White Rock may have won the B.C. Little League major division championship this past weekend in Hollywood Park, but Beacon Hill Little League’s head coach Tak Niketas said the kids played hard and were undeterred after falling short of finals.
White Rock, Niketas said, is an advanced team, making the 6-1 loss for Beacon Hill in the semi-finals not much of a surprise. White Rock will head to the Canadian Little League Championships in Medicine Hat early thsi month.
As for Beacon Hill, Niketas said it’s enough the team made it to the semifinals, despite hoping to win the championship and move on to nationals.
“I was really proud of the kids,” he said. “Sure, it’s always sad to not make it into the finals in our own park, but all in all it was quite the success.”
In the semifinals last weekend, New Westminster beat Highlands from the North Shore 9-7. After White Rock outscored Beacon Hill, the team moved on to defeat New Westminster in the final game 11-0.
It took heroics for 11- and 12-year-old players to reach the semifinals, Niketas added.
At first, the Beacon Hill players were upset by their loss to White Rock, but after a few encouraging words by coach Niketas, the spirit of the game was revived.
“I told them there’s always going to be a winner and a loser,” Niketas said. “Sports and life marry each other. Your successes in life are the same on the baseball diamond. You move on and you try to get better at what you want to get better at.”
Hosting provincials in his own Hollywood Park was a highlight of the retiring coach’s career. After years of renovations, the park also received plenty of compliments during the championships. This weekend marked the last of Niketas’ coaching days.
“It’s bittersweet,” Niketas said. “I love coaching but there comes a time when you think, how much longer am I going to do this for?” He hopes to pass the torch down to a younger coach who can carry on Beacon Hill Little League’s success.
“I want to thank all the people, all the families and all the kids that I’ve coached over the years,” he said. Leaving with the message he gave his players during the semifinals, and the one he has followed during all the years of his own coaching, he said, “If you don’t put any time into anything, nothing comes out of it. Put in the time.”