UR Sports

Bytown Belles Finish Second at St. Catharines Open Tournament

Stephanie Manson

By Stephanie Manson

The Bytown Belles finished in second place among 13 teams at the St. Catharines open tournament this past weekend. The Belles feature several local Ottawa and Ottawa Valley players, coaches, and alumni of the University of Ottawa and other Ontario Intercollegiate Women's Fastpitch Association ("OIWFA") teams.

The Belles opened the tournament with a 6-0 win over Port Perry. Ottawa native Hayley Bennett scored the Belles' first run of the year and also drove in a run. This was Hayley's first competitive tournament since the birth of her three young children. Allison Hipgrave pitched the complete game shut out.

In the second game of the day Elissa Sivel, originally from Pembroke, pitched a complete game 1 hitter in the Belles 7-0 win over Brampton. Jean Cardona, also from Pembroke, and an Ottawa Valley Attack fastpitch alumni, pitched the third game of the day against the Brantford Bobcats Juniors. The Brantford Juniors are an elite squad with a history of success. The Belles came out strong with an early 2-0 lead before Brantford broke the game open scoring 11 unanswered runs off of Cardona, Hipgrave and Sivel. The final score was 11-2 for the Bobcats.

In the fourth game of the day the Belles faced Owen Sound. Cardona pitched six shutout innings and Hipgrave finished the game off in the seventh. The Belles scored four runs. As a result of this win, the Belles finished second in their pool and advanced to the semi-finals.

In the semis the Belles faced a Midget Tier 1 team - also from Brantford. The team featured athletes born in 1999 and 2000. Their youth could not help them as the crafty veterans scored 5 runs. Erin Durant of Ottawa (born in 1986) was 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored. Cardona started the game and Hipgrave pitched in relief giving up only one run between them.

The Belles had their rematch against the Bobcats in the finals. Cardona started the game with Hipgrave coming in as relief. The Belles had several hard hit balls but little luck. The Bobcats could only score 3 runs as the Belles played stellar defence led by former University of Ottawa shortstop Brye Corkum who made a tremendous diving catch followed by a laser throw to take away a sure hit up the middle. The game ended 3-0 in favour of the Bobcats.

The Belles had excellent pitching all weekend which was made possible thanks to solid catching from Ottawa teacher and Gee Gee softball assistant coach Stephanie Bouchey and Laurier graduate, and Laurier softball assistant coach, Amy Oliver.

The Belles will be coached throughout 2017 by Hal Whitcomb, Scott Searle and Matt Allen. The complete Belles roster includes:

Stephanie Manson
Stephanie Bouchey
Brye Corkum
Erin Durant
Jean Cardona
Alika Kingsbury
Stacey Austick
Leah Mark
Allison Hipgrave
Hayley Bennett
Elissa Sivel
Amy Oliver
Alicia Helmond

Amber O'Connor of Pembroke who caught for the Belles last year gave birth to her first son Mannix in April. The Belles hope to see them both as spectators this year.

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