SURREY — Tears were shed when the Surrey Storm U14B girls fastpitch team took home gold in the Western Canadian championships in North Battleford, Saskatchewan earlier this month.
“They even had the parents crying,” said team manager John Murphy, who was ecstatic to watch the team win on Aug. 7, the B.C. Day holiday.
“We were representing B.C. here. We got a gold for B.C…. The pinnacle is to win the Western Canadians, and we did that,” he added.
Murphy said he was especially proud because as a “B” team, they knocked off “A” teams to win the title.
The Surrey team flew out of Abbotsford to Saskatchewan and played two games Friday (Aug. 4), two Saturday and two Sunday, followed by playoffs on Monday.
The teens were undefeated 6-0 in round robin play. “The Storm dominated,” Murphy said.
They beat eight teams to take the top spot: South Delta Invaders, Sherwood Park Storm (AB), Lloydminster Liners (AB), Westman Magic (MB), Manitoba Thunder (MB), Unity (SK), Alameda Supernova (SK), Battleford Bandits (SK).
On Friday, Aug. 4, Storm topped Manitoba Magic with a 14-1 win followed by a 8-1 victory over Saskatchewan Unity. Storm continued to persevere with wins over Sherwood Park (8-4) and tourney host Battleford Bandits (6-0) on Saturday. Sunday saw the Storm take Manitoba Thunder (10-3) and Alameda Supernovas (11-9).
Playoff action began Sunday evening when Storm handed Lloydminster Liners a 2-1 loss in overtime after a “nail-biting, scoreless” seven innings. The Storm were down 1-0 at the top of the eighth, with bases loaded and two out, when Lauren Rawson of the Storm belted a walk-off triple to right field, allowing Erin Murphy to tie and Elleka Jope to come in for the winning run.
The win ensured the Storm a place in the gold-medal game.
In the golden game on Monday, the Storm defeated Lloydminster 4-3 in seven innings.
Erin Murphy of the Surrey team went three-for-three at the plate and led the team in hitting with a .480 average over the course of the tournament.
Lauren Rawson led the team with nine RBI’s in eight games, including some clutch at-bats in the final three games.
Combined with solid defensive play and outstanding pitching from Joely Ma, Katie McMillan and Shae Sever, the Storm dominated.
Alyssa Lane provided crucial coverage in right field, making all three outs in the fifth inning topped off by an amazing diving catch to start off the inning.
McMillan pitched lights-out in the final four innings to secure gold for the Storm. Joely Ma and Shae Sever pitched a combined 30-plus innings during the tourney, giving up only three unearned runs. Sever pitched 24 strikeouts, Ma 15 and McMillan 18.
But the weekend action surprisingly didn’t end with the gold-medal win.
Ironically, Murphy explained, the Storm girls got delayed by a storm when rushing to get to the airport after the final game.
“A thunder storm rolled through,” said Murphy. “We started driving from Battleford to Saskatoon and everyone was pulling over because of the storm. But we had to get to the airport.”
The storm ended up delaying their flight and they were forced to wait for it to blow over in Saskatoon.
“Then we boarded our flight, got deplaned, then got on and eventually home after midnight on the morning of Aug. 8,” said Murphy.
They were happy to be greeted by friends and family who had made signs to celebrate their success, he added.
“This is something the girls are going to cherish for the rest of their lives,” said Murphy.
This is the second time in three years the Surrey Storm’s U14B has taken the Western Canadian Championship. In 2015, coach Cassidy Smyrski led that team to victory.
Other Surrey Storm teams are also celebrating recent successes.
The Senior Storm Women took the provincial senior A championship at Softball City in South Surrey, and Storm’s 96B team — which is mentored by younger coaches Taylor Herdman, Breanna Parks and Sabrina Mikl — won silver in a Junior B tourney in Richmond.
Meantime, three local teams are in Brampton, Ontario for the U14A national championship, beginning Aug. 11, and they include Surrey Storm 2003A, Delta Heat 2003 and Fraser Valley Fusion 03.
Girls interested in playing competitive softball are invited to attend a pre-tryout session with the Storm association on Aug. 22 and 23 at Sullivan Park, located at 15399 62A Ave.
The Storm also host a summer camp from Aug. 28 to 31 at Sullivan Park, presented by Leah Riske and Sara Hopwood (a former Team Canada player).
The Storm Association will be holding their official tryouts Sept. 5 to 8.
For more information, visit surreystorm.com.