It was an excellent experience even though the grind and the weather took its toll.
Canada’s representative at the Little League Senior Softball World Series in Roxana, Delaware — the Elnora Eagles, which included Ponoka’s Bailey Donison — struggled in the tournament that ran July 30 to Aug. 5.
The club opened up their round robin pool July 30 with a 6-4 loss to Fort Myers, Florida. The Eagles led until the sixth inning, when the American club got their bats going and never looked back.
The following day was a rough one for the Eagles, a 14-2 loss to Hawaii that concluded after five innings due to the mercy rule. Canada did grab an early 2-0 lead in the second, but the humid conditions and 84 degree heat (29 Celsius) hit hard two innings later.
Orion Donison, Bailey’s father, explained the club committed four errors in the game and had a hard time handling the ball.
“The girls had difficulty in throwing the ball and pitching in the humidity. Our pitchers had trouble gripping the ball and often missed the plate or threw it in the dirt,” he said, adding the team also had issues staying hydrated.
It was another close contest on Aug. 1 when the Eagles took on the club from Fort Wayne, Indiana, but couldn’t find their batting strokes and fell 7-4.
The final round robin game saw the Canadians take on the Netherlands that evening, with the Eagles carrying a 5-0 lead into the fourth inning.
However, the club from Rotterdam pushed hard and cut the lead to one, then hit a grand slam in the fifth to hand them the lead for good.
That left the Eagles to play in the consolation game Aug. 3 against Puerto Rico, where the girls were once again strong in their defensive play, but continued their struggles at the plate in a 6-0 loss.
Despite the outcome, Bailey was happy to have been a part of the experience and felt privileged to have gotten to play in such a tremendous tournament.
“It was the best time in my life and it felt like we were treated like Olympians,”she explained in an email. Bailey added it was also great to make a lot of new friends on a world stage.
Part of the experience also included loads of merchandise the players received from the likes of Easton and Gatorade.
The championship was won by a team from the Philippines.