored three runs in the third as Peters hit an RBI single, Keenan Chanin scored on error and Scott Webster belted an RBI double.
Kraemer did escape a bases-loaded jam in the fifth and then two runners on in the sixth.
Peters came on in the seventh for the one-two-three inning and the save.
Kraemer was named the top pitcher as well as most valuable player at provincials.
“I don’t want to disrespect our opponents or anything, but we played phenomenal baseball,” he said.
The left-hander from Chilliwack also served as the Blaze’s pitching coach this season.
“Our pitching was just phenomenal,” he said about a staff that issued just seven walks over the five games.
“He has been the guy who has been trying to sort out the pitching staff,” Diachuk said about Kraemer.
“We tried a lot of things and he has done a great job. He just kicked it up a whole bunch of notches.”
With the victory, the Blaze qualified for next summer’s Canadian national championships in New Brunswick.
Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week
Langley Blaze pitcher Shane Kraemer was all smiles walking off the field at Kamloops’ Hillside Stadium during the B.C. senior men’s provincial baseball championships. Kraemer threw a no-hitter in his first start and then was on the mound in the gold medal game as Langley defeated Coquitlam 3-2. Kraemer was named the top pitcher and most valuable player.