A pair of Langley ball players helped their team come up with the perfect ending to an up and down season.
“It was just a very big deal for us to win nationals,” said Abbey Fortin, one of two Langley girls on the team. The other was Ainsley Guzzo.
“We had a couple of bumps along the way.”
The bumps the 16-year-old was referring to were tough losses during the season for her team, the White Rock Renegades 98 girls fastpitch squad.
Multiple times the team would reach the championship final, only to come up short in the gold medal game.
Even worse, the losses came to the same team, the Renegades 99, their sister team one year their junior.
But the team persevered and was rewarded with victory at the Canadian U16 national fastpitch championships last week in Brampton, Ont.
The tournament ran Aug. 13 to 17 and White Rock went 8-0.
In the gold medal game, the team trailed 1-0 heading into the fifth inning, but the Renegades cobbled together a pair of runs to defeat the Quebec Rebelles 2-1.
Prior to reaching that championship game, the Renegades also took care of some unfinished business, knocking the Renegades 99 out of title contention with a 6-3 victory.
“They always seemed to beat us when it counted, but we finally got it,” Guzzo said about her team finally beating their nemesis.
The key was the game plan the coaches set out and following it, she said.
“We worked hard for each other and wanted it more in the end,” added Fortin.
“And I think that is what got us the title.”
The majority of the group — including Guzzo — was on the Renegades team which won the U14 national title in 2012. But for Fortin, this was her second year on the team and first taste of a national championship.
“It was amazing,” she said. “As soon as Katie (Humhej) struck the last batter out, it was a relief and then just so much adrenalin.”
For the tournament, Fortin, a centre-fielder, batted .435 and four of her 10 hits went for extra bases. She also had six RBIs.
Guzzo, the team’s catcher, hit .222 with a pair of RBIs and five runs scored.
The pair are both entering Grade 11 at Walnut Grove Secondary.
Langley’s Abbey Fortin (left) and Ainsley Guzzo helped the White Rock Renegades 98 fastpitch team win the U16 national championship.