Eastern Ontario Fastball Blog

A blog dedicated to news about the Greater Ottawa Fastball League and other happenings in the world of fastball / fastpitch softball in eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with occasional stories featuring Mrs Fitzroy Fastball, Fitzroy Fastball Junior and the Caveman. If you have info to send on, send me an email at fastball[at]fitzroyharbour.com. Follow @fitzroyfastball on Twitter.

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Monday, July 29, 2019

U16 Stittsville 56ers Earn Bronze at Qualifier

U16 Stittsville 56ers Earn Bronze at Qualifier
Will Attend Tier II “A” Provincial after Receiving Great Support from Local Softball Community

By Erin Durant

The u16 Stittsville 56ers: Top row, left to right: Carolyn Harman (coach), Jordyn LeBoutillier, Hailey Armstrong, Alison Roach, Sydney Watts, MacKenzie Bresee, Delaney Johnston, Kate Parks. Bottom row, left to right: Erin Durant (coach), Mikaylee Driver, Avery Smith, Paige Galbraith, and Brianna Flowers. Hiding in the back: coaches Brad Pender and Dale Aiken. Missing: Emmy Lecour, Jayde Shouldice and Lee Watts (manager/taker of this picture).

This past weekend the  u16 Stittsville 56ers finished third at the provincial qualifier tournament and will represent the Ottawa area, and all of Eastern Ontario, at the “A” Provincial Qualifier from August 8 – 12 in Stratford, Ontario. Although the team formally represents Stittsville, the team’s athletes live throughout the region including Stittsville, Kanata, Mountain, Winchester, Vars, Kinburn, Carp, and North Gower.

The 56ers are sponsored by Platinum Sponsor Sleepwell Property Management  as well as Beans Chevrolet, Ken White Construction, Upper Canada Elevators, the BLG Foundation, lawyer Larry Elliot, Ram Electric, Shouldice Mechanical, Ottawa-Nepean Canadians Sports Club,  Kanata Sports Club and the Water Depot. Their success this season would not be possible without the financial support from these great local businesses and many within the local softball community, as is discussed further below.

Tournament Recap

The 56ers started the tournament strong with a win Friday evening over the Oshawa Shamrocks 5-1. Avery Smith led the offence with three hits, two RBIs and a run scored. Sydney Watts was dominant in the pitching circle, striking out 14 batters while giving up only 1 walk and 4 hits in 7 complete innings.

Saturday the 56ers drew the strong Aurora Diggers team and managed an impressive 7-0 win after 7 innings. Watts again had the ball for the 56ers and threw a complete came shut out. The 56ers played excellent defence making no errors and holding the Aurora batters to no runs and stranding 6 base runners. The 56ers had 11 hits and all 56ers batters reached base safely at least once. Delaney Johnston led the offensive charge with two hits, two runs scored and two RBIs. Hailey Armstrong was the underrated hero of this game keeping the starters fresh and “fired up” with her positive attitude and non-stop cheering on the bench.

The 56ers then won their third straight game against the Whitby Eagles 10-5. Jordyn LeBoutillier and Sydney Watts combined for the win with LeBoutillier starting and finishing the game and Watts eating up innings in the middle. Every 56er had at least one hit in the game, 7 batters scored runs and 7 batters hit in RBIs in a well-rounded team effort. Offensive leaders included Johnston who batted 3/4 with an RBI and a run scored, Watts and Paige Galbraith who each had two RBIs, and Smith, Brianna Flowers and MacKenzie Bresee who each scored twice. Smith also made a fantastic sliding catch for the second out of the 7th inning which was followed by a statement strikeout by LeBoutillier to end the game. The win over Whitby guaranteed the 56ers a place in the undefeated game and a spot in the “A” Provincial Championship.

On Saturday night, the 56ers played their third game of the day against Oakville. The 56ers had a very tough start to the game by giving up 6 runs in the 1st and 2nd innings after a number of defensive errors. They settled in to “win” the rest of the game 1-0 but, unfortunately lost the contest 12-1. Galbraith made her first pitching appearance of the tournament in relief of LeBoutillier and allowed no earned runs through four innings pitched. Alison Roach scored the 56ers only run of the game after a triple in the 5th inning which was followed by a base hit by Bresee.

On Sunday the 56ers faced the Diggers again, with the winner moving on to face Oakville in the gold medal game. The 56ers led the game 5-2 before giving up 4 runs in the 6th inning and not being able to come back in the 7th – losing a heartbreaker 6-5 The 56ers committing a number of errors early in this tough game but fought back by making very big outs to keep control of the game until late. Watts pitched the complete game for the 56ers giving up 7 hits and 4 earned runs. Johnston, Bresee and Mikaylee Driver each had two hits for the 56ers. Watts helped her own cause with two RBIs and Driver added another RBI. The loss earned the 56ers the bronze medal. The Diggers went on to defeat Oakville in the finals. All three teams plus Waterloo qualified for the “A” Provincials.

Other notable individual performances from the weekend included Kate Parks who threw out 5 baserunners (arguably 6…) and caught every game for the 56ers over a very hot weekend.  Armstrong also made her long-awaited return to active duty after suffering a serious injury to her knee early in the season. Armstrong had two very strong pinch hit at-bats.

The 56ers were missing Jayde Shouldice and Emmy Lecour. Lecour is currently competing at the u16 European Championships with Team France. Both athletes will be back to help their team at the Provincials. 

The other teams who have qualified for the “A” provincials are Brantford, Oakville, Milton, Lucan, Brampton, Springfield, Kawartha Lakes, Aurora, Vaughn, Palmerston and Waterloo. The medalists at the Provincial Championship have the option of representing Ontario at the Eastern Ontario Championships August 22-25 in Whitby.

A Few Words of Thanks

It has been very heartwarming this year to see so many local softball enthusiasts come together to support this team in a variety of ways.

The 56ers are the only u16 tier II competitive team east of Napanee and finding local competitive opportunities is a huge challenge. The team is grateful to teams from other divisions who provided quality local competition as we prepared for the Qualifier including the Ottawa Valley Fastball women’s league (Carp Cubs, Quyon Flyers, and u19 Ottawa South Angels), u 14 West Carleton boys,  u19 Cornwall Chaos,  u16 Tier 1 Kingston Jr. Gaels who organized an early-season game day in Kingston, and Lac St. Louis and Riv Sud who travelled to Stittsville for some great games.

The 56ers are also thankful to have received support from a number of coaches and players during our tryouts, winter training and during our season. Special thanks to Al Read, Kevin Daize, Steph Bouchey, Scott Searle, Elissa Sivel, Bruce Casselman, Ken Naylor (NCCP certifications) and Nick Ellis. The team is also supported by the SMSA executive.

Finally, the team would like to thank the local umpires who worked with our pitching staff to understand the rule changes for this year at our practices and during exhibition games. I am happy to report that not a single illegal pitch was thrown!

We hope to call on some of you for additional support as we prepare for the Provincial Championships. Thank you all.

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