GIRLS OUTSCORED OPPONENTS 87-17 ON WAY TO VICTORY
The U15 Cloverdale Fury are national champions.
The Fury soaked the Surrey Storm 11-4 in the title game to win the 2022 U15 Girls Canadian Fast Pitch Championship Aug. 7.
Over the course of the tourney—held in Saskatoon from Aug. 3 to 7—the girls crushed most of their competition earning them a 9-0 record. They outscored opponents in those tilts 87-17. The Fury scored double-digit runs in five games and posted shutout wins in four.
“They played amazing,” said head coach Bill Olexa. “We had a couple games that were very close, went to extra innings, so I think they showed their maturity in how they fought back in those games.”
Olexa said after a few close scores in round-robin play, the team got on a roll. In the latter half of the tournament, the Fury posted three consecutive shutout wins.
“They got a lot of good compliments from other coaches on how well they played.”
On their 9-0 run, the Fury won round-robin games 5-3 over the UTM Bandits (ON), 18-2 over the Lloydminster Liners, 7-6 over Eastman Wildcats (MN), 15-0 over host Saskatoon Hustlers, 4-2 over the Fraser Valley Fusion, and 7-0 over the New Brunswick Selects.
In the playoff round, the Fury downed Ontario’s No. 1 seed, the MSW Hurricanes, 10-0, Ontario’s No. 2 seed, the UTM 2K7 Southwest team, 10-0, and the Surrey Storm 11-4 in the final.
Olexa said the final was a dramatic back and forth for the first few innings, with the Fury scoring a couple of early runs before the Storm fought back to go up 4-2.
“We went ahead in the bottom of the third inning, 6-4,” Olexa said. “Then in the bottom of the fourth, we scored five more runs. In the bottom of the fifth that becomes a run-rule after (the Storm) didn’t score. The game ends.”
Olexa said the Fury won several games via run-rule over the course of the tournament, including all three playoff games. Run-rule—also known as mercy rule—occurs when a team is up by 10 runs at the end of the fourth inning, or seven runs at the end of the fifth.
Fury players Myah Alexander and Parker McCambley were recognized for their outstanding play. Alexander was named “Top Player” of the championship and McCambley was named finals MVP.
Alexander won the “Top Player” award after batting .390 in the round robin and .440 for the tournament, hitting in 11 RBIs, and scoring 10 runs. She also went 3-for-3 in the final game.
“The girls played great. The pitching was great. The hitting was great. The defence was great.”
Olexa said despite the lopsidedness of some of the scores in Saskatoon, the teams the Fury faced played very well.
“The scores aren’t indicative of how the other teams played.”
The Fury went into nationals after winning a B.C. provincial championship in mid-July at Cloverdale Athletic Park.
Olexa said his team really hit their stride after losing their first game in provincials. The Fury then won seven games in a row to capture that provincial title, the team’s second in a row.
“They just came together at the right time,” Olexa added. “In provincials, they played well. They came back in that tournament twice to win. They didn’t panic. They showed their maturity.”
One of those comeback wins included the gold medal game, which the girls won off the bat of Madelaine Hanson, who smacked in a run for the walk-0ff win.
For Olexa, the proudest moment he felt for the girls this season was when other coaches at nationals would complement the girls on their effort and play.
“Everyone is there to win the gold medal, so you have tough competition,” he explained. “And when you play well, it shows.”
He said that drives other teams to want to find out what you’re doing, how you’re training, anything new, any advice to share or advantages they can gain.
The Fury posted a remarkable record for 2022. After league and tournament play the team ended the season 54-7-1.
For now, the girls can savour their win for a few weeks until tryouts for next year begin at the end of September. Once the team is picked they’ll practice once a week over the winter until spring training begins.
“We start playing games from April to the end of June.”
Olexa said he’s happy for the team and happy all their hard work paid off.
“They’re a great bunch of girls,” he added. “They always want to get better, forever asking questions, forever wanting to learn more, and that’s what makes them successful and fun to coach.”
U15 Cloverdale Fury national champions. Players: Parker McCambley, Megan Greene, Tegan Harnett, Reiss Mooney, Myah Alexander, Graesha Pahl, Taylor McCambley, Ava Bromley, Victoria Osolin, Maddy Hanson, Alivia Storsley, Cece Brown, Sydney Schierbeck. Coaches: Bill Olexa (head coach), Catrina Hedin, Kassidy Nicholson, Bob Houtman, Jim Ullock, Shari Balharry, and Rod Storsley.