Rebels sharpen skills on way to nationals
While Canada’s Capital Fastpitch League wraps up its regular season this week, many of its players are just starting to heat up.
In their final regular season game, the Orléans Senior Rebels took on the Ottawa Rebels and showcased some well-coordinated defence and powerful hitting. On the field, the ladies participated in some good-natured heckling of members of the opposing team, as well as their own.
For some, this cool Wednesday night game is simply a way to blow off steam after a tough day at work or school, but for a select few, it’s training that could lead to a national championship this August in Kitchener, Ont.
Erin Durant, who plays second base for the Orléans Rebels and recently returned from the provincial championship, enjoys the laid-back nature of the CCFL.
“It’s a lot more recreational – not as hard-core competitive as we’re used to,” she said before the game began.
Durant’s competitiveness, however, is revealed when she describes the team’s third-place finish at the provincials as “below that we expected.” Although good enough to qualify for the national tournament,“we wanted to get top two,” she said.
Six members of the Orléans Rebels have combined with some of their teammates from the University of Ottawa squad to form the travelling team that will represent Orléans on the national stage. It’s a young group with high hopes.
“Only two girls on our team are senior-age,” said Jillian Taylor, the team’s ace pitcher. “We moved up (to the senior-division) to keep them, because they’re good players.”
This is the second consecutive year the Rebels have reached the national tournament. Last year in Summerside, P.E.I., the team collected a record of 4-4 and finished tied for fifth.
Despite the losses, Rebels’manager and CCFL co-convenor Jim Taylor expressed pride in his team for proving they were among the best in Canada.
“It was quite an accomplishment for us, because it was the first time we competed on such a stage,” he said. He also indicated he believes the team could have collected a better record if not for a couple bounces.
Until the national tournament starts on Aug. 12, the Rebels will continue to sharpen their skills in the CCFL playoffs in the upcoming weeks. Taylor and Rebels coach Scott Searle encouraged their team to work on new techniques on these enjoyable weeknights.
“We have to play them strategically, to refine and hone their skills,” Taylor said.
Though they’re playing against a variety of ages and experience levels in the CCFL, Taylor concedes it’s no cakewalk.
“We’re facing good teams. It’s not as if we’re powering through everyone.”
The Orléans Rebels sharpen their skills in preparation for the Aug. 12 national tournament.