8 a.m., Aug. 18)
capture bronze medal at Senior Women's National Championships
By Fred Sherwin
Rebels senior women's softball team went into their first ever Canadian
Senior Women's Championship in Kitchener on the weekend hoping to at least
contend for a medal.
They did just
that and very nearly made it into the championship game if not for a heartbreaking
1-0 loss to the defending champion Winnipeg Smitty's in the semi-final.
The Rebels, who
bolstered their lineup a trio of players from other teams including starting
pitcher Reagan Turner from St. Catherines, weren't expected to be much of
factor in the tournament considering a majority of the players and under
23 and still qualify as juniors. They were also going up against teams whose
lineups were sprinkled with national team members.
Rebels didn't bothered to read the media guide. After starting off the round
robin portion of the tournament with a 2-0 loss to the Whitby Eagles, the
girls bounced back to beat the Calahoo Xtreme from Alberta 3-1 to even out
their record at 1-1.
The next day
they beat the Smitty's 3-2 in a thrilling game that saw the Rebels bend
but not break in the sixth inning. Unfortunately, they ended losing their
second game on Day 2, 3-0 to the host Kitchener Krush who would go on to
win the tournament.
On Day 3 they
managed to put together a pair of wins over Port Perry and the Calgary Ice
to finish round robin play tied with four other teams at 4-2. The final
positions were awarded based on run differential. After all the calculations
were done, Orleans found themselves in fourth place.
Their first playoff
game was against DBJ Leasing from Saskatoon. Win and they would be assured
of at least a bronze medal. Lose and they would be sent down to the relegation
bracket to face the Smitty's.
Their task was
made all the more daunting by the fact that DBJ Leasing had 2008 Olympian
Dione Meir on the mound. The Rebels countered with Turner. Both pitchers
were outstanding in giving up just four hits each, but Nicole Shillington's
two hits for the Rebels would prove to be the difference. The first allowed
her to get on base in the fourth inning and eventual score the game's opening
run on an RBI flyball by Jessica Scholey. The second drove in Erin Durant
for an insurance marker in the sixth.
With the crucial
win under their belts, the Rebels prepared to face Kitchener in the undefeated
game on Sunday. The Krush, who were coming off a 3-0 win over Quebec the
night before, drew inspiration from the hometown crowd and downed the Rebels
4-1, earning themselves a bye into the gold medal game.
Down but not
yet out, Orleans still had a shot at earning a ticket to the championship
game, but first they had to get by the Smitty's who defeated Whitby in a
2-1 come from behind win in the seventh inning to emerge from the lower
Hoping for a
repeat of their round robin game against Winnipeg, the Rebels sent Turner
to the mound, while the Smitty's hitched their chances on former national
team member Ashley Lanz.
The game boiled
down to an old-fashioned pitchers' duel as neither team was able to get
on the scoreboard through the first six innings. Winnipeg finally put a
run across with a pair of singles in the top of the seventh inning and then
Lanz closed the deal in the bottom of the inning to seal the win.
Despite the disappointing
loss, Rebels coach Scott Searle says the girls can hold their heads high
for making it as far as they did against teams with considerable more experience.
final three games we faced three current or former national team pitchers.
I think we did an awesome job and hopefully next year we'll do even better,"
The team consisted
of six University of Ottawa players including Jillian Taylor and Sarah Renaud,
who along with Jenny Allen came up through the ranks with the Orleans Amateur
Softball Association. The other Gee-Gees on the team are Emily Ernst, Elissa
Sivel and Laura Gallant.
of the regular lineup comes from across the province: Amber O'Connor is
from Pembroke, Hayley Fleming is from Kanata, Nicky Shillington and Kelsi
Ball are from Kingston, Erin Durant is from Prescott, and Jessica Scholey
lives in Mississauga. Another member of the team, Kristen Barber, is from
the east end.
(St. Catherines), Jenna Flannigan (Kanata) and Laura Skiperis (Guelph) were
all added to the team for the Canadian Championships.
Sarah Renaud, Jenny Allen, Erin Durant, Kristen Barber, Jillian Taylor,
Emily Ernst, Nicky Shillington, Amber O'Connor, Reagan Turner, Jessica Scholey,
Kelsi Ball, Hayley Fleming, Elissa Silva, Laura Gallant, Jenna Flannigan
and Lauara Skiperis. Photo supplied
was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
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