Attack fourth at nationals 0
Submitted photo The Ottawa Valley Attack placed fourth at the national junior fastball championships in Truro, Nova Scotia recently. Team members are (back left to right): Kiley O’Connor, Bob O’Connor, Grace Lonergan, Aisha O’Connor, Shawn O’Connor, Nadine D’Entremont, Emily Atkinson-Jones, Jean Cardona and Brian Godin; (front left to right) Tawny Godin, Kelly Meek, Bronwyn Ferguson, Michelle Miller, Vic Rumph and Ashley Terrell.
The girl’s fastball team from the Ottawa Valley, the Attack, headed to Truro, Nova Scotia last week to battle the top tier I Junior teams in Canada for the national championship. In nine tightly contested games the girls fought their way to a fourth place finish in the event.
In their first game against the Nova Scotia Storm the Attack showed they meant business. They used a solid defence to score a 4–1 win in a tightly played game. Jean Cardona picked up the win allowing four hits and striking out six batters. Grace Lonergan and Kiley O’Connor led the offence with two hits apiece. Aisha O’Connor and Lonergan started things off by hitting singles and scoring in the first inning for an early 2-0 lead. A pinch-hit single in the sixth inning by Bronwyn Ferguson was the big hit of the game and increased the lead from 2-1 to 4-1.
In game two the Attack faced the New Brunswick Juniors and produced another close 4-1 win. Ashley Tyrrell picked up the win allowing four hits and striking out 11 batters. Tawny Godin and Vic Rumph had two runs-batted- in each in the game. Cardona and Lonergan each contributed two hits apiece.
In game three the Valley girls played the Edmonton Warriors and won 5-0. Cardona pitched a complete game three-hitter and struck out five batters. In this game Rumph contributed three hits and Nadine D’Entremont produced two runs-batted-in. Michelle Miller, Kelly Meek and Godin also contributed key hits in the Attacks’ offence.
The fourth game was between the Attack and the Saskatoon Synergy. Another tight game had the Attack lose 1-0 in a pitchers’ duel. Tyrrell was the tough luck loser, pitching a great three-hitter for the Valley girls and striking out seven Saskatoon batters. The infield of Meek, D’Entremont, A. O’Connor and Emily Atkinson-Jones was terrific in support of Tyrrell. The Attack only produced three singles by K. O’Connor, Cardona and Meek.
The team next faced the Newfoundland Selects. Cardona and A. O’Connor combined for a one-hitter in the pitchers’ circle leading the Attack to an 11-0, five-inning win. Lonergan and A. O’Connor had three hits apiece for the Attack offensively.
In the sixth and final round- robin game of the Junior Tier I national championships, the competition was Team British Columbia. This game ended up being the most exciting game so far in the tournament. What ensued was an extra inning 5-4 nail-biter that was won by Team B.C. in eight innings. Tyrrell, pitching for the Attack, did a great job keeping the potent B.C. lineup in check throughout the game. She was aided by a superb defensive game by the OVA outfield. K. O’Connor, Godin and Ferguson all made exceptional catches to keep the game close, but Ferguson’s diving catch in the sixth inning with two runners on was the highlight of the evening. Offensively, Lonergan, Tyrrell and Ferguson had runs batted in while A. O’Connor, Godin, Meek and Ferguson scored the runs.
The Attacks’ record of four wins and two losses was good for third place in their pool, and they started the playoff round with no room for error as one loss and their nationals were over. A tournament all-star team was chosen after the round-robin and the OVA was well represented. Grace Lonergan was chosen as the all-star catcher and Vic Rumph as the all-star utility player. Both players played well both offensively and defensively and were very deserving of the honours.
In the first elimination game the Attack faced the Saskatoon Coop G-Force from the other pool. Cardona entered the pitchers circle and produced a tight 2-1 win. She allowed seven hits and had eight strikeouts. Cardona and Miller scored the runs while Rumph and Cardona had the RBI’s.
In playoff game two the opposition was the powerful Manitoba Smittys Terminators. Tyrrell again pitched well and led the Attack to a 4-2 win in scattering six hits. Rumph with three hits and Godin with two led the offence for the Valley girls. The win meant the team would play for a bronze medal on Sunday morning against their provincial rivals, Brantford Bobcats.
Day five and game #9 at the nationals proved to be the end for the Ottawa Valley Attack. Brantford scored early and often on their way to an 11-0 mercy rule win. The Attack had left everything they had on the field during the previous four days and eight games, and the tank was empty. Atkinson-Jones and Meek had the only hits for the Attack in the game.
The young first-year junior team’s first national championship tournament ended with a fourth place finish. Their six wins at nationals showed they belonged there. Their only losses came against the three medal winners (Brantford-gold, Team B.C.-silver and Saskatoon Synergy-bronze). The team’s core group has two more years of eligibility in the junior division, so more possibilities are still out there for this team.
The season is now complete for the Attack, having played 45 games – winning 38 and losing 7. Two tournament wins (Ancaster and Niagara Falls) a silver at the Tier I Junior Provincials and a fourth place finish at the nationals has provided a ton of memories for this dedicated team.