WILMOT COUNTY – It was a long trip but worth its weight in gold as the West Carleton U14 Electric brought back the provincial C championship after a weekend of fantastic fastball.
It was a long weekend, but time flew by for the ‘Trics who were able to cobble together a mighty squad made up of players from across West Carleton, Renfrew County and a bit beyond.
The team does not play in an official league with the players competing on different squads during the fastball season. But they united for a common goal, played a few pre-tournament games, came together and won the championship with an impressive 3-1 record at the tournament held this past weekend (Aug. 3, 4).
Fitzroy Harbour resident and Electric coach Adam Brown spoke with West Carleton Online on holiday Monday to share the championship story.
“The team is made up of players from across the area,” Brown said. “There are five kids on the team from Fitzroy Harbour, with other players from Kinburn, Dunrobin, Arnprior, Calabogie, Pembroke and Metcalfe. While most of the team plays on various teams in the West Carleton Softball Association house league, the rep team played together in tournaments and in exhibition games to prepare, including a series of games against the Westport Storm U14 boys rep team.”
The U14 ‘Trics played a June tournament and ended with a record that did not reflect their play according to the coach.
“West Carleton had a decent showing at an invitational tournament in early June in Napanee winning one and losing three,” Brown said. “Then the group participated in the Ontario Amateur Softball Association (OASA) ‘elimination’ tournament on the last weekend of June, also in Napanee. At this event, top teams qualify for the Softball Canada nationals. As well, teams are seeded based on their performance for the OASA Provincials. Unfortunately, the West Carleton U14 team did not fare well at this event, losing both games to the Kitchener-Waterloo Hallman Twins and the P.D.P Drumbo Lightning. An 0-2 record at the elimination tournament put West Carleton in the C Division for provincials.”
The ‘Trics got together for another tournament in July and really started to gel.
“The team won a tournament in mid-July in Stittsville, playing against U16 girls, an age group higher, winning all three games,” Brown said. “This event, combined with some great practice sessions, seemed to give the West Carleton team confidence going into provincials.”
The provincial C championship was held in Wilmot Township, near Kitchener, over the August long weekend.
“The team got off to a great start with a 10-2 win over the Oshawa Double Bs on Saturday morning,” the coach said. “They followed up with another win on Saturday afternoon, 12-4 against the Tara Twins.”
This earned West Carleton a spot in the finals. Because the tournament had a double elimination format, the ‘Trics had to be beaten twice throughout the tournament to be eliminated. They were grateful to have that wiggle room.
In the first game against the Elmira Heat, West Carleton got down 5-1 early, but clawed back to take an 8-5 lead. Up 8-7 going into the seventh with a chance to win it all, the Electric made a couple of mistakes in the field allowing Elmira to win 9-8.
This set up a one-game, winner take all finals.
“West Carleton bounced back strongly and got out to a 9-0 lead by the fourth inning,” Brown said. “The Elmira team was very resilient and chipped away at the lead, but the Electric held on for the OASA U14 C Division championship with a 10-6 win, ending things in the bottom of the seventh on a double play to seal the victory.”
Brown said the team excelled with and without the bats in their hands.
“The pitching staff had a good weekend, and the team played decent defence,” he said. “The biggest improvement however was in the batting performance. At the elimination tournament the squad managed to only score one run in two games. In four games at provincials, the Electric put up 40 runs.”