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Smith family integral to 15U Legal Legends claiming first provincial title

Third generation of the family are now provincial champions
The Legal Legends are 15U A Tier 2 provincial champions following an 18-8 win over the South West Edmonton Baseball Association July 23, the first championship title for the club. The Legends had a heavy Westlock contingent as Eric Smith and his family all played roles on the Legal-base team. L-R: assistant coach Ross Smith, players Jaxson and Marcus Smith, and head coach Eric Smith.

WESTLOCK — Westlock County’s Smith family, well-known locally in the sport of baseball, were integral to the 15U Legal Legends claiming their first provincial championship title July 23.

The Legends lived up to their name after downing the South West Edmonton Baseball Association (SWEBA) 18-8 at the 15U A Tier 2 Provincial Baseball Championships in Edmonton. After finishing the Edmonton Rural and Recreational Baseball League (ERRBL) regular season playoffs in second place, the club, coached by Eric Smith, entered the 18-team provincial championships, which took place over three weekends — July 7-9, July 14-17 and July 21-23 in different cities.

Following the first two weekends, the remaining six teams were then divided into three tiers for the championship. Going into that weekend, the Legends were ranked 13th and knew they would face some tough competition, like the fourth-placed SWEBA team who they eventually beat for the gold.

“Everything clicked. Our starting pitcher struggled to find the strike zone early in that game and had to overcome a thumb injury, but everybody was able to find their bats and contributed. It was a total team win,” said Smith. “It was the perfect ending to the season. I couldn’t be more proud of the kids and how they came together.”

This year’s provincials was a family affair for Smith, a former Westlock bantam baseball provincial champion with back-to-back wins in 1996 and 1997, who was joined by his two sons, Jaxson and Marcus, and his father Ross, who pitched in as an assistant coach and won a bantam provincial title back in 1968. 

In addition, Smith’s nephew Nathan Day from Westlock and friend Shawn Walsh were assistant coaches, with Walsh’s wife Adel was the team’s manager and their two boys Jace and Clay were on the team, while daughter Brynn was bat girl.

Smith said having several family members on the team was special and is a memory they will always cherish.

“I think it is super unique, but I think in the sport of baseball that’s just one of those stories that happens, and we’re excited to be a part of it,” said Smith. “I’m super proud of the boys and the team and that they were able to pull it off. There’s lots of times you’ll go to championship games, but to have the opportunity to actually win one is rare.”

Smith noted the team’s strong defensive play, resilience and perseverance over the three weeks was on display through some “must-win” games, like their 12-1 victory over Leduc followed by a come-from-behind 18-15 semifinal victory over Thorsby.

“There were moments in each game and even moments in the games that we lost where we were making good plays,” said Smith. “In any sport you’re going to make mistakes, but we just accepted what that was.”

Kristine Jean,

Kristine Jean

About the Author: Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean joined the Westlock News as a reporter in February 2022. She has worked as a multimedia journalist for several publications in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and enjoys covering community news, breaking news, sports and arts.
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