South Peace News
They did it the tough way but it made winning so much sweeter.
The Driftpile Rebels girl’s fastball team won the Alberta Indigenous Games Fastball Intermediate Class in Edmonton Aug. 16-17.
After losing their first game to the Maskwacis Athletics 12-6 on Aug. 16, the team dropped to the B Division in the true double knockout tournament. The team rallied to win their two other games on Aug. 16 and four straight on Aug. 17 to win the title.
“It was pretty much back-to-back,” says head coach Leonell Hamelin, who was assisted by Cory Gladue and Charlotte Giroux-Thunder.
On Aug. 16, the Rebels defeated Maskwacis 2 team 14-6 and the Dangerous Divas 19-14.
After a sleep, and knowing they had to run the table the next day, the Rebels caught fire. They defeated Maskwacis 2 14-6 and the Maskwacis Athletics 17-11 to set up a final against the undefeated Enoch Wildcats. The Rebels had to win twice and they did exactly that. The first game was 12-10 and the winner-take all final was 17-111.
Hamelin says the team was put together July 30. Because members were from Driftpile, Calling Lake and Sturgeon Lake, not everyone could attend practices.
“Karlee Gladue [of Calling Lake] did 90 per cent of the pitching,” says Hamelin. “We pushed Karlee to her limit and she responded.”
Hamelin says the team, comprised of girls born from 2001-03, was “off” the first game because they were not used to playing as a team. However, they quickly solved that problem and quickly gained momentum.
“For some of them it was their first game,” says Hamelin.
The jitters quickly wore off.
“They played above and beyond what I expected of them.”
An uphill battle was expected as Enoch and the Maskwacis teams played in a league and were battle ready.
“Some of our girls played fastball and some played baseball. They had to adjust.”
The big difference, says Hamelin, was they started making contact and forcing the opposition to play defence instead of striking out.
“They made good contact.”
Meanwhile, Gladue settled down and limited the walks, forcing the opposition to earn their way on base.
“We got a lot of walks,” says Hamelin. “One game, we walked the bases loaded, then got a hit and got two runs.”
Winning six straight after losing the opener was quite an accomplishment.
“It was a great experience to take a young group of girls,” says Hamelin.