After suffering a devastating extra-innings loss in their first playoff game at the B.C. U14 B girls softball championship, the Abbotsford Outlaws 99 squad faced a steep climb to the podium.
But after the dust settled at Exhibition Park last Sunday, that’s precisely where they found themselves.
Outlaws 99, after going 4-0 in the round robin, dropped their first game in the double-knockout playoffs to the South Delta Invaders. That meant they needed to win four games in a row on Sunday to get into the championship game – and they very nearly did it.
The Abbotsford squad blasted the Vancouver Wildcats 10-0 in four innings via the mercy rule, then edged the North Shore Stars 4-2 and won a rematch with South Delta 7-2.
They finally ran out of gas in their fourth game of the day, falling 1-0 to the South Surrey/White Rock Thunder 99. That left them in third place, while the Thunder would go on to win the gold.
“It was an absolute marathon,” Outlaws 99 coach Ian Watson marveled. “The girls showed up on Sunday morning determined to get a medal out of that tournament, and they knew how hard they would have to work. I can’t say enough about these girls.”
The B.C. bronze medal capped a terrific season for Outlaws 99, who went undefeated in league play and medaled in every tournament they entered, including an A tourney at Ridge Meadows.
Hosting provincials was a “big advantage,” said Watson, who lobbied the Abbotsford Minor Fastball Association to bid for the tourney last September.
“I had a good idea my team was going to get there, and I wanted to have home field,” he explained. “The association did a great job, and the volunteers were wonderful all weekend.”
The second Abbotsford team at U14 B provincials, Outlaws 2000, had an amazing season in their own right. They had won three tournaments in a row heading in, and earned their spot in the provincial field by upsetting an older team, Langley Extreme 99, at the districts.
They were in tough at the B.C.’s, as one of just two 2000-born teams playing against older squads, and they went 1-3 in the round robin to finish 12th out of 16.
“It wasn’t our best weekend, but the girls played awesome,” coach Celine Hayward said.
“They held their own, and next year hopefully we’ll come out and win provincials.”