It just wasn’t their weekend.
The London Badger lost 8-2 to British Columbia (North Delta Blue Jays) in the bronze-medal game of the Baseball Canada U18 National Championship Sunday evening at Labatt Park.
The blowout loss capped three days of frustration for the Badgers, who went into the tournament as the two-time defending champions.
“It’s more frustrating for the players, because I know they were trying their hardest and they were swinging the bats and nothing was falling in,” said Badgers head coach Mike Lumley after the bronze-medal loss.
“We’ve won two out of three (national championships). It’s not like you are going to win every year. It’s not like the effort level wasn’t there. They worked their butts off. . . . It just didn’t work out.”
The Badgers led 1-0, going into the sixth inning Sunday, but Caleb Cassie sparked a four-run B.C. rally with a hard-hit double off the right-field wall that scored Sean Heppner from first base to tie the game at 1-1.
BC took a 2-1 lead when London starter Ben Hubert walked Sean Browne with two out and the bases loaded. Johnny Wilson made it 4-1 B.C., driving in two runs with a single on Hubert’s 86th pitch of the game.
Anthony Polowick came in to relieve Hubert, who allowed nine hits through 5 2/3 inning, but North Delta would add four more runs in the seventh.
Lumley said the Badgers came into the tournament loose and ready to play.
“They were having a little fun so they could enjoy their moment,” he said. “They came prepared. You’d like for (the senior players) to end their time with the Badgers with a championship under their belt. . . . But most of them are going off to school somewhere to start a new chapter in their baseball careers.”
Catcher Ian-Michel Lavigne hit a lead-off double to spark a five-run fourth-inning to pace Quebec to a 6-1 win over London in their semifinal earlier Sunday afternoon.
The Badgers opened the tournament with a 4-2 win over Ontario (Etobicoke) Thursday night, but lost 7-6 to Quebec Friday night, despite a three-run London rally in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Saturday started well for the Badgers with a 12-4 win over Saskatchewan, but a 4-1 afternoon loss to New Brunswick sent them to a third game Saturday night — a 5-0 win over Manitoba.
Quebec defeated Ontario 8-2 in the gold-medal game, which was suspended by rain in the fifth inning with Quebec ahead 8-0 Sunday night at Labatt Park. The two teams completed the game Monday afternoon.
Ontario beat British Columbia 3-1 in their semifinal Sunday afternoon at Aldridge Field.