Dominance on the diamond for NACI Tigers



The Zone Seven fast pitch champions, the NACI Tigers

By Eoin Devereux

The Neepawa Banner/Neepawa Press

A pair of dominant performances on the diamond this week have earned the Neepawa Area Collegiate Institute (NACI) Tigers one championship banner and a realistic chance at securing another.

On Tuesday, May 24, the girls fast pitch team followed up its perfect regular season record with a 16-5 victory over the Carberry Cougars in the Zone Seven final. The boys baseball squad meanwhile, blanked the MacGregor Mustangs 10-0 in the semi-final, which was also played on Tuesday, to move on to the championship game against the William Morton Warriors. 

In the girl’s game, Emily Dobson picked up the win for NACI, while teammate Marissa Crook notched an inside the park home run in the third inning. Coach Curt Allen said the team has played phenomenally throughout the season and is looking forward to seeing what they can do at the provincial championship, set for June 3-4 in Morden.

“The team can enjoy this victory. They earned it with their excellent play all season. But they’ll have to refocus quickly for provincials, because it’ll be tough. The competition is very strong. Every team has several quality players on the roster. I hope we’re competitive. Our pitching has been strong and our fielding has continued to improve as the season has moved along. So I think we’ll be okay,” noted Allen.


NACI pitcher Emily Dobson.

In the boys semi-final showdown, Cole Krutkewich picked up the win, as the starting pitcher for NACI. Coach Mike Krutkewich said Cole was going into this game with only a few days rest, but the coaching staff was confident he’d be able to battle through.

“We started Cole [Krutkewich] on the mound. He’d had a lot of success against MacGregor previously. Pitched a complete game [in Austin on May, 19]. It was a bit of a risk. He’s probably our ace in the hole, but at the same time, because he threw just a few days ago and you don’t want to risk wearing out the arm. We pulled him from the mound early to save him for the final. The rest of our pitching staff is strong and has been consistent all season though, so it wasn’t a concern,” said Krutkewich.

Other performances of note, included Neepawa’s Ryan Kostenchuk going 4-for-4 at the plate, for one run and a 2-for-4 night, with a pair of runs for Bryan Todoruk. Krutkewich said the entire team came through with some clutch hitting and consistent fielding.

The Tigers will next face the William Morton Warriors in the Zone Seven Championship game. That game was played after the Banner’s publication deadline had passed, so the results will appear in the Wednesday, June 1 edition of the Neepawa Press. Heading into that showdown, the Warriors had defeated the Tigers twice during the regular season, but in a pair of very close games. Krutkewich said it’s going to be a really difficult challenge for NACI, but it’s one he believes the team is ready for.

“It’ll be a good game. Definitely a tough challenge. [William Morton] is a talented team, but I think we’ve improved as the season has progressed and we are ready to face this challenge,” said Krutkewich.

NACI-Tigers Baseball

Nick Kuharski at the plate for the Neepawa Tigers.