After only three years in existence, the Prince Rupert Minor Softball Association is starting to produce talent capable of competing at the provincial level.
Prince Rupert’s U-14 Provincial Broadwater softball team finished third in a hot and dusty 2018 provincial tournament that took place in Smithers from July 6-8.
The team’s coaches, Glen Irving and Valerie Wiley said the team — which featured two female athletes and three first-year athletes — performed well considering it was their first time playing against such experience competition.
“They matured, they played well, they ran the bases and did everything we asked,” Irving said.
The tournament opened with a four game round-robin stage, in which Prince Rupert finished with a 2-2 record after beating Barriere 16-5 in their first game, Prince George 18-3 in their second game and losing to Terrace 8-1 and 100 Mile House 14-4 in their third and fourth games respectively.
The tournament then shifted to a double elimination bracket to determine the championship winners. Prince Rupert’s first game was a 13-6 win against Williams Lake 9-3.
In their next game, the team lost 9-3 to 100 Mile House, an experienced team that featured strong pitching and a versatile offence.
“We weren’t used to that speed of pitching or quality of pitch,” Irving said.
That loss knocked Prince Rupert into the loser’s bracket where they would have to win all of their remaining games to make it to the finals. The team was up to the task, beating Barriere once again 15-0 and the host team Smithers in the quarter finals to set up a rematch with 100 Mile House in the semi finals.
“Our game plan for that game was to just get runners on base against their strong pitch,” Irving said.
Prince Rupert used a strategy combining bunting and opportunistic base-running to manufacture runs and take an early 3-2 lead. However as the innings went along, Prince Rupert struggled to get hits when they had chances to score. 100 Mile House eventually re-took the lead and beat Prince Rupert 11-4 to eliminate them from the tournament.
“They were a strong team,” Irving said. “I’m not sure what more we could have done to beat them at that stage.”
Despite not winning the competition, Irving said he was encouraged by the team’s progress, and said they’ll be better prepared to compete next year.
“The future looks good for all our teams,” he said.