Local softball teams dominated the competition at national championships across the country last weekend, winning titles from Victoria to Montreal.
Three teams – the Delta Heat ’97, White Rock Renegades ’97 and the Surrey Storm – finished first through third at U18 Women’s Canadian Fastpitch Championships, sweeping the podium at the, 21-team tournament.
Meanwhile, in Calgary, the White Rock Renegades ’99 captured national crown, and the Surrey Storm 2001A completed an undefeated run through playoffs by winning a U14 Canadian title in Victoria.
In Montreal, Delta Heat ’97 edged the White Rock Renegades ’97 Sunday afternoon in the championship game to win the gold medal, just hours after eliminating the Surrey Storm in a bronze medal game. The Renegades, unbeaten until Sunday, were awarded silver.
“There’s a lot of good coaches and all the girls definitely work very hard at it because they love the game,” said Heat coach Steve Couper of the B.C. sweep of the medals.
The Heat ’97 topped the White Rock Renegades 5-3 in an entertaining championship game that saw the lead change hands three times and the teams combine for 21 hits.
“I give the Heat a lot of credit, they played very well,” said Renegades head coach Mark Dunlop. “But there were a couple of hits there that were Texas Leaguers, they were just dropping in. We just didn’t get the bounces today.”
The Heat took a quick 1-0 lead when Taylor Woodward singled to lead off the game, scoring on a Renegades error.
White Rock came back in the bottom half of the inning, scoring twice with two out. Chelsea Hotner scored on a Sophia Gray single, and one batter later, Abbey Fortin’s hit to the Delta outfield was mishandled allowing River Johnson to score from second base.
The 2-1 Renegades lead lasted until the fourth inning. The Heat had four hits, including an RBI single by Rae Samuelson to tie the game. A Renegades error allowed Jordan-Britten Yung to put Delta up 3-2.
The Heat committed a pair of infield errors in the fifth inning, the first allowing Taylor Uyeno to get on base, the second permitting her to score.
Three more Delta hits in the sixth inning scored the winning and insurance runs.
The Renegades handed the Heat their lone loss Saturday night, the 2-0 win sending White Rock directly to Sunday’s championship game. Each team had five hits, with the Renegades getting three of theirs in the bottom of the first inning to score the game’s only two runs. An RBI single by Johnson and a sacrifice fly by Abbey Fortin that scored Shaelyn Ogilvie gave the Renegades all the offence they needed. Wright pitched a shutout with five strikeouts.
The Storm were overwhelmed by the Heat in Sunday’s semifinal, outhit 15-1 over five innings in an 8-0 loss.
For Ted Birdsall’s White Rock Renegades team, the third time was the charm.
Sunday in Calgary, the Renegades ’99 won their first national title in three attempts, defeating Ontario’s Guelph Gators 6-5 in the championship game.
White Rock – which competed at peewee nationals in 2013 and at bantam nationals as first-year players last year – needed extra innings to close out the Gators, winning the game in the 11th inning when Tori Peterson – who reached base on an error – scored on a single from Hailey Lemon.
The win over Guelph was White Rock’s second in as many days, having beat the Ontario squad Saturday – a victory that sent the Renegades directly into the finals, while relegating the Gators to the consolation bracket, from which they clawed back into the title game after a string of wins Sunday.
Storm roll to title
The Surrey Storm 2001A captured the Canadian U14 championship Sunday, after a 2-1 extra-innings win over Delta Heat 2001.
The Storm – who won a provincial title last month, without losing a game – stayed perfect at nationals, which were held in Victoria Aug. 5-9.
Surrey rolled through the round-robin portion of the tournament with six straight victories, then tallied playoff victories over Ontario’s Waterloo Ghosts, 10-5, and the host Victoria Devils, 7-0, before squaring off against Delta in the final.
In the title game, Surrey took a slim 1-0 lead into the seventh inning, but the Heat tied the game on a Storm error, sending the game to extra innings. In the ninth, Surrey’s Rachel Drewitt led off with a single, and then with two outs, a single from Kianna Jones scored Drewitt to win the game.
“It was a great way to end a pretty magical year for us,” Storm head coach Mark Riske said. “We’re really thrilled.”
– With files from Nick Greenizan