Three local softball teams dominated the competition at the U18 Women’s Canadian Fast Pitch Championship in Montreal, sweeping the podium positions at the week-long 21-team tournament.
The 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 the silver medal.
“There’s a lot of good coaches and all the girls definitely work very hard at it because they love the game,” said Heat head coach Steve Couper when asked to explain the B.C. sweep of the medals. “Some of them are going to the Western Canada Games in Fort McMurray next week, then some will leave for (university) a week later.”
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, while watching the Delta players collect their gold medals. “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 and 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. Britten-Yung got on base with a single to lead off the inning, then raced home on a single by Raelyn Radovich. One batter later, Radovich scored on a single by Woodward.
“The girls never give up, we’ve been a comeback team for years now,” said Couper, while the squad gathered for a team photo. “We have a lot of hitting power, and we never give up, whether it’s the top of the seventh or the bottom of the seventh and we’re down by nine runs or one.
“The funnest part of softball is to hit the ball, and we did that well.”
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, limiting the Heat to five singles and a walk.
The Storm were overwhelmed by the Heat in Sunday’s semifinal. They were outhit 15-1 over five innings, bowing out of the tournament with an 8-0 loss.
Michaela Moore led the Heat with three hits and four RBIs, with Maria Palmegiani, Lauren Watson, Britten-Yung, Samuelson and Radovich adding two hits each.
Goddard got the win, allowing one hit and a walk while striking out four Storm batters.
The Storm clinched a medal with a 2-0 win Sunday morning over the Brampton Blazers Sunday morning. Jessica Fasolino threw a complete-game shutout that saw her strike out eight Blazers. Brampton had just three singles off Fasolino, who didn’t give up a walk.
The Storm broke a scoreless tie in the fifth. Jillian Marshall dropped a ball over the Brampton second baseman to get on base, and was replaced by pinch-runner Noelle Johnson. Demi Rose then singled to centre field, allowing Johnson to race home from second base for the winning run.
Surrey added to the lead in the sixth. Hailey Kjaer got on base on a fielding error, eventually scoring on a single to shallow right field by Shelby Kwak.
They worked hard all year, and I don’t think a lot of people gave them a chance (to medal). I wasn’t sure about a medal. But we got a feel for what they can do, and it was a goal.
“We’re real pleased. It worked out well and I’m very happy with them.”