The Quesnel Terrors U14C girls softball team are provincial champs after an inspirational performance in Port Alberni this weekend (July 5-7).
The squad went 9-1 over the three days and knocked off the Abbotsford Outlaws in the final game by a score of 8-6 to clinch the championship.
Head coach Ryan McTavish was still hoarse from cheering all weekend when he called the Observer to give a recap of the momentous win.
“It brought me to tears,” he said. “It was awesome. It was special.”
The coach knew his team would fare decently, as they had performed well in a couple lead-up tournaments, but he pointed out they had yet to face many teams from the Lower Mainland and Victoria, so they did not know what to expect.
It was no easy road, with one of the toughest moments coming as a result of human error in a matchup against Victoria’s Peninsula Thunder in the third game of the playoffs.
The two evenly-matched sides had already played to an 11-11 tie in the final game of the round robin, and the Terrors were able to seemingly squeak by them in the second match, 5-4.
“Everybody came around, and they were crying and we were cheering, but the official scorekeeper had messed up the scorecard and she had it as a tie,” McTavish said.
“So we had to pay $50 to dispute it and then we lost the dispute, so we had to go into extra innings playing international rules, which involves starting with a runner on second base.”
The emotionally exhausted squads played one more inning in which the Terrors were able to score a pair while holding the Thunder scoreless.
“We were pretty disappointed in them,” McTavish says. “They knew that they lost and they just went with it.”
After getting the win, the Quesnel girls had to face off against the one team they had lost against all tournament.
The Delta Hurricanes had taken a 7-6 victory over them in the first game of the playoffs. Thankfully, it was a double knockout draw, so they were able to continue.
In their second meeting, the Terrors used the momentum from their extra-innings win against the Peninsula Thunder to their benefit and walloped the Delta team 11-0.
To put an exclamation on the win, Maddy Oakley hit a three-run home run to end the game by the mercy rule.
The final game saw the girls take an early lead against Abbotsford. They entered the last inning up by five and, despite giving up three runs, were able to close the door and win the gold.
McTavish said the performances of Oakley and his daughter, Alexa McTavish, on the mound were exceptional.
“They kept the team in the tourney with their pitching,” he said.
“They were two of the more powerful pitchers there for sure. There were a few other good pitchers there, but I didn’t see anything comparable.”
As you cannot have good pitching without strong catching, McTavish also had praise for backstop Gavin Currie.
“She was a wall behind the plate for the whole tournament and threw out at least six trying to steal,” he pointed out.
Also of note was the bottom half of the batting lineup, who consistently provided clutch hits when it became do-or-die in the playoffs.
The undying support of family proved valuable as well, with many family members taking a long drive to cheer themselves silly.
The coaches also put themselves through a mental gauntlet in the process.
“I didn’t eat anything all day [on Sunday],” McTavish said. “My stomach was in knots. It was quite a day and is still sinking in for me.
“We didn’t expect to be going home with a gold medal, that’s for sure.”
The U16 softball team will host their provincials at West Fraser Timber Park this weekend. Alexa McTavish and Gavin Currie will join the squad and attempt to help repeat their success down on the island.
For those attending the Billy Barker Days parade, expect to see the U14 girls on a float, still basking in a triumphant glow.
Make sure to scream just as loud as their fans on the island did when they pass by.