Feb 01, 2023 | Dan Ridsdale | 58 views
ONTARIO RURAL SOFTBALL CHAMPS
The U19 Goderich Seahawks Girls Softball Club travelled to Crediton on August 2oth to participate in their first Ontario Rural Softball Association (O.R.S.A.) Championships.
In a one-day, double elimination tournament, the locals went on to win the provincial title. For over a decade, these young Women have carried a fairly heavy burden - a constant challenge to carry the torch to promote and develop the all-female softball game in Goderich.
At the tournament, Goderich knew one of their two opponents very well as the Exeter Extreme were Huron Perth Fastball League U21 Division rivals all season long.
The Seahawks opened the event with a 9 a.m. game versus the Extreme. Paige Willie was given the start, and the hard throwing Belgrave righty did not disappoint. Willie was able to keep the Extreme hitters off balance all game. Willie tossed a three-hitter striking out nine in cruising to the 11-5 victory.
Offensively, Payton Swan did a good job in the lead-off spot with a three-run homer to deep left. However, the majority of the damage was done by the middle of the line-up as Emily Hartin, Sadie Squires and Katie Ridsdale combined for seven R.B.I.'s.
With this victory, the Seahawks only had 15 minutes to prepare for their next opponent from Norwich/Otterville. Playing out of the South Oxford Fastball League, the Otters were an unknown ball club to the Seahawks.Swan was on the mound for Goderich, and the veteran Seahawk hurler was flawless in her two innings of work. Squires and Janelle Ditner rounded out the pitching duties in preserving the shut-out 23-0 rout.
Offensively, the performance of four for five, four R.B.I.'s by Grace Taylor and Swan were overshadowed by a dominant four for five, one home-run, seven R.B.I. effort by Emily Hartin. Other notable offensive plays were a fantastic sacrifice bunt from Kate Johnston, and the continual unselfish play of Jaimy Langille with another right side R.B.I. grounder.
The Seahawks had a few hours to wait for the championship, which would see their opponent have to beat them twice in a row to deny them the provincial crown. The Extreme were their opponents, once again, and the Seahawks sent game two winner Swan to the mound in what they hoped would be a nice clean victory.
Exeter jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on a pair of solid hits in the top of the first. However, the Seahawks batted around in the home half, sending twelve batters to the plate and taking an 8-2 lead. The Extreme grabbed one of those runs back in their half of the second on a pair of solid hits, but Goderich extended their lead to 13-3 soon after as Taylor, Ditner, Martin, Willie, and Swan all scored.
The Extreme made it 13-5 after three innings, setting the stage for an epic Seahawk implosion in the fourth as they gave up 11 runs on nine hits and three errors, which saw their comfortable lead evaporate into a 16-13 deficit. Willie came into the game to take over the mound duties from Swan. Once the Seahawks were able to escape the Extreme barrage, they got right back to work as Willie clubbed a triple to the fence. Langille delivered Willie home with an R.B.I. single. Emma Robinson then crushed a mammoth two-run homer to left field to tie the game.
Following a Ridsdale single, Taylor pounded out a double scoring Ridsdale to give the Seahawks a narrow 17-16 lead heading into the final few innings.
Willie stranded a pair of Extreme runners in the fifth and Hartin scored in the home half extending the lead. Willie, who was exhausted in the heat, gave up a trio of Exeter base hits, but the Seahawks got a huge lift when Taylor threw a perfect strike to Ridsdale at the plate on a left field relay to tag the runner at the plate. Earlier in the game, Robinson had expertly performed a similar tag at the plate, which was another huge play in this game.
Goderich was able to grab the insurance run they needed when Robinson and Ridsdale were moved, once again, with precision by a Johnston sacrifice bunt. Robinson eventually was plated as the catching duo of Robinson and Ridsdale did a fantastic job on this day.
The top half of the seventh saw Willie battle through major fatigue, and when Taylor flipped a ground ball to Robinson at second for the final out, the Seahawks had dragged themselves off of the mat in a slugfest to claim the O.R.S.A. Provincial Crown with a 19-17 victory.