Capping off a perfect season, the Sooke Stealers U14 girls fastball team won gold at the provincial championships on Sunday.
“Wow, your girls can sure hit,” someone said to Dawn Riddell as they watched the Stealers fight for another win.
“They sure can! We didn’t know that,” Riddell answered. The players kept getting better with each game, impressing their coaches and earning the top spot in the province.
“We didn’t know how they’d be, a small-town team going to the mainland. We had a great season, but it’s different here on the South Island.”
Even the parents were a little intimidated by the other teams their girls were up against.
But the Stealers fought for every win, losing just one of 10 games that weekend. They lost to the Kamloops Vipers in a nail-biting game ending 10-9 Sunday morning, but when they matched again for the semi-final, the Stealers eked out an 8-6 win, sending the Vipers to the bronze medal game.
The Stealers played the Fleetwood Falcons for gold, and won with a resounding 12-5 score.
The team hosted and won regionals the weekend before, and scrambled to fundraise and plan a trip to Abbotsford for provincials the next week. Sooke rallied behind the team, donating bottles and generous cash contributions.
The team MVP for the first four games were Bre Baker, catcher; Hannah Gillie, pitcher and third base; Madison Riddell, pitcher and third base; and Scarlett Snyder, who played all over.
The team was coached by Dale Riddell, Carly Gillie and Erin Haldane.
Players at provincials were: Bre Baker (#12), Averie Cameron (#32), Niya Clarkston (#13), Willow Daniels (#4), Danika Gant (#16), Hannah Gillie (#10), Charlotte Prill (#3), Carlee Rear (#44), Madison Riddell (#28), Scarlett Snyder (#8), Julia Street (#22) and Lily Woodruff (#6).
Other fastball teams in Sooke have also had a great season. The U10 team won gold at districts and the U12 team won bronze (there isn’t a provincial tournament for those age brackets), and the U16 tournaments are still ahead.
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