June 18th, 2024

Jets resilient during pandemic

By Dale Woodard on June 16, 2021.

Vauxhall Academy of Baseball Jets head coach Les McTavish was happy to get his young team out to play against an opponent after so much time away from the field due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They got just that with a pair of exhibition games against the Lethbridge Bulls Saturday and Sunday at Spitz Stadium as the Bulls gear up for their Western Canadian Baseball League regular season starting Friday against the Okotoks Dawg.

The Jets won a wild 16-14 decision Saturday before the Bulls squeezed out a 5-4 win Sunday with a run in the bottom of the ninth.

“It turned out we had two competitive games,” said McTavish. “There was lots of energy and anxious moments. I think they missed in the 13 months the opportunity to go out and compete against somebody else. I’m pretty happy and I know our guys should be proud of themselves. They’re a younger group and I’m happy with how they came out and competed.”

All of Vauxhall’s seniors have committed to college scholarships,” said McTavish. “So we’re pretty happy about that. We have a little more local content. We have Kalem Haney, Shaye McTavish, David Stewart and Jaxon Filipenko. So that’s nice to have some southern Alberta connection. It’s a great group, it’s one of the best groups of young men we’ve had. When you start thinking about trying to work your way through a pandemic, we couldn’t have asked for a better group of young kids to help us through such a tough time.”

McTavish tipped his hat to this team for how they handled the COVID pandemic of the past year.

“They live in a residence, so they’ve had the opportunity to be around each other. It’s been a challenge, I can’t say it hasn’t, but they handled it great. Teenagers are resilient. There have been days where I’m sure they were ready to lose their minds, but they’ve handled it great and our residence staff has been good. Our leadership group, our players and captains, did a really good job of keeping things on the rails because it’s really easy to get off the rails. I’m proud of them and hopefully we’re seeing light at the end of the tunnel.”

Vauxhall will host the Bulls on Saturday for their Graduation Game and will return to Spitz Stadium June 21 for the Tanner Craswell/Mitch MacLean Memorial Game June 21.

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