Sunday was a big day for the White Rock Renegades.
By the time the final out had been made at girls fastpitch provincials across the province, the Renegades association had three teams clinch berths in national championships, bringing to four the total number of teams set to battle for a Canadian title.
Earlier this month, the White Rock Renegades ’99 won a provincial title in Maple Ridge, and now head to Montreal for nationals in August.
On Sunday, the White Rock Renegades ’95 qualified for nationals – for the third straight year – after a 4-2 win over Surrey Storm ‘95, while the Renegades ‘96 placed fourth, also earning a spot at Canadian midget championships, set for Charlottetown, P.E.I. Aug. 12-19. The Storm ‘95s, as well as the third-place Victoria Devils ‘95, also qualified.
Also Sunday, the Renegades ‘97 placed third at U16 provincials in Victoria, and will also head to nationals, slated for O’Leary, P.E.I. Aug. 7-11.
As defending national midget champions – the team won the tourney last year as a first-year team, as well as a national bantam crown in 2011 – the Renegades ‘95 had an automatic berth into midget nationals.
“But it’s always nicer to go into nationals as a provincial champion,” said Greg Timm, president of the Renegades association.
“It’s a very strong year for us this year. We’re pretty optimistic that all four teams have a legitimate shot to win. I’m not saying they necessarily will, but they’ll definitely compete.”
In the provincial midget final Sunday at Cloverdale Athletic Park, the Renegades ‘95 – who also won a B.C. title last year – were led by Canadian national team member Sara Groenewegen, who was stellar in the pitcher’s circle while also smashing a two-run home run.
“She’s a pretty big impact player at the midget level,” Timm said of the longtime Renegade, who is among the country’s best players for her age.