Angels capture silver at provincial championships
Submitted photo Members of the Cobourg bantam Angels rep girls softball team are: (front, from left) Taylor Morrow, Rebecca Lansley, Alex Manley, Brooke Sanders, Brianna Hand, Alex Bernier; (back) coach Bill Lansley, Cassidy Sweet, coach Kevin Morrow, Shannon Gibson, Jennifer Young, Karling Coughlin, head coach Pat Sweet, Michelle Jobbitt, Emma Chase, manager Anne Manley and coach Jim Jobbitt.
Legion Fields was busy once again this past weekend as Cobourg hosted the Provincial Women's Softball Association Grand Championships for the U16 Bantam Tier II Division.
Twenty-one teams — eight vying for the ‘A’ title and 13 teams for the ‘B’ title — competed for gold at the PWSA tournament.
Cobourg’s Home Hardware bantam Angels qualified to compete in the ‘A’ division after finishing fourth in one of two qualifying tournaments held two weeks ago in Ancaster and Palmerston. They entered this championship tournament ranked seventh of the eight teams in the their division battling for position as one of the top three moving on to complete at Eastern Canadians on August 22 to 25 in Prince Edward Island.
By advancing all the way to the championship final before losing to Kitchener, the Angels claimed PWSA silver while also qualifying for the Eastern Canadians.
Pitcher Emma Chase was elated at the opportunity to represent Ontario at the Eastern Canadians in P.E.I. "I've never even been to another province" she remarked.
"It's one of the most exciting things I have ever done in sports. I can't believe it. We get to go. It's like a dream," added catcher/outfielder Alex Manley, the youngest member of the squad.
COBOURG 3 BRAMPTON 2
The Angels first tournament appearance was Friday night against the second-seeded, and regarded by many to be the strongest team at the tournament, Brampton Blazers. Cobourg jumped off to an early lead, scoring two runs in the first inning when Jennifer Young and Rebecca Lansley scored off an RBI single by pitcher, Shannon Gibson.
Superb pitching by both teams kept the score intact until Brampton scored single runs in both the sixth and seventh innings to tie the game at two runs apiece and force an international tie-breaker. In the extra inning, Gibson's smart baserunning on two Brampton errors brought home the go-ahead and eventual game-winning run for the Angels.
KITCHENER 7 COBOURG 0
Cobourg's second tournament appearance came mid-day Saturday when they met the Kitchener Klassics. The game remained scoreless after two innings but Kitchener broke the stalemate in the third inning scoring two runs. The game remained tight as both teams played a great defensive game but the hometown Angels could not find their bats.
Kitchener eventually ran away with the game scoring five additional runs in the final two innings to finish the game with a 7-0 win. The loss put the Cobourg Angels in a precarious position, requiring wins in all subsequent games in the double-knockout tournament format.
COBOURG 12 BRANTFORD 9
Although unable to produce any runs against Kitchener, the same could not be said for the Angels' next game against the top-seeded Brantford Bobcats.
Bats were alive all round with third baseman Cassidy Sweet hitting a single, double and triple, and shortstop Brooke Sanders contributing with two singles and a triple, leading the offensive attack for Cobourg.
Brantford took the early lead in the game, scoring one in the first inning, followed by four more in the second. Cobourg answered with six of their own in the third.
It was a back-and-forth battle for the entire game as neither team was willing to relent their chance to advance in the tournament. Brantford scored three more in the fourth and another in the fifth, putting them up by three runs after five innings. Cobourg scored three to tie the score at nine after six innings.
When neither team could put a run on the board in the seventh, the game went into extra innings for the second time in the tournament for the Cobourg Angels. A series of singles in a burst of timely hitting gave Cobourg an additional three runs in the eighth.
Stellar defence in the bottom of the eighth shut Brantford down and ended the top-seeded team's push for a medal and a place at Eastern Canadians.
COBOURG 4 BRAMPTON 1
Saturday night saw a rematch of Friday night's game between Cobourg and Brampton. On the line was a guaranteed bronze medal and an invitation to participate at the Eastern Canadians.
Favoured Brampton was anxious to redeem themselves after their startling loss in their last meeting with the hometown Angels.
Cobourg was eager to prove that the prior win was no fluke. Led by the bats of Sweet and Sanders, Cobourg managed to build a lead, scoring one run in the second, two in the fourth and another in the top of the fifth, before Brampton could post their first and only run of the game. Exceptional pitching and flawless defence by the Angels sent Brampton home from the tournament much earlier than expected and without the anticipated medal.
COBOURG 5 DESBORO 1
Sunday morning, the host Angels were right back at it, playing Desboro for the opportunity to meet the still undefeated Kitchener Klassics in the gold medal game.
It was another defensive battle as neither team was willing to allow the other to get ahead. The first run of the game came in the third inning when Sweet brought home teammate Brianna Hand with a hard hit single to left field. Desboro quickly answered back with a run of their own in the bottom of the third. Cobourg added another run in the fifth and three more in a seventh inning rally. Angels' pitcher, Shannon Gibson, with eleven strikeouts in the game, did not allow Desboro a reply.
KITCHENER 5 COBOURG 1
In order to win the provincial gold medal, Cobourg needed to win two consecutive games against the undefeated Kitchener Klassics in the final. The Kitchener pitcher, having just completed a perfect game, was showing no signs of weakness.
Cobourg pitcher Emma Chase proved she was up to the challenge. Kitchener scored one unearned run in the third. The Angels managed to tie it up with one of their own in the fifth. Unfortunately, that was all the Cobourg team could muster and Kitchener pulled ahead to stay with an additional four runs in the sixth. Kitchener ended the game solidly, taking home the provincial gold medal.
Head coach Pat Sweet and the rest of the coaching staff couldn’t be more proud of the girls. Each game, the girls were asked to come to compete and have fun — win or lose.
“From the beginning of the season, we knew these young ladies had it in them,” said assistant coach Kevin Morrow. “They have shown continued dedication and an exceptional work ethic and have made this happen for themselves.”
Hosting the first of two PWSA Grand Championships during back-to-back weekends (the squirt championship is this weekend at Legion Fields) was a success, noted Angels’ president Lori Morrow.
“This team played some pretty incredible ball. They are a great bunch of girls. We are so very proud of them and what they have accomplished,” she said.
“We want to thank the PWSA for the honour of allowing us to host the Bantam Tier II Provincial Grand Championships. Further, we want to thank the Town of Cobourg. We are very lucky to have a top-notch facility such as Legion Fields in our community. We want to offer a special acknowledgment to the Parks Department staff, who did a fantastic job throughout the entire tournament to ensure the fields and entire venue were in excellent condition for each and every game.”
The unexpected success has sent bantam team manager Anne Manley scrambling to find accommodations and transportation for the team to participate in the Eastern Canadians. The team will be fundraising hard and practicing even harder over the course of the next week to ensure they can make the most of it.