BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN
Members of the U-14 South Interlake Phillies celebrate their win over the Smitty’s Terminators at Simplot Millennium Park on Sunday.
The Westman Magic watched their early-game leads disappear one too many times over the weekend as they failed to make the playoffs at the under-14 A girls’ provincial softball championship at Simplot Millennium Park.
The Magic, who led every game after two innings, evened their record at 1-1 on Saturday with a 9-0 victory over the Winnipeg Lightning and needed to beat the South Interlake Phillies later in the day to force a tiebreaker in their pool. Westman grabbed 4-0 lead through 2 1/2 innings, but the Phillies rallied for seven runs in the next three innings and went on to an 8-6 victory, dashing the championship hopes of the Magic.
While Westman had a chance to win its final round robin game, it’s Friday’s 6-5 loss that still sticks out in head coach Jason Slator’s mind.
"The first game against the Thunder is the one that really stings," said Slator, whose team held a 5-0 advantage in that contest. "We had a lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning and unfortunately we made uncharacteristic errors and they came wanting to win it. The other games were anybody’s games and we were unlucky in the field sometimes."
Morgan Neufeld hit a home run and scored twice, while Brooke Roach tripled and scored twice for the Magic in their lone victory during the tournament. Arjana Eilers had a pair of hits and scored twice in the loss to the Phillies, while Roach had a pair of triples and a run scored.
It was a disappointing finish for the Magic, who had their eyes on a medal going into the event, and Slator hated that they couldn’t come through when it mattered most.
"Whether you’re at home or away, you always want to reach your potential," he said. "Other than one kind of bad inning that fell apart for us, I think we had a successful weekend. Without that inning, we probably would have been moving on.
"When you take a day or two off and reflect back, we had a fairly successful year with wins and losses. I think the most important part is we enjoyed being together as a team and the kids had a great season in that aspect. That’s the thing I look at most for the most successful part of our season."
Meanwhile, the Phillies went on to shock the province by beating the previously unbeaten Smitty’s Terminators in the final.
Kyra Shewchuk had a pair of hits and scored two runs for the Phillies as they edged the Terminators 5-3 in Sunday’s championship game. Rikki Frost-Hunt reached base three times and scored once for the Phillies, while Jasmyn Watt had three hits and scored a run for the Terminators, who had not lost a game all season.
South Interlake took the long road to the final. After topping its pool with a 3-0 record, it lost the 1-vs.-1 Page playoff game 8-1 to the Terminators before topping the Manitoba Angels 10-1 in the semifinals to earn a rematch with provincial bragging rights on the line.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 21, 2014