COCHRANE— The Cochrane Rebels U16 girls' softball team wrapped up its season with a city championship game and a silver medal win on Wednesday (July 28) at the GlenEagles Ball Diamonds.
The Rebels played back-to-back games against the Chestermere Crushers who only suffered one defeat all season long to the Rebels in the semi-finals.
The Rebels also went undefeated, before losing the first game in a close competition when the Crushers made an impressive comeback, scoring five runs in the final inning and winning the game 10-9, forcing the second game to be played in the double-elimination tournament.
In the second game, the Crushers won a decisive 9-0 victory.
“They were really exciting,” head coach Kristy de Vos said of the games. “I love the intensity and stuff. Our first game was amazing, everybody played hard and played with their hearts. The second game … We didn’t have the same intensity that Chestermere did.”
De Vos said a combination of Chestermere being strong at-bat, stealing bases on Cochrane and the lack of intensity led to the losses, but she was still proud of how the Rebels played and how they dealt with the loss.
“They reacted really well and really positively. I’m really proud of our girls,” she said. “We took silver and that’s amazing, especially for a COVID year. This year has been tough for us.”
De Vos explained that the team did not expect to play a full season, but thought they were in for another development-only season.
“The girls hadn’t played in over a year, there were no skill sessions, we didn’t have any winter camps, none of that,” she said. “All of a sudden some of the restrictions lifted.”
She said a vote was held to see if teams would opt-in to play until the end of July, which the Rebels voted in favour of.
Usually, the team fields 12 players but accepted a few additional girls this year expecting to be able to practice. After the season was given the go-ahead, the Cochrane Rebels ended up with an oversized 15-person roster, which means roughly six girls have to sit every inning and end up cold going into the next inning.
Given their circumstances, de Vos said, her team exceeded her expectations.
“A lot of our core team was the original Rebels that we’ve been with for a few years, just to throw in a bunch of new girls that played on different teams last year, to build their skill set and get to where we did yesterday against Chestermere … It was amazing for sure,” she said. “I’ve always had high expectation of our girls because they work hard at practices and they try hard and play with a lot of heart … It warms my heart.”
The goal of the program is always to have fun first and foremost, build relationships and enjoy the game which the Rebels accomplished, de Vos said.
The girls will get a small break, but will be back in skill development workshops during the winter months to get ready for next season.