Team effort guides A's to second title in three years

Lehman adds yet another chapter in his storied PBL career

July 29 by Buzzilinear

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R
Bardo Athletics 0 0 1 4 0 0 1 6
Camrose Roadrunners 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 3

It took almost 30 years for the Bardo Athletics to break through and end a mythical curse. Now the titles are coming in bunches.

The A’s edged the Camrose Roadrunners Thursday night in the deciding third game of the Powerline Baseball League Championship, 6-3, at Harry Andreassen Field, and this one feels just as good as 2006, said Bardo veteran Mike LeClaire.

“This one is very special,” a jubilant LeClaire said, just after arriving at the Bardo Recreation Association Grounds to celebrate. “It is a little different (without the pressure of the curse), but we were able to hit the Ofrims, and we won it on a different field, and everyone got to play. It was a total team effort.”

So cliché, yet that’s what it has to be for a team like Bardo to win. They don’t really have any dominant players, but they’re scrappy and they play hard. Camrose, meanwhile, was left wondering what might have been after a terrific regular season and a solid playoff run.

It just wasn’t enough.

“They were down,” Roadrunner manager Larry Lewsaw said. “They were kind of sad not to be able to finish off what was a very good season.”

But the Roadrunners played a solid game three – nothing to be ashamed of.

Ray was the story. He pitched the whole game and was pretty much in control the whole time, which I’ve seen him do a time or two in the past. - Larry Lewsaw

With the game tied 1-1 in the bottom of the third inning it looked like they would grab a one-run lead. Instead, in what truly was the turning point in the game, left-fielder Craig Neufeld fired a strike to home to gun down Camrose’s Steve Ofrim at home plate. Then Bardo cashed in for a big fourth inning and never looked back.

“That was the difference,” Lewsaw said of the fourth frame. “It was a combination of a few hits, and a couple of errors. It wasn’t like they had any real big (offensive plays).”

It was enough to propel Bardo to a 5-1 lead. A lead they wouldn’t relinquish, and a game that Bardo’s Ray Lehman can add to his lengthy repertoire of heroic performances.

Lehman, who is mentioned fondly by old Ryley Rebel fans for hitting home runs off scoreboards, playing with a fractured ankle and winning championships, made quick work of the Roadrunners’ side in three separate innings. He scattered nine hits for the win. He then battled through the final out after getting his ankle stepped on during a controversial play at first.

LeClaire said Lehman couldn’t even walk after the game. Just another story to tell the grandkids about the “Legend.”

“That guy is awesome,” LeClaire said. “It’s unbelievable, he’s amazing.”

Even Lewsaw admitted although a couple errors hurt the Roadrunners, and they managed to get hits off Lehman, it was the veteran’s star-studded performance that help clinch it for Bardo.

“Ray was the story,” Lewsaw said. “He pitched the whole game and was pretty much in control the whole time, which I’ve seen him do a time or two in the past.”

Although Lehman had a special night, it was still the play of multiple Athletics that would nail down the 6-3 win. The team even elected to play four players who had sat out the first six innings to get everyone in the game. It’s the Bardo way, LeClaire said.

“Everybody on the team got to play (and contribute),” he said. “If we don’t have a team effort, than we don’t usually win.”

Return to the site for possible follow-ups and pictures from Bardo's celebration.