An unstoppable force

Nine members of the P.A. bantam Astros competed at the North American Indigenous Games in Toronto in July. Seven of them won gold in U16 softball and two won bronze in U17 baseball. (Photo courtesy Kevin Preymack)

P.A. bantam Astros prepare for nationals after winning gold at provincials and Indigenous Games

Following gold-medal performances at provincials and the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG), the Prince Albert bantam Astros have their sights set on a national title.

Nine members of the provincial champion Astros recently returned from NAIG in Toronto late last month. Seven players — Darian Bellegarde-Cote, Dawson Cantre, Caden Joanis, Brennon Parenteau, Troy Preymack, Darius Waditaka and Rayden Whitehead — came away with a gold medal in the U16 boys’ softball competition. Astros Eldon Bird and Theo Halkett were cut from the softball team but made it onto the bronze-medal winning U17 boys’ baseball team instead.

“We were going down there to win,” said Astros coach Kevin Preymack, who also coached the U16 Saskatchewan boys’ softball team.

Preymack’s players were successful in their goal. In the group stage the softball team defeated Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario and the Eastern Door and the North Akwesasne Mohawk Nation 8-0, 7-2, 7-0 and 15-0 respectively.

“The first four games we played … our bats weren’t going so we pretty much bunted, played small ball for most of the week and we’d nickel-and-dime our runs,” he said.

“I tell them every inning, ‘Let’s start the fresh inning 0-0, we can’t let up, and keep the pedal down until the game is over.’”

The U16 boys then dispatched Manitoba 7-0 in the semi finals and blanked Ontario 11-0 for the gold medal. In total the provincial softball team outscored its opponents 55-2.

The third-place Saskatchewan baseball team exited the round robin stage with a 1-3 record and fell to Ontario 13-3 in the semifinals. Saskatchewan then narrowly beat Alberta 8-7 to take the bronze.

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