Pla­cen­tia un­der-14 soft­ball team pro­vin­cial champs

Pla­cen­tia un­der-14 take pro­vin­cial fast­pitch crown

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

It might have taken the Pla­cen­tia un­der-14 soft­ball team a cou­ple of cracks to claim the pro­vin­cial ti­tle, but they got over the hump this sum­mer. The team rolled through the un­der-14 pro­vin­cial tour­na­ment en route to the cov­eted ti­tle. They now qual­ify for the East­ern Cana­dian Cham­pi­onships.

The Pla­cen­tia un­der-14 soft­ball team had been in the pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onship be­fore.

The pre­vi­ous two sum­mers, they’d chal­lenged for the right to call them­selves cham­pi­ons but fal­tered in the cru­cial game.

This sum­mer was dif­fer­ent, how­ever. They rolled through the tour­na­ment held July 8-10 at the Car­bon­ear Recre­ation Com­plex and headed into the cham­pi­onship with a per­fect 5-0 record.

Then they were faced with the daunt­ing task of knock­ing off the home Car­bon­ear squad at the Car­bon­ear Recre­ation Com­plex on July 10. Pla­cen­tia fi­nally got over the hump with an 11-4 vic­tory.

“The tour­na­ment went re­ally well,” said coach Fran­cis Web­ber.

As the fi­nal out was called, the coach said his play­ers were “ec­static with the vic­tory.” For many, it meant a sliver of re­demp­tion for the past two prov- in­cial tour­na­ments, which ended in de­feat.

With each game, the Pla­cen­tia play­ers gained more and more con­fi­dence in their abil­i­ties. That cou­pled with a strong show­ing at the Cst. Wil­liam Moss Me­mo­rial Soft­ball Tour­na­ment, the ath­letes must’ve been pretty good head­ing into provin­cials.

“As a coach, you’re just happy for the kids,” said Web­ber.

Mem­bers of the team are: Christo­pher Clarke, Dou­glas Duke, Owen Edi­son, Ar­ron Hussey, Brady Judge, Blake O’Keefe, Brady Power, Ma­son van Puym­bro­cek, Luke Wad­man, John Web­ber, Ja­cob Whit­tle and Bra­dyn Wil­liams.

The tour­na­ment

Pla­cen­tia had a heck of a run to the fi­nals. They fin­ished the round robin por­tion of the tour- na­ment with a per­fect 4-0 record.

They opened the tour­na­ment with a 14-1 vic­tory over But­lerville, which was fol­lowed by an 18-6 drub­bing of South­ern Shore.

Day 2 opened with an 11-6 win over Clarenville. A nar­row 4-3 vic­tory over the Goulds came af­ter that.

In the semis, Pla­cen­tia shut out Con­cep­tion Bay South 7-0 be­fore win­ning the fi­nal over Car­bon­ear.

“There were al­ways im­prove­ments by play­ers,” said Web­ber of how his charges pro­gressed through the tour­na­ment. “How you im­prove is by play­ing games.”

Pitch­ing a key

In the fast­pitch soft­ball world, hav­ing a sta­ble of strong, con­sis­tent pitch­ers can be a key to a strong tour­na­ment run.

If they can get on a roll, teams find them­selves in a favourable po­si­tion go­ing for­ward. That’s a thing the Pla­cen­tia team had in spades. Be­ing able to run out a strong arm every game gives the rest of the team con­fi­dence in the field and at the plate.

“We had some re­ally good pitch­ers,” said Web­ber. “It was one of our strengths.”

Pitch­ing aside, Pla­cen­tia were just as good at the plate and in the field. They scored 65 runs, while al­low­ing just 20 op­pos­ing play­ers to cross home plate. That’s a pretty good ra­tio for any team.

“It was 100 per cent a team ef­fort,” said Web­ber. “We’ve got strong play­ers. Ev­ery­one played their role.”

With their vic­tory, the Pla­cen­tia squad earned them­selves the right to rep­re­sent New­found­land and Labrador at the up­com­ing Un­der-14 East­ern Cana­dian Soft­ball Cham­pi­onships be­ing held in Bel­lechasse, Que­bec Aug. 15-28.

Mean­while, the Car­bon­ear team that Pla­cen­tia faced in the fi­nals is also be­ing given that same op­por­tu­nity.

As a coach, you’re just happy for the kids. Fran­cis Web­ber

SUBMITTED PHOTO

The Pla­cen­tia un­der-14 soft­ball team are pro­vin­cial cham­pi­ons af­ter de­feat­ing Car­bon­ear 11-4 in the fi­nals of the pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onships held at the Car­bon­ear Recre­ation Com­plex July 8-10. Mem­bers of the team are: front (l-r) — Luke Wad­man, Bra­dyn Wil­liams, Blake O’Keefe, Ma­son van Puym­broeck and Ar­ron Hussey; back — Christo­pher Clarke, Brady Judge, Dou­glas Duke, Owen Edi­son, Ja­cob Whit­tle, John Web­ber, Brady Power and coach Fran­cis Web­ber.

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