The Sylvan Lake Midget AA Mariners are playing for the Tier III provincial championship on home turf this weekend.

It will be a five-team tournament at Four Seasons Park and will include teams from Blackfalds, Fort Saskatchewan, Sherwood Park and Marwayne.

“We get to show off the great talent that we have here and we have a really nice ball diamond that we worked quite hard at to make sure we get it to a competitive level of play,” said Pat Garritty, Mariners assistant coach.

“Any time you’re playing at a provincial tournament anything can happen and we’re looking forward to that opportunity.”

The Mariners have 13 players on their roster, coming from Sylvan Lake, Rimbey and Blackfalds.

Garritty said they will have 11 available and that smart management of the team’s pitching will be crucial during the tournament, as Baseball Alberta requires mandatory rest days depending on how many pitches a player has thrown.

“It’s there to protect players’ arms and we believe in it and we abide by it but it doesn’t make it any easier,” he said.

“It’s tough in a tournament like this where you have to play four round robin games and potentially a tiebreaker and a final. It’d be a nice problem to have, mind you, but because of Baseball Alberta’s pitch count, it’s very difficult and very cerebral to get through a tournament like this.”

The Mariners kick off action Friday at 9 a.m. against the Blackfalds Pirates. They play again that day at 6 p.m. versus Fort Saskatchewan. Games are free to watch.

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