During the round robin portion of their provincial championship tournament in Delta last weekend, the Abbotsford Bandits U19 C girls fastpitch squad showed few signs that a gold medal was in their immediate future.
The Bandits struggled early in the tourney, squeaking into the playoffs as the eighth and final seed. But they caught fire at that point, winning four games in a row to claim the title.
“We played fantastically in the playoff games,” said Bandits coach Dave Gibson, whose team won both the Surrey Storm tourney and the district championship earlier this season.
“Everybody hit, everybody played well.”
The Bandits opened the playoffs with a 15-14 barn-burner of a win over the Fleetwood Bandits, then topped the Sooke Hustlers 12-5 in their second game.
Up next in the double-knockout tourney were the Langford Lightning, who built a 4-0 lead through four innings. But the Abby squad rallied with five runs in the top of the fifth, and won 7-6. Then they clinched the title with an 11-7 triumph over Langford.
“This team has a core of about seven girls who have played together for the last five years,” Gibson noted. “They understood, looking up at the scoreboard and seeing 4-0 up there for the opposition, it doesn’t really mean anything. There’s seven innings, and that’s an eternity.”
Dominating pitching by Brittney Larson, Camille Larsen and Moriah Konynenbelt and stalwart catching by Brin Gibson anchored the Bandits, while solid defence from infielders Neena de Ruiter, Darian Hagel, Jodie Murray, Samantha Bullock and Lauren Peters, and outfielders Kim Swanepoel, Kirsten Sapizak and Gillian Orsted limited the opposition.