Volume 12 Week 5

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

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Tim Tierney

 

(Posted 8 a.m., Aug. 29)
Orléans Rebels softball team wins provincial championship

By Fred Sherwin
OrleansOnline.ca

For the first time in a long time, a softball team from Orléans has been crowned provincial champs.

The Orléans Rebels midget girls team recently accomplished the feat at the Ontario Select Softball Tournament Association (OSSTA) provincial champ-ionship held in Brantford on Aug 19-20.

The Orléans Rebels U19 midget select team pose with championship banner after winning the OSSTA provincial championship earlier this month. In no particular order the team roster consists of Emilie Curriere, Vanessa Laporte, Kenzie Dicks, Kylie Forth, Olivia Gault, Sarah Gervais, Sofie Leduc, Chloe Malette, Claudia Sleigh and Dominque Vachon. PHOTO SUPPLIED

The Rebels started the two-day tourna-ment with a 7-7 tie against Erindale, but then reeled off two straight wins over Topham Park (9-7) and Mallorytown (12-2) to finish in first place in their divi-sion after round robin play.

They rode the momentum of their round robin success into their opening playoff game against Waterloo who they beat 7-4 after falling behind early 3-0 and then 4-2.

The Rebels had to put on their rally caps again in the semi-finals. After falling behind 2-0 to Martingrove, they managed to battle back to win 5-4 and earn a spot in the gold medal game against North Bay.

Never ones to shirk from a challenge of their own making, the Rebels spotted the Northern Ontario team a 4-1 lead before battling back to tie the game at 5-5 and force an extra inning.

The tournament uses international rules which allows each team to start their half of the extra inning with a runner on second base. Playing at the top of the inning, the Rebels were able to bring their runner around on a wild pitch to break the deadlock. They would add two more runs during their at bat and then shut North Bay down in the bottom of the inning to preserve the win and claim the gold medal.

The team is actually a collection of players from the Orléans Amateur Fastball Association’s four midget House League teams with a couple of add-ons needed to round out the roster.

The core of the team, which consists of six Orléans girls, and one player each from Rockland, Vars, Ottawa and Stittsville, won a pair of provincial bantam championships in 2016.

In the lead up to the OSSTA tournament, the team finished third at a tournament in Whitby, and then went undefeated through the round robin portion of a tournament in Port Perry before losing their first playoff game.

The team’s success is remarkable con-sidering the limited pool of players they get to draw from. According to the team’s assistant coach, Ken Sleigh, many of the teams they play against in the Toronto area and Southern Ontario have league two and three times the size of the OAFA.

Sleigh is hoping the midget team’s success and that achieved by the U16 bantam team this season will encourage more girls in the area to take up the sport.

“It’s a great team sport and you can play it at both the recreational or competitive level,” says Sleigh..

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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