The Ridge Meadows Rage ’01 won their first tournament of the season over the weekend, and it gave them a provincial championship.
Ridge Meadows Minor Softball hosted the Under-14 B provincial championships, and the local girls thrived on home cooking. They had won bronze in South Surrey, silver at their own May Madness tourney and silver again at the Kelowna tournament, but over the weekend it all came together.
“Our bats were unbelievable,” said coach Dawn Hartford. “It just happened this weekend – everybody hit.”
That led to eight straight wins including a 15-0 opener against the Nanaimo Diamonds to get it all started.
The pitching was also incredible. Kalen Celuliak pitched a no-hitter against the Prince George Thunderbirds – they were mercied 22-0 after three innings. She also pitched the gold medal game – a 7-1 win over the Richmond Islanders.
Sammi Markovich also pitched a shutout against the Diamonds, and shut down the Islanders in a 3-0 semi-final win. That clinched her team a berth in the championship game, and because they lost, Richmond was forced to play three more games to earn their way to the final.
The outfielders had to cope with a blazing sun, but Zoe Zeballos reeled in everything that was catchable out in centre field, and had a circus catch in the gold game. Alyssa Cable also had some amazing defensive plays in right. Jessie Kielan hit a home run in the Kelowna game, and had consistent at bats all tourney.
On the infield, Jaedyn Dionne had a quick glove at first base. Shortstop Emily Nalleweg was swinging a hot bat all weekend.
She and second baseman Sydney McCrea cleaned up anything hit in the middle infield.
Erin Murphy sparked the offence all tourney, and played great defensively at third base.
Catcher Maddie Hartford had some hard hits, including a two RBI liner in the final that broke open what was a close game up to then.
Catcher Nicole Lutz was great behind the plate in the gold game.
“It’s taken months to get here. The biggest thing was their confidence,” said coach Hartford.
The core of the team has been together for about four season, and two years ago they finished in fifth place at the provincials in Sicamous.
She and assistants Rob Hartford, Todd Kielan and John Markovich emphasized that the girls should have fun, and enjoy their moment.
“They really like each other and cheer each other on. There’s no divas,” said Hartford. “They have so much heart and soul, and they never give up.”