By Sheri Morbeck, Stettler Crush under-12 coach
The Stettler Crush travelled to Sedgewick on the weekend to play in the provincial under-12 C softball championship, and placed fifth among 14 teams.
In its opener against Lacombe Matrix on Friday morning, Stettler received strong pitching from Jaiden Stotz, and scored five runs in the fifth inning, but ran out of time in a 12-6 loss.
Due to the round-robin format, the loss left the Crush in a do-or-die situation for their remaining games in the tournament.
On Friday evening, Stettler dominated Lac La Biche and posted a 20-4 victory that was shortened to four innings. Stotz and Rachel Morbeck were solid on the Stettler mound, and Stotz earned the lone home run.
In the mid-afternoon heat Saturday, the Crush staved off Coronation and won 18-10 in six innings. Stettler pitcher Kayla Myshaniuk was spectacular in relief, and helped her cause with a home run. Brooke Mulgrove also had a solid hit that turned out to be a homer.
Crush catcher Gracie Morbeck was outstanding behind the plate, despite the heat.
Saturday evening, Stettler faced Westlock, and all 12 Crush players hit the ball hard in a 21-3, five-inning victory. Stettler starting pitcher Mikayla Torgerson was almost unstoppable as she allowed only four runners in four innings. Rachel Morbeck pitched the final inning and struck out three of the five batters she faced.
After posting a 3-1 round-robin record, Stettler went up against Clive in a tiebreaker Sunday morning and suffered a 10-9 loss.
Stotz and Taylor Northrop each homered for Stettler, and Rachel Morbeck tripled.
“It was a real rollercoaster ride of a game for the girls — very intense and a real heartbreaker,” said Stettler coach Sheri Morbeck.
Clive went on to earn the bronze medal. Lacombe took home gold and host Sedgewick settled for silver.
Stettler coaches Morbeck and Troy Anderson said the Stettler girls gave it their all.
“Each and every girl helped earn the team’s wins,” Morbeck said. “They played passionately and should be very proud of what they accomplished this year.
“In fact, these girls are the only team to have beaten the Lacombe gold medallists all year, when they faced them in Stettler in late June and hammered them 16-6.
“As a brand-new player to the game of softball, Jenny Munholland was very eager to listen and learn, and improved immensely throughout the season. Brooke Mulgrove proved to be very versatile, able to hold her own in any position, and was very strong on the bat. Rebecca Bridge and Taylor Northrop both had dynamite hits when we needed them most. Mikayla Torgerson, Jaiden Stotz, Rachel Morbeck and Kayla Myshaniuk put fear into every team we faced with their pitching and hitting. Tamara Ball was an all-around player who stole home numerous times. Megan Kobi was also a solid player who never gave up, and proved that she could win in the hot box anytime she got there. Elli Anderson was able to overcome all of her injuries (severely sprained ankle and a broken wrist), and did play in Sedgewick, showing some great batting and fielding. Gracie Morbeck was spectacular behind the plate, and had everyone commenting on her tremendous speed around the bases.”