Fruitvale’s Daniella Matteucci pitched Team BC to a thrilling 9-8 victory over Ontario Sunday to win gold at the Senior Women’s Canadian Baseball Championship in Red Deer, and secure a spot on the National Team roster.
The tournament hosted Sr. Women’s all-star teams from BC, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, as well as a Team Canada Prospects squad that included another Fruitvale baseball phenom in 14-year-old Allison Schroder.
Team BC went through the round robin undefeated, with a 4-0 win over Ontario to start the championship tournament on Thursday, a 7-2 victory over the Prospects team followed by a 7-0 shut out of Team Alberta Friday, and 8-3 victory over Quebec Saturday. As the top seed, BC played Quebec in the semifinal and, on the strength of a 3-for-4 outing and a two RBI triple by Matteucci, went on to win 7-2. The win set up the final match against Ontario, a team that defeated Alberta 6-2 in the other semifinal earlier in the day.
After jumping out to an 8-2 lead, Matteucci took the mound in the fourth inning in relief of starter Claire Eccles. But four unearned runs in the top of the fourth put Ontario back in the match and another in the top of the fifth brought the eastern team to within one.
In the top half of the seventh inning, Ontario’s Brittany Chan singled to left with one out to score Melissa Meyer and tie the game. But with the go-ahead run on second base, Matteucci bore down and struck out Kathryn Kennaley and Kate Psota to end the threat. With one out in the bottom of the seventh and Paige McDonnell and Matteucci on first and second, Niki Boyd’s single to right loaded the bases setting the stage for Team BC’s Amanda Asay. With two strikes, the Ontario pitcher threw inside and hit BC’s second basemen to score the walk-off winning run and give BC the championship.
Matteucci struck out seven batters while ceding two earned runs in the final, and was a force on the mound and at the plate. She batted .348, going 8-for-23, scored seven runs with four RBIs, and two stolen bases. Matteucci also went 2-0 on the mound, pitching 11 innings and giving up 12 hits and four earned runs with six walks and 10 strike outs for a 2.54 ERA.
As a result, the 23-year-old was again named to Team Canada on Monday, and leaves today for Gijang City, Korea for the WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup from Sept. 3-11.
“The coaching staff is very pleased with the make-up of our roster,” said Women’s National Team Manager André Lachance in a release. “We’re fortunate that the majority of our players have Pan Am Games and World Cup experience and will know what to expect once we get to Korea. The veterans will be counted on as leaders for some of our younger players … Our expectation is to be very competitive once the tournament begins.”
Matteucci was also part of last year’s Team Canada that captured silver at the Pan Am Games in Toronto.
As for Schroder, she was one of two players from BC playing for the Team Canada Prospects squad that was made up of female baseball players age 18 and under from across Canada. While the team did not win a game, Schroder performed well and led the team in hits, 6, and at bats, 15, while hitting .400 in the four games.
“They were up against strong competition every game, but it’s the experience,” said Allison’s father Pete Schroder, who attended the event. “She’s definitely holding her own. But it’s just a fantastic experience, and the friends she’s making from all over Canada, that’s pretty unique.”