Chilliwack Stealers win U19C softball championship in Port Alberni

Host Alberni Valley Blazers win provincial silver in 9–2 loss to Chilliwack.

Mercedes Schneider from the Chilliwack Stealers celebrates after the Stealers beat host Alberni Valley Blazers to win gold at the U19C girls' softball provincial championships

A bad call at the end of the third inning that resulted in an out at homeplate was the rally call the Chilliwack Stealers needed to win the U19C girls’ BC softball championship, Sunday in Port Alberni, BC.

Stealers’ third-base coach Tony Rahnborn admitted he made a bad call and congratulated the girls after they scored seven straight runs to beat the host Alberni Valley Blazers 9-2 in the gold medal final.

“We got a girl out going home and went into the (fourth) inning and that’s when they started to rally,” head coach Kurtis Guthrie added. “We opened it up a bit and scored most of our runs in that inning.”

Chilliwack beat Mission, Sooke and the Alberni Valley in the eight-team double knockout round to enter the gold medal game from the winners’ side.

The Stealers have had a strong team for the past few years, and Guthrie praised them for their string of successes. “We’ve been together for four years, a large core of girls. This year we had two 19-year-olds and the rest were first-year U19s, and one girl was a U16.”

The Blazers played four games on Sunday, losing a close 2–1 game to the Stealers to drop to the consolation round, then beating View Royal 7–0 to face Chilliwack in the final. View Royal won bronze medals.

“The girls played really well,” Blazers head coach Shannon Charlesworth said. “They played nine games and won seven of nine games. We had one bad inning.”

These two teams met each other two years ago at the U16C provincial championships, also in Port Alberni. That year Chilliwack won bronze, Alberni Valley won silver and Maple Ridge won the gold medals. Last year the Blazers won the provincial title, making them defending champions.

The Blazers, many of whom will age out of minor softball after this season, thanked head coach Shannon Charlesworth after the game “for taking us to nine straight provincial championships.”

The Blazers also had a core team through many of those championships, Charlesworth said.

Charlesworth said community support throughout the weekend was a motivator for the Blazers. “The park was full of home fans to cheer them on, which was really nice.”

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