Although the vast majority of the players on the team had never played fastball before this season, the U12 Duncan RiverCats looked like experienced veterans as they captured the Island regional championship in Langford in late June.
The RiverCats beat their arch-rivals from Cordova Bay 10-2 in the tournament final on June 29 to cap off an amazing run. Pitchers Katie Murphy and Mya Rosenlind combined for a onehitter in the title game.
"Murphy and Rosenlind pitched unbelievable for us all weekend, but this is a team sport and it took 12 girls to work together through heat and backto-back games," coach Kevin Olender said. "This team loves to play for each other and it showed this weekend."
Trailing by one after the first inning, the RiverCats got on the scoreboard in the second with three runs. Marissa St. Amand and Rylee Smith hit singles, and Mackenzie Wildy was clutch with a twoout hit that scored two runs.
"That key two-out two-run single by Mackenzie took a little air out of Cordova Bay’s sails," Olender said.
Runs in the third and fourth put the Duncan team ahead 5-1. Cordova Bay scored once in the bottom of the fourth, and were pushing for more when Kevannah Thorne came up with the play of the game. With one out and a runner on third, Thorne snagged a ball at shortstop and fired the ball home to St. Amand, who tagged out the Cordova Bay runner to end the inning.
Sparked by Thorne’s defensive gem,
the RiverCats scored five more runs in the fifth on singles by Wildy, Rosenlind and Anna Beauchamp to seal the deal.
Duncan blazed through round-robin play on June 28 undefeated, reaching double digits in every game. They opened with a 19-3 win over Nanaimo, with Murphy and Rosenlind splitting pitching duties. Beauchamp was 3-for-3, while Mary Murphy and Brooklyn Lang were both 2-for-3, Lang hitting a pair of triples.
That afternoon, the RiverCats beat Langford 17-6 as Beauchamp again went 3-for-3 and scored twice. Smith and Katie Murphy had two hits apiece, while Wildy, Beauchamp, Mary Murphy and Sierra Screaton each had two runs.
The RiverCats closed out the round robin with a 15-0 win over Ladysmith.
Thorne set the tone early with a two-run homer in the first inning, and the team never looked back. Lang went 2-for-2, while Rosenlind, Mary Murphy, Paiton Douglas and Hailey Weremi were all 1-for-2 with two runs. Katie Murphy, Rosenlind and Wildy shared the work on the mound.
Seeded first after the round robin, the RiverCats got a bye into the semifinals, where they played Parksville, who defeated View Royal in the quarters.
Although Duncan mustered just three hits against Parksville, the pitching, led by Katie Murphy’s three strong innings, got them through with a 10-5 victory. Mary Murphy broke open the tight game in the second with a tworun double, and Smith followed it with a two-run single of her own.