Ponoka’s U14 Crushers fastpitch team came out of last weekend’s home tournament with a first place win.
The first game was against Wetaskiwin, explained coach Lucas Willier.
Ponoka won 8-7 and was able to hold the lead in the final two innings. The next game they played against Bentley whom they have had trouble with in league games. Bentley recently knocked Ponoka Crushers at a Sylvan Lake tournament in the beginning of May.
This weekend was all Ponoka as they earned five hits and scored five runs in extra innings. Bentley was held to one and Ponoka moved on to the next round to face Lacombe who were 2016 tournament defending champions, explained Willier. It was a definite challenge.
A walk off home run ended that game with a runner scoring as Ponoka trailed by one in the final at bat.
The finals were Wetaskiwin versus Ponoka.
Wetaskiwin fought back from the loss from Ponoka in day one, which sent them to the loss bracket but they showed great skill and determination winning four straight before running into the host team. Ponoka won the final game of the tournament 7-2. Ponoka lead the game with 11 hits but strong defense has to be credited with the win, said Willier, as they held all opponents when their tournament life was on the line.
This year, Ponoka held a home run and events derby during the U14/U12 tournament. In the fastest pitcher competition; Emily Cutknife placed first and Tayli Yellowbird placed third.
In the batting/home run competition Torrance Clelland placed second and Jayliese Swampy Montour placed third. The race to first base event had no players place from Ponoka. The fielding challenge saw Chloe Smith place first and Hailey Wiancko placing third. Ponoka girls placed top six out of 12 places. A total of six teams entered in the U14 event.
The Mites U10 softball teams also hosted their own tournament.
Three teams from Lacombe, two from Sedgewick, and one from Innisfail were in town to join our own pair of Ponoka teams for a fun-filled weekend, explained Brandi Abt.
The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, and players and fans enjoyed several exciting games. The Ponoka coaches were proud of the improvement shown by our teams; the girls were more aggressive at the plate, and we are getting more hits and more baserunners, as well as learning better positional play in the field.
Team 1 wrapped up the tournament with a great game against Lacombe to finish with a record of two wins and one loss. Heart and Hustle awards were presented following each game; Karlee Quast, Hadley McAteer, and Brylee Wright were each recognized for their enthusiasm and hustle on the diamond.
The championship game saw two strong teams meet: Lacombe and Sedgewick played a very competitive final game with Sedgewick coming out on top. Thank you to the parents and fans who came out to support the teams.
The girls have several more scheduled games in June and are looking forward to another tournament June 9 and 10 weekend in Lacombe.
For the Mites 2 team it was a hot but fun-filled weekend playing ball.
Our young team of girls were always so positive and cheerful. Our three games were fought hard with close scores but no wins. Labrie Heidt finally got the home run she had been waiting for in our last game against Sedgwick.
Coaches were proud of the effort, attitude and improvement the girls showed this weekend. We’d like to thank all our parents and volunteers who helped umpire games and rake the diamond. Looking forward to our next tournament in Lacombe in June.