Story by Christian J. Stewart – ISN
Brantford, ON (ISN) – The Victoria Devils ’96 Fastball team is returning to Victoria as a National Silver Medalist after making it to the 2012 U16 Softball National Championship game in Brantford Ontario, where they went down to defeat at the hands of the Delta Heat 96.
The Devils began the national tournament ominously, losing their first game on Wednesday to the Brampton Blazers 3-1. The team then went on a tear, and despite numerous delays due to weather, rolled off seven straight wins to advance to the finals.
The Devils streak began in their second game Wednesday when they beat Winnipeg 6-4, then on Thursday they started with a tense 1-0 win over host Brantford and followed that up with a 10-2 drubbing of Alberta’s Rivercity Hornets.
Rain delays played havoc with the round robin schedules in Brantford (Photo Courtesy Brian Wallace)
On Friday, the Devils beat Quebec 6-2 and BC’s Burnaby Oakeys 6-0.
Of the win over the Oakeys, Devils Head Coach Brian Wallace, via his Facebook feed noted, “without question that was our best played game of the season so far, highlighted by Emma’s [Entzminger] 2 run home-run.”
That set them up in the first game of the playoff round against the Delta Heat, and the Devils pulled off the upset winning 7-3 and forcing Delta into the B (loser’s bracket).
They then defeated the Mississauga Tigers 6-4 in the A semi-final to get to the championship where they once again faced Delta, who, after their loss to Victoria Saturday night, continued to win their way through the B bracket, including a tense 1-0 win over Mississauga in the B semi-final.
In the championship final, the Heat obviously had revenge on their minds and despite playing their fourth game of the day, came out slugging, scoring 4 runs in the top of the first, another 4 in the top of the second and 6 more in the top of the third to put the Devils away, cruising to the 14-0 mercy rule victory.
Offensively, the Devils went cold in the final, managing only a single hit, one by Emma Entzminger, who finished the tournament as the Devil’s leading hitter and the tournament’s leading hitter with a .560 average.
In fact the Devils finished the tournament with 4 batters in the top 8 of the hitting standings, with Entzminger (1st, .560), Ashley Penney (4th, .500), Sammy Pearson (7th, .423) and Caleigh Coels (8th, .417) making the cut.
Head Coach Brian Wallace (right) and daughter Brooke (left) with the Silver medal trophy (Photo Courtesy Brian Wallace)
Penny also led the Devils in innings pitched (25.1) and finished with a 3.04 ERA for the tournament, while Jasmine Strandlund was next with 19.1 innings pitched and an ERA of 3.26.
Head Coach Wallace, again via Facebook, was thrilled with the result, despite the outcome in the final. “Silver! What an amazing season! The U.S. has their Dream Team and I have mine! Thanks to everyone back home who has been supporting us as it has made a huge difference to all of us.”
The Devils return to Victoria Monday, where they are sure to get a rousing welcome from friends and family.