Whalley’s Little League baseball team has won the provincial championship, but this is where the road ends for the squad of 11- and 12-year-olds.
The boys won the B.C. title on home turf July 30, with a 10-4 victory over Layritz at Orest Springenatic Field.
The Little League provincial tournament was played in Whalley from July 24 to 30, with the host team representing District 3. The other teams were from Jericho, Langley, Highlands, Layritz and Trout Lake.
The COVID-19 pandemic has cancelled plans for the Canadian Little League championships for 2021 and, ultimately, a potential return for Whalley to the Little League World Series.
Whalley last earned a trip to Williamsport, PA, in the summer of 2018.
This year’s provincial finals games were livestreamed on Whalley Little League’s Facebook page.
During the tournament, Whalley manager Mark Deshane was given the Martha Dubroy Volunteer of the Year award for District 3.
For all involved, the team’s condensed schedule meant some hard work to host provincials.
“We didn’t know we were having tournaments in the summer, with the PHO (public health order) in place in the spring,” Deshane recalled.
“We had practices only for a long time. Our games started May 29 and then the season was extended until the end of June. Everyone did a lot of heavy lifting to get this tournament off the ground – the league and all the volunteers, parents, everyone.
“This was their World Series – that’s what the motto was going in, because we knew that we couldn’t go any further.”
The 2021 Whalley team roster includes Anjo Razon, Randon Gauthier, Dylan Klatt, Harris Williamson, Jonathan Pietraroia, Leo Gamma, Levi Delipper, Magnus Kluth, Marco Morais, Mikail Vuksan, Mylan Mingo, Ryder Isfeld and Zack Kluth. Mark Deshane managed the team with the help of coaches Eric Kluth and Carson Isfeld.