A week filled with wet, gloomy weather had organizers trembling that they might not get to their first pitch.
However, the temperatures improved and the sun came out for the Ponoka girls’ softball tournament over the weekend with all four local teams getting some work on the diamonds.
The Peewee (Under 14) squad played host to Lacombe and Camrose in a one-day round robin event on Saturday, May 28 with the girls making it all the way to the final before coming up on the short end of a 2-1 score against Lacombe.
“We held them off until the bottom of the fifth. Our defence was incredible and our pitching came up strong,” said head coach Lucas Willier.
“It was just one of those games. They got a pair of timely hits and we twice had the bases loaded, but couldn’t score.”
He added Lacombe’s catcher didn’t let anything get by her and his team couldn’t get the bat on the ball, as the majority of Ponoka’s runners reached base via walks.
Ponoka reached the final by beating Camrose 9-8 in the semi-final after winning big over them in the round robin to go with a large loss to Lacombe.
Meanwhile, Ponoka’s Squirt (Under 12) division team barely missed out on making the final after posting a two win, two loss round robin record. The squad opened their tournament on Friday, May 27 with a 15-9 win over Camrose then followed up the next day with a pair of losses to South Edmonton and Wetaskiwin before defeating Sherwood Park 14-10 on Sunday.
Head coach Ben Quine was very pleased with how the girls played the entire weekend, but really would have made the final.
“The girls played really well in every game,” Quine said.
“The turning point was giving up an 8 run lead in the final two innings against Wetaskiwin, which ended up knocking us out of contention for the final. It really shouldn’t have had to come down to that, but the girls showed improvement each game out there and that was great to see.”
Two other local teams also hosted their tournament in the Mites (Under 10) division on the weekend, which was more of a fun event as well as chance to get in some action for the girls that are basically just starting out in the game.
The Ponoka Mitey Mites 1 finished off the event with a record of three wins and a loss with the Ponoka Mitey Mites 2 club ending up with one win against three losses.
“The girls played very well and continued to improve after every game. I am pleased that all the girls are willing to learn to play every position and work very hard learn that position,” stated Mitey Mites 1 coach Tina Nielsen, who is also the president of Ponoka Minor Ball.
“The girls were all swinging the bats with confidence, even though they saw some faster pitching this weekend. Our focus is about having fun, improving our skills and working together as a team. In a tournament, we get to work on all three of those goals.”
In addition, in her role as president, Nielsen said the entire tournament was a success due to the work of all of the parents, coaches and volunteers combined with the number of very generous local sponsors.