Thirteen teams will battle it out for provincial under-14 A girls supremacy at this weekend’s Softball B.C. championship tournament in View Royal and Saanich.
And there’s a good chance at least one local team will be in the hunt right up until the end.
The Langford Lightning edged out the Victoria Devils 2000s for the South Vancouver Island U16C league title – the girls play up an age group to gain experience – and both have done well in tournament play this season.
The Lightning have been finalists in a number of outside tournaments this season and have only lost a half dozen or so games, while chalking up more than 40 victories. Head coach Pat Guiney says the team’s strengths include its balance and the players’ great work ethic, not to mention their athleticism.
“We’ve got some exceptional athletes in some complementary sports like basketball and soccer,” he says. “That really helps us.”
The Kevin Bobroske-coached Devils 2000s – named for the players’ birth year – have an equal amount of depth, with four strong pitchers and some serious power at the plate.
“When we talk about power, we have had some girls hit home runs this year,” he said. “It’s certainly power that I’ve never seen at this level before.”
The Devils 2001s, coached by Paddy Strandlund, are also playing in the tournament, but are not expected to challenge for the title this time around.
Among the top out-of-town teams entered are the White Rock Renegades, who Bobroske said play more of a singles style of game that focuses on putting the ball in play. Guiney agreed that the Renegades, who will host the nationals this summer, are the “big dog” of the tournament. Also expected to stick around late in the draw are the Surrey Storm 2000s.
Pool play runs all day Friday (July 11) starting at 8 a.m. at Helmcken-Centennial Park, with opening ceremonies there at 6:15 p.m. The playoff round begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at both Centennial and Hyacinth Park in Saanich, continuing Sunday at 8 a.m. at both parks.
The championship game goes at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Centennial.