The host Quesnel Terrors fought back from two early round-robin losses to win a silver medal in the Silver Division at this weekend’s Softball B.C. U16C Provincial Championship.
After losing their first two games on Friday (July 12), the Terrors found themselves in the Silver Division in the 16-team tournament, and four straight wins Saturday and Sunday sent them to the Silver Division final.
Playing the Abbotsford Phantoms in front of a large crowd Sunday evening with thunder and lightning cracking in the distance, the Terrors batted first and took a 2-1 lead in the first inning. They kept the lead until Abbotsford tied it 2-2 in the fourth inning. Quesnel went ahead 4-2 in the fifth, and the teams went scoreless in the sixth inning, then the teams tied it at 5-5 in the seventh and final inning. The game went into extra innings, and with international rules, each team started the eighth inning with a runner on second base. Quesnel went ahead 8-5 in the top of the eighth, but Abbotsford came back and scored four runs in the bottom of the inning to win the game 9-8.
As the teams received their medals, Abbotsford coach Jim Agassiz told the Quesnel team this was one of the best games he has been involved in with all the back-and-forth, and he thanked Quesnel for hosting the tournament.
“I just told the girls, honestly, from the bottom of my heart, this is as good as any gold,” Quesnel coach Linda Currie said after the game. “Honestly, I could not be more proud. I think that there were moments in the game when they absolutely could have been rattled, and they did not get rattled at all, so that was really great to see. They kept it together. They let the coaches and the umpires do their thing instead of getting involved. They just played their game. They played through horrible weather conditions for the Cariboo.”
Currie, who coached the team with Derrick Parr, felt there were several game-changing moments for Quesnel, including a great hit by Jersey L’Heureux that brought in a couple of runs when they were tied, which got the Terrors ahead, and the play in the top of the eighth inning when the Terrors had Nikkia Chalbi on second because of the international rules, and Gavin Currie hit a double, Avery Bautista hit a single, and Taylor Parr hit a triple to give the Terrors a lead.
“We’ve got to shout out to Taylor Parr for pitching so many innings after innings after innings, and Gavin Currie, she caught every inning of the tournament,” said Currie. “We only had three second-year U16s, so they are a young team, and three of them aren’t even U16 yet; they’re actually 14 years old, and that was Gavin Currie, Alexa McTavish, who also pitched a lot, and Avery Bautista. Those three, you couldn’t even tell that they were 14; they just blend right in.”
The Terrors lost their first two round-robin games on Friday but won 5-2 against the Kelowna Renegades on Saturday morning. They then beat the Penticton Power 8-7 Saturday afternoon to finish the round-robin in 11th place.
The Terrors began their playoffs Sunday, beating the Cloverdale Red Sox and Penticton Power to earn a trip to the Silver Division final.
Overall, Currie is impressed with her team’s play over the weekend.
“They just pulled it together,” said Currie. “The first two games, they were a little jittery, and I think that’s from hosting. After they got through those first two games, we finally saw what we’ve seen all season because they haven’t been jittery. They are solid. But you know what, those were the two who were in the final game. Our draw was so hard. Our first two games were against the teams that won silver and gold, so we had to step it up.”
Currie feels that every one of her players contributed a lot over the course of the weekend.
“Everybody had a shining moment of some kind at some point,” she said. “Sometimes, they say the top of your batting order is your strongest, but we actually had just a strong batting order, top to bottom.”
Currie believes the fact that Quesnel has started up winter ball has helped the local teams get so strong so quickly, especially in light of the fact their competitive season is only six weeks long. The U16 Terrors’ silver medal comes just one week after the U14 Terrors — a team that includes Gavin Currie, Alexa McTavish and Avery Bautista — won provincial gold.
The Quesnel Girls Softball Association rents the Quesnel Youth Soccer Association complex, and Currie says about 80 kids have been coming out, starting at the end of January, to work on different skills at different stations with volunteer coaches.
“We’ve just seen just a huge, huge change because of that, and I think that’s why we’re doing so well provincially,” she said. “It’s a big part of it, so we’re going to continue to do that for sure. It is a huge commitment of volunteers. We’ll have upwards of 15 to 20 coaches in winter ball every week.”
Currie was very impressed with all the volunteers who worked so hard to host the tournament, particularly tournament director Wendy Richardson.
“I think she took all of her holidays to do this,” she said. “It’s amazing how much time she put into this. She should be really proud. She put on an amazing event here.”
Currie also singled out Brooke L’Heureux, Waylon L’Heureux, Ryan McTavish and Kayla Powell as other key volunteers who worked extremely hard, and she pointed out that members of the Kangaroos hockey team volunteered to do field work between every game.
During the Opening Ceremonies Friday night at the West Fraser Timber Park, each team marched down to the ball diamond, including the U14 Quesnel Terrors, who were recognizing for their provincial gold medal the weekend before.
Before Dennis Baptiste threw out the ceremonial pitch, tournament director Wendy Richardson congratulated and welcomed all the teams, and she thanked the volunteers who made this all possible.
“I want to give a huge shoutout to all the volunteers,” she said. “It’s a huge amount of work to put on a presentation like this.”