Two Armstrong girls and two from Sicamous helped the Kelowna Heat bring home silver from the Western Canadian U18 Fastball Championships in Lloydminter, Sask.
Tova Turnbull from Armstrong played first base and also contributed as a designated hitter with her bunting prowess, and solid batting average.
“Tova was a big part of the team’s success with solid play on first base, getting a total of 32 outs through the weekend,” said Heat coach Boyd Tyerman.
Turnbull also finished the Westerns with a .357 batting average and a .471 on-base percentage.
Candice Vuong of Armstrong played third base and left field while finishing as one of the top four offensive players on the team (.375 batting average), and recorded three timely stolen bases.
“Candice was a huge asset with her speed and catching ability in the outfield, and her strong batting and base stealing,” said Tyerman
The Heat qualified for Westerns with a gutsy effort in Nanaimo two weeks earlier, placing fourth in the province.
The trip to the Westerns allowed the Kelowna Heat one last chance to close out the season with a medal, and they didn’t disappoint.
Kelowna had a 3-1 record through the round-robin, while outscoring there competition 37 to 25. Nanaimo surprised them with a nail-biting 6-5 decision at the start of the play-offs.
The loss sent the Heat down the longer path to fight back into medal contention.
The girls dug deep and won their next three games in convincing style, 8-0 over St. Albert, Alta, 13-3 against Manitoba #2 (13-3) and a redemption 8-0 romp over Nanaimo which guaranteed the Heat at least a silver medal.
In their ninth game of the weekend, the girls faced the unbeaten #1 Manitoba team, the Manitoba Thunder, to determine the gold and silver winners.
Kelowna held the Thunder to a 2-2 tie until the Thunder’s offence came alive in the fourth inning, with a couple big hits to gain the lead.
Gina Selfe from Sicamous played as a pitcher. She tossed a high amount in two of the three games the Heat recorded shutouts.
Selfe posted the second-lowest ERA on the team, and second-highest for strikeouts, all while fighting off a sporadic lower-leg sprain.
Ann-Marie Crandlemire played as a pitcher and had been recovering from a leg injury sustained earlier in the year.
With the clearance to play, she posted one of the lowest runs against Tyerman has ever witnessed, with 15 strikeouts and countless innings with no earned runs.
The silver medal was the highest-ever finish for an Okanagan team at Westerns.
“All four of these North Okanagan-Shuswap girls spent hundreds of hours training and playing for 11 months a year, it’s great to see all their efforts culminate into a commanding performance and a silver medal finish,” said Tyerman.