Blazers win U16 bantam C silver

Alberni Blazers chucker Ashley Skeldoch winds up to throw in the top of the second inning. - SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News
Alberni Blazers chucker Ashley Skeldoch winds up to throw in the top of the second inning.
— image credit: SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News

The host Alberni Valley Blazers captured silver medals on their home field at the U16-C girls’ fastball championships last weekend. Sixteen teams from around B.C. played in a round robin and double knockout championship round at Echo fields.

“We weren’t expected to go that far,” head coach Greg Dolling said.

“I have a lot of girls that have never played competitive ball. We worked them hard all season,” he said.

The Blazers finished fourth in the round robin to advance—the top eight teams made the championship round. They played their first game of the double knockout Saturday night and lost to Ridge Meadows. A three-hour rain delay Sunday morning threatened to quash the Blazers’ chances at winning.

Tournament organizers decided that if the rain didn’t stop by 11:30 a.m. the four teams that lost on Saturday would be eliminated, and the four that won would wait out the rain. Volunteers were able to get the fields in playing shape, thanks to a delivery of sand, and the eight teams were able to finish out the double knockout.

Alberni BlazersThe Blazers played five games on Sunday, meeting Ridge Meadows again in the gold medal game. The tired host team wasn’t able to shut down Ridge Meadows, who won 7–0.

“We had some really good games throughout the day,” Dolling said. “The girls played really well. They overcame all of what I expected out of them, which was a great feeling.”

Because the U16 Blazers finished second in B.C., they will move up a level and compete in U16B next season. Age-wise, there are quite a few players who can return to play that level but Dolling said “we’re looking into the future.”

BASE HITS…Dolling coaches the Blazers with Rob Ivezich, Ross Matthews and Matt Skeldoch…Other Island teams competing in the U16 provincials included Langford Lightning, Campbell River Crushers and Parksville Rage.

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