Surprise run sends Duncan RiverCats to fifth place at provincials

TheRiverCats were the last Island team standing as they finished fifth at the provincial U16C softball championships last weekend.

The Duncan RiverCats were the last Island team standing as they finished fifth out of 16 teams at the provincial U16C softball championships in Cranbrook last weekend.

The RiverCats, who finished third at the Island championships in June, watched as the top two Island teams — both from Central Saanich — went home after round-robin play, while they got to stick around for the playoffs thanks to a 3-1 record in pool play.

The RiverCats lost their first playoff game on Saturday evening 9-0 to Enderby, the eventual gold medallists, but stayed alive in the double-knockout playoffs by edging past early tournament favourites Ridge Meadows 9-8 on Sunday morning.

“Ridge Meadows took the early lead but as the RiverCats had proven twice already, no lead was safe against them,”said Larry Hobday, who coached the team with Larry Squire and Jeff Hurford.

The RiverCats’ run came to an end later that day after a 14-5 loss to the eventual silver medallists, the Summerland Scorch.

The RiverCats went 3-1 in round-robin play to advance to the playoffs. They opened the tournament on Friday with a dramatic 10-9 win over Barriere. Duncan came back from a three-run deficit in the seventh inning to force extras, where they again fell behind by three only to win with four runs in the bottom of the eighth. Buoyed by that victory, the RiverCats trounced Coquitlam 21-6 later that day.

The team’s only loss in pool play came on Saturday morning as they fell to Summerland 8-4. That meant the RiverCats had to win their Saturday afternoon game to advance, and they accomplished that with another come-from-behind victory, edging North Shore 10-9.

“Cranbrook put on a great tournament and helped our girls create a lot of spectacular memories,” Hobday said. “We thought the heat would be a factor for our girls but they endured 30 degrees with no shade and took everything in stride to come out the other side better ballplayers from the experience.”

Team members included Jaime Needham, Lily Squire, Emma Lachman, Lauryn Morgan, Paige Hurford, Zoey Harkness, Ashley Quesnel, Corrie Southall, Drew Hobday, Alyssa Vancoughnett, Paige Rother and Saltspring Island pickup Emma Hambrook.