It was a tough tournament that saw some of the best young teams in the country.
100 Mile N’ Hour, a local U14 boys team, finished fourth at the Western Canadian Softball Championships in Lloydminster, Alta. Aug. 1-4.
Coach Pat Findlay says the local boys gave it their all up against “huge farm boys” from the Prairies that hit and threw the ball hard.
Saskatchewan clubs Prince Albert and Warman finished first and second, respectively, and a Napanee team from Ontario finished third. 100 Mile House was 2-3 out of the round robin, beating teams from Manitoba and Alberta and losing to the aforementioned top three.
The top four teams advanced and 100 Mile N’ Hour met Warman in the playoffs.
“It was our best game of the tournament,” Findlay says. “The boys were all fired up.”
100 Mile had a 2-0 lead after four innings, but Warman tied it up in the fifth. Then an spectacular play was the turning point, the coach explains.
“Their right fielder made an outstanding catch. We had two [runners] on, and a ball that was going to be hit into the gap, and this young fella made a huge, diving catch to make the out. Otherwise, that ball would have gone to the fence and we would have scored two runs, maybe three on it. We ended up scoring none.”
“It really got their team fired up and they came out and scored three runs the next inning and that was pretty much it,” he adds.
100 Mile N’ Hour, which finished second place at a provincial championship in North Surrey to qualify for Westerns earlier this summer, lost the game 6-2 and missed out on the semifinals and a guaranteed bronze medal.
Nonetheless, the whole experience was a great one for players and coaches, Findlay says.
“At first, I don’t think [the players] really realized how special it was. It took them a couple of games to realize, ‘We’re at the Western Canadian Championships and it’s the opportunity of a lifetime.’ They really came to life [against Warman]. I’m super proud of those boys and the effort they put out, and putting our small little town on the map when it comes to fastball.”