Angels fall short at westerns

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Host team lose out in tiebreakers at U16A Western Canadian Softball Championships

Tiebreakers determined the fate of the St. Albert Angels at the U16A Western Canadian Softball Championships.

Monday’s 4-0 loss to the Edmonton (AB #1) River City Hornets ended the tournament for the host team at Meadowview Diamonds.

The Angels finished 4-4 overall, with 50 runs scored and 49 against, after a 1-3 start.

“The competition has been absolutely great and the girls have played really well,” said head coach Mark Maxwell. “Our first game was in extra innings (7-6 loss to the South Delta Invaders) and the second game was a good win (8-5) against a good River City team and then we ran into some stiff competition with some other teams but the girls have played well.”

Friday’s tournament opener against South Delta (BC #2) felt more like a win than a loss.

“The girls played their best effort and I’m never going to say that’s a loss when we do that,” Maxwell said.

Wins of 10-3 over Estevan (SK #2) Elite and 7-6 against Central Energy (MB #1) Sunday lifted the Angels into a share of fourth place and in the first tiebreaker defeated the Manitoba (MB #2) Angels of Winnipeg 10-6 before the bowing out to River City (4-4) with a semifinal berth on the line.

“It’s a long weekend of ball and I’m proud of them,” Maxwell said.

The Angels were basically in every game and their most lopsided loss was 14-7 against the Edmonton (AB #2) Wild Warriors on Saturday.

“It’s been a well fought battle. There is a lot of really good teams out here and it’s interesting to see everybody’s bats and how everybody’s focus is on the diamond and what we can ourselves accomplish as a team,” said outfielder Jazmin Pitruniak.

“Anytime you can have a good game against these guys it’s great. Every game has been close and at the end of the day you want to have lots of close games,” Maxwell added. “We were in B.C. a week before last (at the Canadian Open Fastpitch International in Surrey and finished 2-6, with both wins against River City) and we saw some of the top teams in the country, actually in the nation because we had teams from Hawaii and Arizona, and I would say the teams that are here rival that level.”

In Monday’s final, the North Shore (BC #1) Stars beat South Delta 8-1 to go 7-1 in tournament. South Delta was 7-2.

The Wild Warriors (AB #2) were awarded bronze after their 7-2 loss to South Delta in the playoffs and finished 5-3.

The level of play at westerns was an eye-opener for the Edmonton Youth Softball Association champions.

“Every pitch is a battle at the plate,” Pitruniak said. “The competition is really surprising and it’s really good. It’s something that you have to be committed to and be ready to sacrifice yourself for the team.”

Maxwell rattled off plenty of positives about the Angels at westerns.

“Our outfielding has been superb. We’ve had some great catches in the outfield, some great base running and our pitching has been bang on.”

Pitruniak, 14, also chimed in on the team’s success.

“We’ve been on the bats really well, we’ve been really positive towards each other and we’ve been making really good ball plays,” said the Grade 10 St. Albert Catholic High School student.

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Jeff Hansen

Jeff Hansen joined the St. Albert Gazette in 1991. He writes about sports, athletes and teams from St. Albert and area.