The Estevan Gem-Well Bantam Elite softball team finished in the top eight at the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship in Surrey B.C. from July 11 to 16.
They competed in the Showcase Gold division, which had 18 teams.
Estevan opened the tournament with an 8-1, six-inning victory over the Washington Flame. But they lost the following game 10-2 to the Oregon Riptide.
“They were a good hitting team, as they hit the holes,” said Blanchette.
In their third game, Estevan won 6-4 against the Surrey Storm 99 Gold. Blanchette was impressed with the team's defensive play.
The Elite were matched up against the Delta Heat 98, and beat them 3-0. Their next game resulted in a 12-5 victory against the Fraser Valley Fusion 99. The game only lasted five innings.
The 18 teams were then reseeded for the playoff round, which was a double knock format. Estevan was seeded sixth.
The Elite were matched up against the Quebec Rebelles and won 4-1.
“They were frustrated (the French team), so we did very well in beating them,” said Blanchette.
That win advanced them to the quarter-finals, and they played the White Rock Renegades 99. The Elite lost 13-0 in five innings. Blanchette noted that the Renegades were the eventual champions of the tournament.
“At that point we were quite pleased with how we had done…we were happy that we got this far and did this well,” Blanchette said.
After that loss, the Elite played the Surrey Storm 98s. They lost 12-0, which eliminated them from the tournament.
Blanchette was impressed with how well his team pitched throughout the tournament.
“Pitching was the key for our wins, and we followed that with good defence, and timely hitting,” he said. “Overall we’re just so proud of the team, and how well they did, because we didn’t anticipate doing that well going there.”
The Estevan Mid-City & Brick Midget Elite won the consolation round in the Futures Select division at the national tournament from July 17 to 20, which was also in Surrey.
There were 19 teams that competed in the Futures Select division. The tournament began with a round robin.
The Elite opened the tournament with an 8-7 loss to the Surrey Storm 96 Select.
Coach Garry Earl said that the Elite were leading the whole game until the bottom half of the seventh inning.
They lost their following game 9-2 in six innings to the Langley Rebels. Earl said that Estevan had a 2-0 lead through four innings, but gave up eight runs in the fifth.
Estevan dropped 9-7 decision to the North Delta Sunfire 96 in their third game. Again, they were leading for the majority of the game, but gave up the lead, Earl said.
Their final round robin game was supposed to be against the Cloverdale Fury, but Earl said the Fury didn’t have enough players to field a team and the Elite won by default.
Estevan and North Delta were tied for third in their pool, but North Delta advanced to the 12-team championship round.
Estevan qualified for the consolation round, earning a bye to the semi-final.
They played the Surrey Storm 97 Select, and they defeated them 9-2 in five innings.
Earl said that it was an exciting game. The Storm had the bases loaded with nobody out in the first two innings, but didn't score.
He was also impressed with the offense in that game.
That win advanced Estevan to the final where they crushed the PoCo Ravens 10-0 in four innings.
Earl was impressed with the way the girls played as a team. He believes that the experience in B.C. has helped them develop their skills
“All in all I though they did really well…they competed hard and that’s all you can ask.”