UR Sports

Five Local Fastball Players win Silver at Provincial Championships

Stephanie Manson

By Stephanie Manson

In their inaugural season, the Bytown Belles brought home the silver medal at the Intermediate I Provincials in Chepstow, Ontario. The team features five players with connections to the Ottawa Valley: Amber O’Connor, Elissa Sivel and Jean Cardona from Pembroke, Erin Durant (originally from Prescott), who is married to Cobden baseball and softball player Brad Pender, and Stephanie Manson, whose family is originally from Killaloe.

The Bytown Belles started the tournament with a disappointing 1-3 record in the round robin, despite strong offensive performances by O’Connor and Durant and gutsy pitching performances by Cardona and Sivel.

Due to their slow start, the Belles found themselves in a sudden death tie-break game against the Whitby Eagles to advance to the playoff round early Sunday morning. Despite a 9-1 loss to the Eagles earlier in the tournament, the Belles mercied the Eagles 8-1 in only five innings. Durant was 3-4 on the game with a run scored, four RBIs and two triples.

In the semi-finals, the Belles faced the undefeated Windsor Wild. The Wild had beaten the Belles by a significant margin in round robin play. Jean Cardona came up big for the Belles in the semi-finals, pitching a complete game and holding the power-hitting Wild to only one run scored through seven innings. In the bottom of the seventh inning, O’Connor was the hero, hitting a double to the fence to score a runner from first base with one out. The Wild then loaded the bases on intentional walks before Brye Corkum hit a hard groundball at the pitcher, resulting in an error and the Belles beating the Wild in walk-off fashion.

The Belles then faced the hometown Chepstow Diamonds in the gold medal game. Cardona pitched in her second game of the day and delivered another excellent complete-game performance against a great hitting team. Unfortunately, the Belles' bats went cold and lost 4-1 and settled for the silver medal.

In addition to finishing with the silver medal, Belles pitcher Allie Hipgrave was named top pitcher of the tournament. The Belles opted out of attending the Canadian National Championships in O’Leary, Prince Edward Island from August 24-28. However, Durant and Sivel will be attending the tournament as pickups with the Whitby Eagles.

Photo (top): Provincial Silver Medalists, Bytown Belles
Back row (left to right): Erin Durant, Elissa Sivel, Stacey Austick, Stephanie Manson, Lisa Ryerson, Shelby Robblee, Leah Mark, Allie Hipgrave
Front row (left to right): Hal Whitcomb (head coach), Shawna Niskanen, Brye Corkum, Jean Cardona, Stephanie Bouchey, Amber O'Connor
Not pictured: Dustin Whitcomb (coach) and Tasha Doucette

Photo (left): Local softball players Amber O'Connor, Erin Durant, Jean Cardona and Elissa Sivel

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