The U14 girls fastball team, the Stettler Smash, headed to Calgary this past weekend, July 3-5, to end their season at provincials in an 11-team battle.
The girls first crossed bats with Delburne, a team that has one of the strongest pitchers in the league, according to coach Sarah McCrindle.
Stettler kept its defense tight and managed to cross home plate nine times before the game was done, edging out Delburne by a single run, a finish of 9-8.
“Beating Delburne was a great momentum builder, since that was the first time the girls had beat them all season,” McCrindle said. “The girls never looked back.”
The team went on to face Edmonton, Camrose and Airdrie in the round-robin, and keeping their heads and riding on the crest of success from Delburne, managed to win all three.
The Smash stumbled in its game against Calgary in semi-finals, a team that was “very strong, (and) aggressive,” according to McCrindle.
“The girls held their own offensively with fantastic hitting,” she said, with the Smash winning by two runs until the bottom of the fourth inning. “The Calgary team proved to be too strong, coming back to win the game.”
While the loss to Calgary knocked the Smash out of gold and silver contention, they focused on the medal they could win, the bronze.
To take home that honour and bragging rights, they had to face Airdrie again, a team they beat during round-robin play.
Brushing off the loss to Calgary, the girls regrouped and batted strong, keeping Airdrie off base and taking the second win, the third-place finish, to cap off a “very successful season,” according to McCrindle.
“They proved that hard work, determination, and awesome team chemistry are a few of the keys to success,” McCrindle said. “Way to go girls. I’m so proud of all of you.”