Local fastball player Amy Lank helped her team win silver at the fastball nationals last weekend from Wednesday, Aug. 3 to 7.
During what many describe as the most exciting U-21 Fastball Championship final in decades, the Edmonton Rivercity Hornets U-21 Junior fastball team was tied with Team Saskatchewan until the bottom of the final inning when Saskatchewan scored the one and only run of the game to become national champions.
Rivercity played back to back to back games (3 games) on Championship Sunday at the National Championships in Summerside, Prince Edward Island outscoring their competition over the three games 13-1, including beating powerhouse Ontario 1-0, then defending National champions Quebec 12-0 before facing Saskatchewan in the gold medal final.
The two teams played near perfect ball in front of a packed stadium to the final inning where the teams were still deadlocked at 0-0. In the bottom half of the final inning Saskatchewan was able to get a player to second base, then a single to centre field scored the game’s only run.
For Lank being in a dead-heat for the entire game wasn’t easy. “Emotions are pretty high. Adrenaline’s pretty high.”
She credits a strong defense for playing a solid game and the team’s pitcher for playing all three games — 19 innings in total — over the course of the finals series.
“Softball Canada announced during the medal presentations that this game, and the Championship Sunday run of the Hornets were two of the greatest exhibitions of fastball in recent memory” said Rivercity Coach Rob Campbell.
During the post-game press conference Coach Campbell commented that, “they will talk about our three games including this final for many, many years to come as we outscored the three best teams in the country 13-1 on Championship Sunday to lose the gold medal and national championship by a single run in the bottom of the final inning.”
The Rivercity Hornets were the only non-provincial 2017 Canada Games team at the U-21 Nationals. Every province (except Alberta) participating formed their all-star 2017 Canada Games team and sent the team to the 2016 Nationals in Prince Edward Island as preparation for the 2017 Canada Games. The Edmonton Rivercity Hornets were the only club team at the Nationals and posted an overall 8 wins-3 losses record including taking home to Alberta the silver medal.
During the Nationals closing ceremonies, Softball Canada indicated the national softball governing body was proud the 2017 Junior Nationals represented the best assembled line up of competition fielding the best teams in decades in a true showcase of Canada’s best.