No one could stop Brandon Hutt on the mound or at the plate Sunday evening.
The Estevan Haulers defeated the Melfort Brewers 9-5 in the final of the provincial bantam AA championship to win the banner on home turf, fuelled by a dominant outing from Hutt.
The Tribune native struck out 11 batters in five and two-thirds innings, allowing two runs on three hits. At the dish, he hit 4-for-4 with four runs batted in, including a booming three-run homer in the sixth inning that broke the game open.
"I saw the second pitch coming inside and I thought, 'might as well swing at it,' so I just hit it and it felt golden off the bat," said Hutt.
The taste of victory didn't come without some harrowing moments in the seventh inning, as Melfort scored three runs on reliever Preston Hutt and was threatening to add more when the final out came on a steal attempt at third base.
The Haulers had gotten on the board in the third inning with four runs. They allowed two in the bottom of the inning, but added to their lead from there.
Estevan had advanced to the final with an 8-3 win over Swift Current in the semifinals Sunday morning.
The team now heads to the Western Canadian championship in Morden, Man., Aug. 16-20.
Meanwhile, the peewee Tornados put in a valiant effort but lost 4-3 to the powerhouse Lloydminster Twins in their semifinal Sunday morning.
A win would have been considered a massive upset, but the Tornados pushed the Twins to the final out, scoring their third run in the sixth and final inning. They still had a runner on third base with one out, but the next two hitters struck out.
The Tornados nearly took the lead in the fifth inning when, down 4-2, Colton Schell hit a liner to right field. with the bases loaded and two outs. A spectacular diving catch robbed the Tornados of two runs and possibly three.
The Muenster Red Sox blanked Lloydminster 3-0 in the peewee AA title on the strength of a stellar pitching performance and two solo home runs.
Estevan Minor Baseball volunteers were at the diamonds as early as 6 a.m. Sunday working on the fields after Saturday's heavy rainfall. Only one bantam diamond and one peewee diamond were useable, so the schedule changed, with one semi on each side running at 10 a.m., followed by the second semis at 1 p.m. The peewee final was at 4 and the bantam final was at 5:30.
See Wednesday's edition of the Mercury for full coverage of both provincial tournaments.