For the first time since 2008, the Canora Supers have captured the Southeast Senior Baseball League title. The Supers left no doubt as to the identity of the top team, outscoring the opposition by an overall total of 49 to 10 in five games played during the semifinal and final series.
In the finals Canora defeated the Langenburg Legends, the defending league champions, in three straight games in the best of five series, said Greg Andreychuk, player-manger.
In the deciding game on August 1 in Canora, Andreychuk handed the ball to Kody Rock, who pitched his third victory of the playoffs.
“He threw the complete game once again in a 10 to 1 win,” said Andreychuk. “Rock allowed just one run on two hits with ten strikeouts in another masterpiece.”
The game was sailing along with little offense until the bottom of the third when the Supers exploded for six runs, highlighted by a Logan Parachoniak three-run home run to give the team some much needed breathing room.
“Three more runs were scored by the Supers in the fifth, including Travis Mentanko's home run in his fourth consecutive game to put a cap on a dominant playoff streak for the big first baseman,” said Andreychuk. “Phil Sobkow had a three-game home run streak as well, while the team hit 13 in five playoff games which is truly remarkable.”
Game two took place on July 30 in Langenburg.
The Supers proved to be just as dangerous on the road, as the hot bats carried on right from the start of the game, said Andreychuk.
“Sean Kolodziejski deposited the first pitch of the game over the right center field fence to start the scoring,” said Andreychuk. “Three batters later Phil Sobkow hit a three-run homer and the Supers never looked back in a convincing victory. Travis Mentanko added to the air show, hitting a three run shot over the right field fence in the top of the second to extend the lead to 7 to 1.”
Langenburg made the game interesting in the bottom of the fourth by getting to within three runs, trailing by 8 to 5 heading into the fifth. But the Supers pushed two across in the sixth and three in the seventh to put the game out of reach.
“Sean Kolodziejski had four hits to lead the offence on this night,” said Andreychuk. “Logan Parachoniak and Kholton Shewchuk had three each, while Travis Mentanko, Kody Rock, and Phil Sobkow had two hits apiece. Ian Quewezance and Jordan Evans contributed one hit each.
“Kholton Shewchuk pitched the first four innings for the Supers to record the win, while Derek Palagian tossed the final three to get the save.”
Andreychuk said the Legends made a number of costly mistakes, including five errors in the field and a couple of base running miscues, which rarely happens.
Since the Supers finished first in the regular season standings, game one took place at Al Sapieha Field in Canora on July 29.
The Legends drew first blood in the top of the second inning, but from that point on it was all Supers in a dominant 14 to 1 win, said Andreychuk.
Kody Rock started on the hill and went the full seven innings to pick up the win. He allowed just one run on two hits with ten strikeouts
“The offence was in peak form to begin the series with five home runs, including two by Rock,” said Andreychuk. “Travis Mentanko, Phil Sobkow, and Sean Kolodziejski hit a home run each. The Legends intentionally walked Rock twice to get to Mentanko. The first time was successful as Mentanko was put out, but the second time around Mentanko made them pay with a grand slam.”
Rock contributed four runs batted in. Evan Rostotski, Logan Parachoniak, Kholton Shewchuk and Ian Quewezance had one hit each.
Andreychuk said it’s very gratifying to be the Southeast Senior Baseball League champions.
“I have been in this league since 1996, and with the Supers since 1999 and have had the pleasure of winning titles in 1999, 2008 and this year,” he said. “It is not an easy task to accomplish but when it happens it is awesome. I have also been on the losing end in the final series six times, so I know the opposite feeling.”
Andreychuk said the Supers had always been a competitive team in recent years, but the championship always seemed to be just out of reach.
“We always seemed to be missing a piece or two from the puzzle,” he said. “Adding a player such as Kody Rock added several pieces to the puzzle including a go-to pitcher, a great shortstop and huge bat. We got that all in one with one player.”
Andreychuk said Ian Quewezance was an important addition in 2018 to fill the shortstop position and add a big bat to the middle of the lineup.
“Sean Kolodziejski returned last season to stabilize the catcher position and give us a great leadoff hitter. This year we added a huge bat in Jordan Evans from Yorkton to make us even more dangerous. Among the 49 runs we scored in five playoff games were a total of 13 home runs. The fielding was solid, and the pitching led by Rock, Shewchuk and Palagian was lights out.”
A number of players from the Canora U18 Reds joined the Supers throughout the season for games when the team was short of players on a couple of occasions. Andreychuk gave those players the opportunity to be in uniform for the championship-clinching game.
Those players were Clay Sleeva, Brendan Babichuk, Grady Wolkowski, Brendon Landstad and Brody Harrison. Jett Stechyshyn from the Parkland Expos was in uniform as well. His eligibility in the U18 division is complete so next year if he is in the area he will be welcome to the Supers.
“I wanted them to experience being a part of a championship-calibre team first hand, so being in uniform for the playoffs was a great experience for them,” explained Andreychuk. “It likely would have been better if the series was closer and we had some adversity to overcome. Nonetheless they were a part of it and hopefully will stick with baseball and be a part of our team going forward once their Reds days are over. For a senior baseball team to continue operating you simply have to incorporate younger players into the program every year. Otherwise the well will dry up.”
In addition to the players, Andreychuk said there were many other important contributors to the success of the Supers during the 2019 championship season.
“Mike Spelay provided another year of dedication as the public address announcer. He truly makes Supers games much more professional and a better overall experience.
“Aaron Herriges and the Town of Canora kept the field in good shape throughout the season.
“Terry Wilson, coach of the U18 Canora Reds, provided us with players from his team when we needed them. The future is bright in Canora as minor baseball is thriving.
“The fan support this season was the best it has ever been. The crowds at games were the largest in decades. It is not cheap to run a team. In most years player fees take up most of the team expenses. In 2019 the support from the fans with the game day silver collection paid for the majority of the expenses. We can not thank everyone enough for their generosity.”
“We will be hungry to come back next year to defend our title and hope to put out another championship calibre team next year and for years to come,” concluded Andreychuk.