The Beaumont Angels continued their hot play on a hot day in Bardo, entering and winning the annual pilgrimage to the hallowed Bardo Recreation Association Grounds, in their first shot at the trophy.
A glorious Saturday afternoon with a light breeze welcomed the four teams, the Armena Royals, Beaumont, Camrose Roadrunners and host Bardo Athletics. Bardo played Armena in the opener while Beaumont and Camrose would square off in the other semi final.
Bardo Day Scores
Semifinal: Armena 10 – Bardo 5
Semifinal: Beaumont 25 – Camrose 2
B Final: Bardo 10 – Camrose 0
A Final: Beaumont 7 – Armena 4
Both Bardo and Armena sent out their fifth-string pitchers and team organizers, Craig Neufeld and Jason Buzzell respectively. After some early struggles the teams settled in for a sloppy early-morning tilt that had its share of highlights. One being a grand-slam off the bat of long-time Royals Joel Boettger, who managed to get out to his first game of the season, blasting a double off the fence earlier and notching five RBI in the game. The cushion helped Armena lead the rest of the way enroute to a 10-5 win.
Beaumont then brought out their bats in the second game of the tourney with a shortend 25-2 affair over the Roadrunners. Multiple ground-rule doubles filled the slew in left field as the Angels earned the right to play Armena in the 5:30 final.
Bardo pie was being consumed at a high rate before Camrose and Bardo re-entered the playing field for the B Final at 2 p.m. The host A’s would bring back a blast from the past on the hill with Ray Lehman starting and Mike LeClaire finishing, bringing this author a nostalgic moment as Bardo Days usually does. The game remained tight through the first three innings as Roadrunner Cody Sroka mixed and matched to stay within 3-0. Sroka would leave after three, and the A’s would later break things open in the fourth before notching the game-ending tenth run in the bottom of the fifth.
That set the stage for the finale as Armena sent workhorse Ian Sherbaniuk back to the hill on just three days rest after beating Bardo on Tuesday. Beaumont countered with Denis Leblanc. Both teams exchanged runs through the first three frames. Tied 2-2 after four, and up 5-2 after five, the visiting Angels scored two on a two-run blooper to left off the bat of LeBlanc that fell in past the outstretched arms of left fielder Cody Sroka, who was filling in on his old team once again in a tournament.
It wasn’t until the final two frames the Royals started to get to the starter Leblanc, notching six hits and loading the bases twice for two runs. But Leblanc got a game-ending strikeout for the 7-4 win with the bases juiced and Boettger on deck to win the title.
Championship Line Score
It marked the third time in modern Bardo Day history, a team that attended their first Bardo Day won the tournament. Spring Lake in the early 2000s, Leduc in the late 2000s and now Beaumont. Bardo’s baseball father Ken Stauffer noted it in a post-game news conference.
“Isn’t it funny how that happens?” Stauffer pondered, as he consoled a dejected Buzzell, still in search of a Bardo Day title since winning with Armena in 2005. “Of course you want to win…but it doesn’t always work that way.”