Parrsboro girls win slo-pitch provin­cials

Win over Rich­mond seals the deal af­ter mem­o­rable sea­son

The Citizen-Record (Cumberland) - - SPORTS - BY AN­DREW WAGSTAFF CIT­I­ZEN-RECORD CHETICAMP awagstaff@cit­i­zen­record.ca Twitter: @ADNan­drew

The Parrsboro War­riors girls’ slo-pitch team re­ceived their tough­est test of the year here on the week­end, but emerged pro­vin­cial cham­pi­ons.

The War­riors de­feated their ri­vals from Rich­mond 15-12 in the cham­pi­onship game on Sun­day, af­ter a week­end of plenty ups and downs on the field. The team en­tered the tour­na­ment with an un­de­feated record of 18-0, in­clud­ing cruis­ing through their Northum­ber­land re­gional cham­pi­onship.

They did not know what los­ing felt like un­til their first game at provin­cials, when they were de­feated 15-8 by Rich­mond.

“It was a re­ally hard hit,” said Ash­ley Hamel, one of four cap­tains on the team. “It al­most set the mood for the week­end. We had to stay pos­i­tive, which was chal­leng­ing, but we man­aged to flip the mood.”

“No mat­ter what hap­pened, ev­ery­one stuck to­gether. Even when we lost games, no one gave up. I think the team came to­gether more than ever over the week­end.”

Coach Bliss Wal­ton made some small changes and did his best to help them shake it off.

“We had a team meet­ing af­ter the game, and I told them they were not done, and that it’s a lot bet­ter to lose now than later,” said Wal­ton. “They came back out and played their best game of the year against Bridgetown.”

The Bridgetown team was strong, but Parrsboro played solid de­fence and pro­duced hits from all through their lineup en route to a 16-1 vic­tory.

The team came out con­fi­dent – per­haps too con­fi­dent, ac­cord­ing to their coach – for its third and fi­nal round-robin game on Sun­day morn­ing against Bridge­wa­ter, who were 0-2 in their pre­vi­ous two games. Parrsboro lost by a score of 14-8.

That left a three-way tie for sec­ond place in the pool, with Rich­mond hav­ing gone 3-0, and only the top two teams ad­vanc­ing to the play­off round. Thanks to a plus-mi­nus of runs scored, the nod went to the War­riors, whose first play­off game would be against East Antigo­nish, the team that had knocked them out of the tour­na­ment in two of the last three years.

“No mat­ter what hap­pened, ev­ery­one stuck to­gether,” said Jas­mine Wal­ton, also a cap­tain. “Even when we lost games, no one gave up. I think the team came to­gether more than ever over the week­end.”

They beat East Antigo­nish 13-6, ad­vanc­ing to the cham­pi­onship fi­nal against Rich­mond, a close-fought bat­tle.

Parrsboro led 9-7 go­ing into the sev­enth and fi­nal in­ning. With the bases loaded and two out, Ella Har­ri­son took a walk to bring in an­other run. That brought up the top of the or­der, and Jas­mine Wal­ton hit a bases clear­ing dou­ble. Sarah Merriam, Ash­ley Hamel and Vic­to­ria McLel­lan each fol­lowed with hits, giv­ing them an eight-run lead for the bot­tom half of the in­ning.

Rich­mond then scored five runs, and had the bases loaded with no­body out. The next two bat­ters grounded out to Danielle McLel­lan at third base, and Ash­ley Hamel struck out the fi­nal bat­ter for the win.

“Whether we were play­ing of­fence or de­fence, ev­ery­one gave it their all this week­end,” said Sarah Merriam. “As one of the cap­tains, I couldn’t have asked for any­thing more out of any one of them. I know we couldn’t have done it without ev­ery­one play­ing how they did.”

Vic­to­ria McLel­lan cred­ited their sup­port­ive par­ents and team­mates for help­ing them reach their full po­ten­tial, even when they were strug­gling.

“I couldn’t be any prouder of the girls,” she said. “The smiles and laughs I will cher­ish for­ever. Win­ning the ban­ner was great, but the ex­pres­sion on the all the girls’ faces will for­ever be price­less.”

Wal­ton, who is step­ping down af­ter more than 15 years as a coach, said this was the most evenly con­tested pro­vin­cial tour­na­ment he has ever been to. He thanked his daugh­ter Brooke, who served as as­sis­tant coach, and his wife Michelle for her steady sup­port.

He be­lieves his team’s depth put them over the top.

“We’ve had a lot of amaz­ing play­ers over the years, but this year, no mat­ter where we were in the or­der, we had a chance to score runs,” he said. “They were all able to catch, throw, and do the lit­tle things that ended up be­ing the dif­fer­ence in the end.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHO­TOS

The Parrsboro War­riors won the girls’ slo-pitch Di­vi­sion 3 pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onship in Cheticamp over the week­end. (Front, from left) Sarah Merriam, Vic­to­ria McLel­lan, Jas­mine Wal­ton, Ash­ley Hamel, (back) as­sis­tant coach Brooke Wal­ton, Ella Har­ri­son, Meana Oliveira, Erin Trot­tier, Danielle McLel­lan, Dakota Fer­di­nand, Casey Hamel, Ken­zie Fer­di­nand, Ha­ley Har­ri­son, Skye Yorke and coach Bliss Wal­ton.

Grad­u­at­ing play­ers from this year’s team are cap­tains (from left) Sarah Merriam, Vic­to­ria McLel­lan, Jas­mine Wal­ton and Ash­ley Hamel.

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