A Ponoka girl is heading to a prestigious softball event south of the border.
Bailey Donison and the rest of the Elnora Eagles U16 ‘A’ squad captured the Canadian Little League senior softball championship courtesy of a thrilling home field 4-3 win over Assiniboia, SK in the final on July 26.
With the victory, the Eagles will now represent Canada at the Little League Senior Softball World Series that kicked off July 30 in Roxana, Delaware.
The tightly contested, low scoring final game had everyone on the edge of their seats from the first pitch. The tension grew as the bottom of the seventh saw Assiniboia’s first batter reach first, putting the potential tying run on base.
However, the excitement of the home fans shone through as the runner was thrown out on the next pitch in a failed steal attempt of second.
Donison had a hand in keeping the score in host’s favour, as she tracked down a fly ball to right for the second out.
That was followed shortly after with an explosion of jubilation from the more than 150 hometown fans as the next batter’s hot grounder to the short stop was corralled and fired to first in time for the final out.
Elnora’s road to the final began with the seeding round on July 23, with the Eagles beating up on Assiniboia 7-3 then defeating Ponoka 11-1 to be placed in top spot for the double-knock out round of the tournament.
Assiniboia would knock off Ponoka in their two contests, while the Eagles mercied Assiniboia 17-7 — assisted by a Donison grand slam to end the contest — which set up the game to decide who would be the Canadian champion.
Donison has been a member of the Eagles since last September and travelled extensively during the winter to participate in practices at various school gyms across central Alberta. That was followed in May with travel to practices as well as games in both the Girls Prairie League Softball division and the Red Deer Ladies Softball League.
The Eagles are proud to be wearing the Canadian emblem on their shirts at the World Series. The club will play in a round robin pool with teams from (Honokaa) Hawaii, (Fort Meyers) Florida, (Rotterdam) The Netherlands and (Fort Wayne) Indiana. The other pool includes the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Texas, Massachusetts and the host from Delaware.
The top four teams in each pool will play in the crossover quarter finals on Aug. 3 with the semi-finals going Aug. 4 and the final slated for Aug. 5.