Submitted by Jennifer Dickson
After a long awaited COVID pause on games/tournaments, the U14B West Kootenay Rebels Fastball team attended the U14B Summer Sizzle tournament in Kelowna the weekend of June 26 and 27.
It seems the break only made the girls hungrier for competition as they battled the extreme heat and superseded any expectations coaches Jen and Rocky Dickson could have had, placing third amongst 12 teams from all over the Okanagan and Lower Mainland.
During round robin play, the Rebels jumped out to a 14-4 fourth inning mercy rule victory over Kamloops thanks to Sasha Lok pitching a no-hitter, and the hot sticks of the Rebels batters, highlighted with a home run by Mya Griffiths.
The second game saw the Rebels facing the North Shore Stars.
The Stars jumped to an early lead 3-0 after 1. The WK sticks battled back to take the lead 5-4 after three innings, but errors would set the Rebels back as North Shore scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Rebels answered back with two runs in the fifth, but it wasn’t enough losing to North Shore 8-7, Heidi Conci pitching a great game.
The Rebels would need to win their last round robin game by seven in order to have a chance at the wildcard spot and getting into the four-team playoff round.
The final round robin game was against the Fleetwood Force. The Fleetwood defence shut the Rebels down in the top of the first inning, but it didn’t take long for the bats to open up as the Rebels scored the max five runs in both the second and third innings and then four in the fourth to end the game 14-5.
Naiomi Stavast would score three times in that game, along with Lok, Ivy Benbow and Mya Griffiths, scoring twice each. Lok pitched three innings only allowing one hit, and Conci came into close also only giving up one hit.
With that record, the WK Rebels earned a playoff spot, and were seeded against the first-placed Abbotsford Outlaws Sunday morning.
The Rebels bats were steady but not strong enough as the Outlaws overpowered them to take the 12-4 win.
The loss sent the Rebels to the Bronze medal game against the Ridge Meadows Rage.
The Rebels were putting the ball into play right off the start but the Rage defence was shutting them down. The Rage scored one run in each of the second, third and fourth innings, then three in the fifth to go up 6-1 going into the final inning of play.
The hitting fury was then unleashed as Sasha Lok stepped into the box with one out and hit a triple, Jaime D’Andrea followed that up reaching first on a Rage error, scoring Lok.
Makayla Gademans came through with a base hit, then with two runners on Alyssa Dickson cashed them in with a two-run double.
Griffiths kept the streak going with a base hit, then Lilli Mozak ripped a triple and was headed for home when the Rage shortstop and catcher made a great play to throw her out at the plate.
Two out, tie game, no runners on base and Stavast, whose bat had been on fire all weekend, steps up to the plate, rips a base hit, then crosses the plate to be the eventual game winning run, on Conci’s base hit.
Katie Hanham would reach first safely on a Rage overthrow, but the Rage made another great play at the plate to get Conci sliding in at home.
Rebels had the lead 7-6 going into the Rage last bats.
Lok struck out the first batter, the second batter would reach first on error, then Teagan Ortman made a great play at third base, to snatch up a one hopper slap bunt and throw the runner out at first base.
With one more out to go and a runner on second base, Lok gave the out to her defence as Dickson picked up a grounder and ran to tag first, beating the runner for the final out of the game.
The exciting comeback was an absolutely amazing finish to the weekend.
Coach Jen Dickson says she went into the weekend not knowing what to expect.
“Generally you don’t think you can compete with the coast teams that play double the amount of games that we do, are older than us, as their teams were made up of all second year players whereas the Rebels have four second year players,” Dickson said. “At the end of the day, our pitching was phenomenal and our hitting was out of this world, with seven batters hitting averages of over .460 for the weekend.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this group.”
The WK Rebels consist of players from Castlegar, Fruitvale, Trail and Salmo.