Claremont secondary’s Kayla Saulnier threw every pitch to lead Layritz to 2017 Little League national championship in Calgary.
The Saanich based U16 team cruised undefeated to win the Canadian title in late July. It qualified the team for the World Series in Kirkland, Wash., where they finished eighth.
That Saulnier was able to throw a complete game every time out at nationals was a remarkable achievement in itself. It didn’t help that she was injured when they reached Washington, though Nicole Albhouse, the catcher who caught every pitch at nationals, said the injury wasn’t necessarily related to Saulnier’s workload in Calgary.
“[Saulnier] is really strong,” Albhouse said. “We don’t know how she got injured. When we got to the World Series she pitched anyways. We still hit the ball and put up runs but not enough, the hitting from other teams was a lot better than at nationals.”
Layritz did win one game at nationals, defeating the Netherlands’ team.
For the group, it was the first year playing Little League and the first trip to nationals for the team. They’ve come through the ranks of Baseball B.C. with Cordova Bay, playing B level softball. This year they played on both teams, wearing their traditional Cordova Bay colours while reserving Monday’s to play Little League with Layritz. The entire team is going into Grade 10, at either Claremont, Stelly’s secondary, Mount Douglas secondary and Spectrum Community School.
“[Nationals] was a fun experience, we had a lot of hitting and scored a lot of runs,” Albhouse said.
At the national championships, Layritz won every game by a lopsided score. Instead of full seven inning games, the opponents elected to end each game after just five innings, which permitted Saulnier to retake the mound for every start, said Albhouse, also a Claremont student.
Though Saulnier played the entire series, it wouldn’t have mattered if they went to their next pitcher, Alison Bobroske, Albhouse said.
“She’s just as good.”
But it was a next level experience at the World Series.
Albhouse’s twin sister Natasha, who plays outfield, said it was a nervewracking start to nationals for her. But just as the nerves burned away after their first win at nationals, they set in when they lost Game 1 at the World Series.
With a national title to their name, the Layritz Little League U16 women now age up to the next bracket. And they’ll be back.