The Alberni Valley Blazers U19 Girls Fastpitch team are the 2015 Softball BC Provincial Champions after besting Peninsula Thunder 7–1 in the gold medal game in Westbank.
After losing their first of four round robin games in the 16-team tournament 5–4 to Abbotsford in extra innings, the Blazers were off to a tough start. They regrouped and came back later Friday afternoon with vengeance against Sicamous, beating them 11-4.
On Saturday morning, the Alberni girls beat south Island rivals Sooke 11-5 before facing the host team West Kelowna in what proved to be a tough game. The blazers came out on top in the extreme heat with a 5-3 victory and a 3-1 record in round robin play.
Being seeded fourth out of the 16 at the BC’s they were to face fifth-seed Sooke Slammers again. The Blazers wasted no time and defeated Sooke 7-0 in five innings to end the evening with three wins that day.
Up early on Sunday, the Blazers returned to the ball diamond at 8 a.m. to face first-place Richmond Panthers for the chance to advance to the medal round. With strong bats and great defense, the Blazers won 9-1.
With only a one-game break the Blazers were back on the diamond at noon to face the No. 2 seed, Peninsula Thunder in the semi-final winners bracket, which they lost 8–5. Being a double knockout format, the Blazers were given a second life.
With temperatures almost unbearable, the Blazers went on to face hometown West Kelowna at 2 p.m. nd left no doubt they were headed back to the final game with a convincing 10-2 victory in front of a packed house at the Westbank First Nations Pine Stadium.
In the final game of the afternoon, the Blazers got a chance at redemption against the South Island Peninsula Thunder. It was a solid effort by each and every one of the 11 girls who made the journey to this championship and at the bottom of the seventh inning, the Blazers had recorded a 7 -1 victory and claimed the gold medals.
Blazers coach Shannon Charlesworth said she was “extremely impressed” with the play of the girls as it was exhausting in the Okanagan heat and hard to breathe due to smoke from nearby fires.
“This is a busy age and to see these girls still playing fastpitch and making the commitment to particpate in sport is terrific,” Charlesworth said. “Our community is very proud.”
Second gold for Blazers at BCs
Blazers took a second gold medal for Fastest Team at the Softball BC Provincial Championships.
The SBBC Championships hosted a skills and drills event where four of the Alberni Valley Blazers ran the four-person base relay in 52.17 seconds.