For White Rock Renegades coach Chuck Westgard, national softball championships are old hat – after all, he led his old Renegades ’91 team to a Canadian-record four national titles.
But, the veteran coach insists the trip to the Canadian showdown never gets tiresome. Good thing, because he’s headed there again this week with a new team, the bantam-aged White Rock Renegades ’95.
“It never gets old – never. I’m already starting to get pumped up for this one,” said Westgard, Softball BC’s reigning coach of the year, last week.
“We’ve won four times with the ’91s, but this is a different team now, and I know the girls are really excited.”
The 1995-born squad left Monday for Winnipeg, host city for this year’s bantam tournament, which runs Aug. 17-21.
In addition to the Renegades ’95, one other White Rock squad, the Renegades ’97, will also be battling for a national title. The ’97s – coached by Mark Dunlop – also left this week for Vaughan, Ont., where they’ll take part in peewee nationals.
Both teams qualified for Canadian championships after second-place finishes at provincials last month. One Renegade team has already captured a national championship – White Rock’s senior ‘A’ squad won earlier this month in Montreal, to make it two straight senior titles.
Westgard’s group with be the No. 2 B.C. seed – the Delta Heat, who beat the Renegades in the provincial finals, are No. 1. He expects his team will be among three of four teams with a legitimate shot at the title.
Delta, he said, will be a contender, as will two Ontario teams – Ajax and Brantford.
“And we play the two Ontario teams in our first two round-robin games, so we should know how we stack up pretty quick,” Westgard said. “It’ll be a tight tournament, for sure, but we’ll be in the mix.
“I think we stack up well against anybody.”