The U-14 Pee Wee Rep Fastball team went from zeroes to heroes at the Provincial A Fastball Championships at Royal Kwantlen Park in Surrey earlier this July. After dropping their first four round-robin games, Williams Lake got hot when it mattered and won their final two playoff games to win the championship.
It was an incredible turn around for Williams Lake as the same 100 Mile House team that humiliated them 19-4 in the round-robin they would end up defeating 15-14 in the gold medal game.
“We were not even supposed to win a game and everyone was calling us The Bad News Bears,” laughed coach Brad Alexander. “To end up winning was incredible.”
What made the result even more impressive was that the team was only formed a couple weeks prior to the competition.
“We didn’t form a team until the second weekend of June and we didn’t have a chucker at the time so we picked up Mason Richey from Terrace,” said Alexander.
By picking up an out-of-town player it forced the team to have to move up a division.
“Our pitching was solid with Mason (Richey) and we were able to get Matt Samson from town and he pitched strikes all weekend and did great.”
Both Richey and Samson split pitching duties during the round-robin portion which included losses to Fleetwood, North Surrey, Richmond and 100 Mile House.
Samson would take the pitching reigns for the playoff portion of the tourney beginning with their semi-final game against Sooke.
Williams Lake finally got things going with the bat and were beating them 15-5 after five innings so the mercy rule came into effect.
Catcher Brett Alexander had a great game and his strong arm behind the plate kept opposing runners from advancing.
Plenty of the team’s success came due to their ability to play small ball and use bunts and stolen bases to cash in runs.
“The final two games of the tournament we bunted a lot and stole every base we could,” said Alexander. “We had a 10-run rally in the third which started from an Eric Christianson lead off bunt.”
The win put the lakecity against 100 Mile House in Sunday afternoon’s final.
Williams Lake started off strong with a five-run first inning led off by Justice Noel. Defensive standouts in the final game included Jarryd Brucks, Dylan McNeil, Mason Richie, Jayden Morey and Alexander.
Richey had a big game at the plate with two homers a triple and a single and seven runs batted in.
100 Mile House eventually would come back to close the gap but Williams Lake hung on for a 15-14 win.
Alexander noted how the boys overcame a lot of injuries and adversity.
“Our kids were beat up, our pitcher Matt (Samson) hurt his shoulder in the third inning of the final so Mason (Alexander) went in for two innings then Matt came back in and toughed it out until the end of the game and we got the win,” said Alexander.
“They were all like warriors on the field.”
The team’s most valuable players on the weekend included Alexander, McNeil, Mason and Samson.
Williams Lake plans to return to defend their championship next year and they hope to pick up two players from Prince George.
In the skills competition Brucks won the longest throw with a 156-foot toss and Mason won the longest hit at 225 feet and Noel was second in the fastest running.