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West Kootenay Rebels capture provincial softball title

West Kootenay Rebels win gold, go undefeated at the U17C Girls BC Softball Championships
The West Kootenay Rebels won the U17C BC Softball Championships in Kamloops on Sunday. Players include Averi Handley, Emily Hansma, Grayce Ratcliffe, Kaitlyn Langman, Kendra Stavast, Maddie Riley, Natasha Holland, Sydney Dobie, Taylor Jessup and Zoe Davies. Coaches are Diane Langman and Cindy Fontaine. Missing Morgan Stoutenburg. Photo: Mitch Dobie

The West Kootenay Rebels are the U17C girls 2022 BC Softball Champions.

The Rebels have been nothing short of spectacular this season, winning tournaments in Kamloops, Kelowna, and Surrey, and closing out their 2022 campaign with the provincial title in Kamloops on July 3.

“It was so amazing,” said Rebels head coach Diane Langman. “They had one game that they tied and the rest of the games they won all season.”

Langman says the West Kootenay team was hopeful heading into provincials, but not overconfident as there were a number of unknowns.

“Everybody had to play off to go to provincials from the different districts, so we knew we were going to be facing stronger teams and especially the ones from the Island. We hadn’t seen any of them before, so we weren’t sure what we were going to be up against.”

The Rebels went undefeated through the tournament round robin, setting up a match against the North Saanich Peninsula Thunder in the semifinal.

The Rebels played the semifinal game in pouring rain, setting up a challenging match up with a dramatic finish.

“The first inning was pretty shaky, we were down 4-0 and we had to battle back,” said Langman. “It was 5-4, and then in the last inning we ended up getting four runs.”

West Kootenay won the semifinal 8-5, booking their spot in the provincial final.

The Rebels played the Thunder again in the final, after Peninsula beat Ridge Meadows in the bronze medal match, earning another shot at gold.

This time the West Kootenay Rebels jumped out to a 5-1 lead after the first inning. Then in the second, Zoe Davies stepped up and belted an out of the park grand slam home run to extend the lead to 9-1.

The Thunder scored two to cut the lead to 9-3, when Davies belted another home run for a 10-3 walk off win in the bottom of the inning. The game was called due to the seven-run mercy rule after five innings.

Rebels pitcher Averi Handley pitched four innings and struck out 10, while Kaitlyn Langman came on in the fifth to close out the game.

Davies also won the home run derby at the opening ceremonies, hitting five homers out of Charles Anderson Stadium.

The provincial title brings the Rebels season to an end, and while half the team will be advancing to U19, the other half will look to repeat in 2023.

“I expect we will continue to battle it out for sure,” said Langman.

Read: Rebels strike gold at Kamloops tournament

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Jim Bailey

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