The Carnduff Southeast Steelers women's fast pitch team earned the silver medal at the Senior Women’s Western Canadian Fastball Championship in Grande Prairie, Alberta, from August 14 to 17.
They lost to the Calgary Red Sox 3-2 in the championship final.
The Steelers opened the tournament on August 14, and edged the Edmonton Warriors 8-7.
Coach Al Hubbard said that the first game of a tournament is always a tough one.
“The very first game of the tournament, everybody’s kind of feeling everybody out,” he said.
Their next game was against the St. Albert Angels, and the Steelers routed them 17-0. The game only went four innings, before the mercy rule came into play.
The following day, the Steelers continued their winning ways by shutting out the Calgary Red Sox 7-0.
Hubbard said that the Steelers performed well both offensively and defensively, and he was impressed with the pitching.
“Our bats were just humming by then,” he said.
The fourth game of the round robin came against the Sask. Co-op Elite out of Saskatoon, and the Steelers beat them 7-3.
Carnduff played their final game of the round robin on August 16, and defeated the Red Deer Athletics 11-4.
Hubbard said that he was impressed with the offensive play of the team in the round robin, as they scored 50 runs, and finished first with a 5-0 record.
The Steelers advanced to the page playoff round, where they were matched up against the No. 2 seed, the Edmonton Warriors.
They edged the Warriors 4-3, and that win advanced them to the championship final.
In the final, Hubbard said the Steelers led throughout the game, and they had a 2-0 lead going into the seventh inning and final inning. Calgary showed some resiliency, as they scored three runs in the top of seventh inning to take the lead.
The Steelers were a strike from winning the game, but with a full count and two outs, a Calgary player hit a blooper over third base and scored a run to start the rally.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Steelers had base runners on second and third but couldn’t score them.
“We definitely had the runners in position to tie it and even win it, but couldn’t get the hit when we needed it,” Hubbard said.
The Steelers shut out the Red Sox in the round robin but they ran into some productive pitching from Calgary in the final.
“Calgary had a pitcher that they never showed very much, she didn’t pitch much all weekend, and she did very well, it wasn’t that we didn’t hit her, we just couldn’t hit the holes,” said Hubbard. “When you have a 3-2 game you know it’s a pitching duel.”
Hubbard was impressed with the number of runs that they were able to score throughout the tournament.
“When you have a weekend where you outscore everybody….it’s always a highlight,” he said.
He also said that he was happy with the results, as they had to travel quite a distance to play in the tournament.
“When you travel that far, you want to play good and that is exactly what the girls did,” Hubbard said.
Steelers’ player Aimee Unchulenko was the top batter in the tournament. Hubbard said she played well and deserved that title.
There were six teams from Saskatchewan and Alberta the participated in the tournament. B.C. and Manitoba didn't field an entry.
“I’m not sure why, whether it’s the expense or what it is why provinces don’t send teams to that because it’s great for ladies ball and men’s ball,” Hubbard said.
Hubbard said that the silver medal win was a team effort, as everybody contributed to the team's success.
“From pitching right down to defence and offence, everything was great,” he said.