While female baseball players have basked in the spotlight at the Little League World Series, a couple of local Fruitvale girls quietly brought home medals from their respective national baseball championships this past weekend.
Allison Schroder, 12, and Ella Matteucci, 21, brought home silver and bronze on Sunday, Schroder from the Baseball Canada Pee Wee Girls U13 championship in Spruce Grove, and Matteucci from the Women’s National Baseball Championship in Whalley.
Both players were All Stars for their respective teams with Schroder picking up the MVP award in her first game and Matteucci taking home the Top Batter award for the tournament.
The women’s team won bronze thanks to Matteucci’s bat, as she drove in the only run of the game in a tight 1-0 match versus Quebec on Sunday, after losing an extra-inning heartbreaker in the semifinal to eventual champion Alberta 4-3 earlier that day.
Matteucci’s grounder in the first inning scored what proved to be the winning run, as both pitchers shut down opposition batters the rest of the way.
But it was the loss to Alberta that was most disheartening for the B.C. crew. Matteucci got the start on the mound and ended up pitching the whole match and then some, as the game was tied 2-2 in regulation and would go two extra innings before Alberta won it in the bottom of the ninth.
Team BC had its chances to win, leading 2-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh and 3-2 in the ninth when Matteucci, after getting her second hit of the night, scored what looked to be the potential winning run.
However, Alberta would rally with two out, scoring a run on a double from Bradi Wall that plated Megan Cornelssen to tie it, and a walk-off single from Carrie Jesperson that scored Wall from second for the victory.
Matteucci could hardly be faulted, the right-hand pitcher threw 124 pitches, giving up just two earned runs on eight hits, while striking out eight and walking four.
She led Team BC with a .522 batting average, going 12-for-23 with five doubles, a triple, and a tournament leading 11 RBIs, good for Top-Batter honours. Matteucci also led all pitchers with 11 strikeouts in 10 innings pitched.
Alberta would beat Ontario in the final 6-2.
Team BC went 3-1 in the round robin with an opening 14-4 victory over Quebec 2, before bombing Nova Scotia 13-1. They lost to defending champion Ontario 13-4 before taking out Ontario 2, 11-1.
Meanwhile, Schroder’s Team BC opened with a 17-6 victory over Saskatchewan with Schroder getting the win on the mound, and going 3-for-3 at the plate, to garner game MVP honours.
BC would then mercy Manitoba 24-10 in five innings, before dropping a close 18-15 match to Alberta.
Schroder would get the start on the mound in the final against Alberta, and got off to a great start surrendering just one run in the first two innings and striking out four over three and one-third innings.
However, Alberta bats came alive in the fourth scoring four times to take a 7-0 lead, but BC’s bats were silenced by Alberta pitching as the team would get shut out in six 10-0.
Matteucci will now play for Team Canada as they get set to travel to Japan on Friday to participate in the Women’s Baseball World Cup.
Eight teams, including Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan, Netherlands, United States and Venezuela, have been confirmed as the National Team participants in the Sixth Women’s Baseball World Cup, that goes Sept. 1-7 in Miyazaki.