Opening Day has come and gone with some great baseball action and some off field drama as the Powerline Baseball League kicked off the 2019 season on Saturday afternoon. Home teams extended the winning streak on the first day of the season to nine games dating back to the 2017 season.
Leduc Milleteers – 0
Tofield Braves – 12
The Braves would need only five innings to pick up their first win of the season, handily defeating the Leduc Milleteers 12-0 infront of the home town fans. Veteran PBLer Ray Lehman got the opening day start for the Braves, throwing three innings before turning the ball over to Corey Epp and newcomer to the Braves, Ryan Mehler to close out the game. The trio would hold the Milleteers to only three (or four) hits on the afternoon and limiting Leduc’s at bats with runners in scoring position and only allowign three walks. Sean Melanson would collect the game winning run in the first inning when he would drive in two runs on a triple into the two man Milleteers outfield (it was reported that the Milleteers started the game with only eight players). Rob Berrecloth and Lehman would cross the plate before Melanson would score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Dane McCarty in the very next at bat. The Braves would add two more in the second and one in the third before scoring six in the bottom of the fourth inning including a two RBI double to centre field from Josh McDonald. Long time PBLer Rob Gillire made his return to the ball field to make a nice play at first base for an out as well as getting hit by a pitch in his first game back. The Milleteers lineup on Opening Day was very different than the lineup to close out the playoffs last year as Steven Pahl, Del Kruk, Alex McIntosh, Jon Anstey and Kirk Smith were all absent.
Sherwood Park Athletics – 7
Armena Royals – 19
The defending champs won by two field goals on Opening Day against the Sherwood Park Athletics. No information was available about the game.
Edmonton Expos – 2
Rosalind Athletics – 5
Young lefty Carter McDonald earned the win for the A’s as they knocked off the Edmonton Expos to extend their winning streak on Opening Day to six games (2015 vs Bardo Athletics 10-2, 2016 vs Bardo Athletics 5-2, 2017 vs Tofield Braves 5-3, 2018 vs Sherwood Park Athletics 11-4). It was reported that Matt Enright had a game changing double that helped pave the way for the A’s to start 2019 with a win.
Camrose Axemen – 0
Holden Blue Jays – 7
The most surprising, and disappointing, game of Opening Day occurred between the Holden Blue Jays and Camrose Axemen. Earlier in the day the Axemen informed the Blue Jays they would not be able to field a team for the game due to roster availablity issues. The news shocked the league as the Holden Blue Jays were expecting a large crowd on Opening Day as the two teams were scheduled to play in Vegreville, a location that the Jays are hoping to build a fan base and relocate to for the 2020 season. While forfeits or teams agreeing to reschedule a game due to a lack of players isn’t uncommon, it is always disappointing for the league to have happen.
Home Teams Recently On Opening Day
For all you betting fans out there, since 2001, a span of 19 seasons, the only PBL Champion to play on Opening Day and not win their game was the 2011 Leduc Milleteers. Perhaps the 2007 Camrose Roadrunners are also in that group as the game schedule is no longer available online. Here is a look at the PBL Champions, and who they played on Opening Day in the season that they won the Championship.
2001: Ryley Brewers (beat Armena Royals 5-1 on Opening Day)
2002: Armena Royals (Opening Day was PPD, but beat Ryley Rebels 18-6 in their first game)
2003: Armena Axemen (beat Chipman Crackerjacks 2-0 on Opening Day)
2004: Armena Axemen (beat Camrose Roadrunners 8-6 on Opening Day)
2005: Camrose Colts (beat Ardrossan Steelers 7-4 on Opening Day)
2006: Bardo Athletics (Opening Day was PPD, lost to the Ryley Brewers 6-1 in their first game)
2007: Camrose Roadrunners (Schedule Unavailable)
2008: Bardo Athletics (beat Tofield Lakers 18-11 on Opening Day)
2009: Leduc Milleteers (beat Ryley Rebels 2-0 on Opening Day)
2010: Leduc Milleteers (beat Armena Royals 6-0 on Opening Day)
2011: Leduc Milleteers (lost to the Holden Blue Jays 5-4 on Opening Day)
2012: Leduc Milleteers (beat Holden Blue Jays 9-0 on Opening Day)
2013: Leduc Milleteers (beat Holden Blue Jays 5-2 on Opening Day)
2014: Ryley Rebels (beat Bardo Athletics 13-7 on Opening Day)
2015: Armena Royals (beat Leduc Milleteers 10-1 on Opening Day)
2016: Rosalind Athletics (beat Bardo Athletics 5-2 on Opening Day)
2017: Rosalind Athletics (beat Tofield Braves 5-3 on Opening Day)
2018: Armena Royals (beat Leduc Milleteers 9-2 on Opening Day)
2019: Armena Royals? Holden Blue Jays? Rosalind Athletics? Tofield Braves?