The Langford Lightning had just enough fireworks left in their bats at the end of the Region 1 girls under-12 fastpitch tournament to win the big game.
Down 7-5 in Sunday’s championship final against the Central Saanich Extreme in Port Alberni, the Lightning rallied to score three times in the bottom of the fifth inning to capture the title and end their season with an 8-7 victory.
“The team chemistry was second to none. Each and every girl at some point during the season made a clutch play to help win a game,” said assistant coach Mark Haliday, who helped out head coach Michelle Perren this year, along with fellow assistant Mark Dixon.
“Michelle, Mike and I are so proud of everything the girls accomplished.”
The Lightning faced a more determined Central Saanich team than the one they beat 13-0 for the district crown back on June 14 in Langford. The Extreme led 3-1 after the first inning and held a 5-4 lead after three. But the Lightning chipped away and tied the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the fourth.
Things looked tense when Central Saanich got back on the board with a pair of runs in the top half of the last inning, but a cool Lightning team responded with precision hitting and aggressive base running to erase the deficit.
After going 3-0 in round robin play, the Langford squad met arch-rival Sooke in the semifinals. The closely matched teams batted back and forth, using big innings to make the game interesting.
The Lightning scored five runs in the first, third and fifth innings and came away with a 15-12 victory.
This season the Langford girls compiled a 33-3-2 record in 38 games. That includes a 12-1-2 mark in regular season play, tournament wins at the Langford Icebreaker, district and regional championships and a silver medal at the Sooke tournament.
The season wasn’t quite over for a couple of the Lightning players. Pitcher Cheyenne Haliday and catcher Samantha Elder were invited to join Sooke’s U12 boys team for the provincial tournament, being hosted by that community last weekend.