A final victory
Reds now wearing P.E.I.’s green and white colours for Canada Games
She tried it on before, but Monday night was to be Sarah Woodside’s first opportunity to wear her Team P.E.I. green and white uniform in a game situation, and she was really looking forward to it.
That doesn’t mean she’d hold back on sliding into a base if the situation presented itself, the P.E.I. Canada Games women’s softball team’s catcher stressed.
The team was getting together for an intra-squad game in O’Leary, one day after retiring the P.E.I. Reds’ uniforms they’d been wearing since 2011.
That retirement came on a high note – a 3-2 win over Team New Brunswick in the championship final of the Lloyd Poirier tournament in Truro. It’s the second year in a row the Summerside Chrysler Dodge Reds have won the tournament.
This year, they did it by posting a 5-0 (won-lost) record. They defeated Nova Scotia’s Canada Games squad 8-2 in the semifinal.
The Reds had round-robin wins of 9-1 over the She Devils, 9-0 over Team New Brunswick and 9-0 over KV Dynamite. Emily Brothers, Alyssa Fleming and Sydney Halliwell picked up the respective pitching wins.
Fleming got the start against Nova Scotia in the semifinal, throwing four complete innings and giving up two runs. Brothers shut them down the rest of the way. Jada Yeo led the Reds offensively, hitting 3-for-4, with a triple, double and driving in three runs. Kaelyn White went 2-for-3, and Kailey Koughan hit 2-for-4.
Yeo picked up the pitching
win in the championship game, allowing two runs through fourplus innings, before Brothers registered a second playoff save.
Maddie Clarke, who scored the winning run in the third inning, hit 2-for-3, with a triple, to lead the Reds. Emily Cairns (2-3) and Woodside (2-4) were the Reds’ other leading batters.
There have been a few player changes since 2011, Woodside acknowledged, but she stressed the Reds/Team P.E.I. has always been blessed with good team chemistry.
“It’s such a great atmosphere,” she said, pointing out the players
are a close-knit group.
The Lloyd Poirier was the Reds’ fifth and final tournament of the 2017 season. To go along with their gold medal in Truro, they won gold at their own Spud Chuckers tournament in O’Leary; a silver medal at the Henry Kelly tournament in Moncton, and a bronze medal at an under--21 Team Ontario tournament.
Team P.E.I. head coach, Jeff Ellsworth has pronounced his team ready for Canada Games. They’ve played against all of the Canada Games teams except for British Columbia, Manitoba and
Alberta. While he doesn’t think any of the provinces will be a surprise to them, he feels P.E.I. could dish out some surprises.
The Reds had a 0-0 game going against Team Ontario until the bottom of the sixth in a tournament two weeks ago, before bowing out 1-0. Ellsworth suspects word of that close encounter will spread pretty quickly, and will result in P.E.I. facing every province’s top pitcher.
“It’s one of those things where you prepare for so many years, and you try to expose them to as many big tournaments as you can,” said Ellsworth.
Some of his Canada Games athletes, he said, have already played in as many as seven Canadian championships, and they’ve all been exposed to toplevel ball.
“They’re ready,” reiterated
During the Canadian senior women’s championship last year in O’Leary, the Reds became the first P.E.I. women’s softball team to win a Tier 1 medal – a bronze. They’ve captured Plate Division silver medals at nationals in Saskatoon in 2014 and Montreal in 2015.
So now it’s on to Canada Games. The team leaves for Winnipeg on Aug. 5, and will play nine round-robin games between Aug. 7 and 11. Woodside said she’s hoping they can finish in the top four, and compete for a Canada Games medal.
The Summerside Chrysler Dodge Reds won the Lloyd Poirier Memorial fastball tournament in Truro, N.S., for the second year in a row. Members of the Reds are, front row, from left: Jeff Ellsworth (head coach), Clara Jane Wood, Kaelyn White, Hope Higginbotham, Emily Brothers, Brianna Arsenault, Eryn Hustler, Emily Cairns and Mike French (assistant coach). Back row: Chris Halliwell (assistant coach), Jordan Ellis (manager), Vanessa Rennie, Sarah Woodside, Maddie Clarke, Alyssa Fleming, Jada Yeo, Kailey Koughan, Sydney Halliwell, Katie Rayner, Jamie Betts (pitching coach) and Ashley Praught (assistant coach).