The White Rock Renegades have two more national podium finishes to add to their organization’s impressive resume.
On Saturday, the Renegades ’97 – a first-year midget team – placed third at U18 Women’s Fastpitch Canadian Championships Saturday in Saskatoon.
And closer to home, at Softball City in South Surrey, the Renegades 2000 finished second at the U14 Girls Fastpitch Jamboree, losing to Manitoba’s Smitty’s Terminators 5-1 in the final.
In Saskatoon, the midget ’Gades dropped from gold-medal contention after a 4-2 semifinal loss to the Delta Heat ’97s on the final day of competition. The game was White Rock’s second of the day.
With the victory, the ’97-born Heat advanced to the final, where they faced off against some familiar foes – the Delta Heat ’96. The older squad earned the national title with a 7-5 win.
“That’s a pretty good result for a first-year team,” said Renegades association president Greg Timm. “We’re super proud of those girls.”
For the Renegades – who were the No. 1 B.C. seed heading into the tournament after winning provincials last month over the Heat ’96 – the loss in semifinals ended an impressive run through the tournament’s playoff rounds.
After finishing 4-0 in pool play, the Renegades reeled off playoff victories over the Quebec Rebelles, 9-2, Thursday afternoon, and followed up Friday with two more lopsided wins, first against the Missisauga Tigers (11-0) and then the Barrie Storm (10-0).
On Saturday morning, the ’Gades lost their first game since round-robin action, falling 9-0 to the Heat ’96.
The defeat bounced them into the relegation side of the draw, and they had to claw back into the winner’s bracket of the double-knockout tourney with a 4-0 victory over Quebec late on Saturday.
Then Sunday, White Rock punched their ticket back into the semifinals with an 8-0 win over the defending champion Scotiabank Selects.
In the semifinal tilt against the 1997-born Heat, White Rock took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning when Mackenzie Dunlop walked and scored two batters later on an Emma Entzmiger single, but the lead was short-lived.
Delta tied the game in the top of the second inning, then tacked on two more runs in the third to take a 3-1 lead.
White Rock plated its second run in the bottom of the fourth inning, when a Shaelyn Ogilvie triple scored Ashley Penney from first base.
In the top of the fifth, however, Delta added an insurance run to lead 4-2, which ended up being the final score.
The Heat finished the game with 10 hits, while the Renegades’ offence struggled against Delta pitcher Desirae Villanueva, who allowed just two hits while striking out four.
Penney was in the pitcher’s circle for White Rock, striking out six in seven innings.
In the under-14 jamboree, the Renegades went 7-1 overall, with the only loss coming in the final to Smitty’s.
The 2000-born team rolled to four victories in the first two days of action – beating Ontario’s Brampton Blazers and Guelph Gators Wednesday, before edging Smitty’s and the Delta Islanders Thursday.
In the semifinal, White Rock knocked off the No. 1 Ontario seed, the Waterloo Ghosts, 12-4, to earn a spot in the championship game.
Two more Renegade teams are left in the hunt for a national crown – both at the bantam (U16) level.
White Rock’s ’98 and ’99 teams are headed to Brampton, Ont. this week for U16 nationals, which start Wednesday.
The Surrey Storm ’98s are the third B.C. team in the event.