They went in with low expectations and marched away with a silver medal.
The Williams Lake U14 Loons minor fastball team performed the unthinkable at the recent BC Provincial ‘C’ Minor Fastball Championships in Clearwater July 12-15, battling close to 40-C weather through eight seven-inning games.
“Most of the teams there had played 30 games during their regular season,” said coach Niki Peever. “We played three.”
The team was formed late June and decided to try their hand at competitive ball. The provincial championships was the team’s first tournament.
No team from Williams Lake had participated in a provincial championship since 2000 when Williams Lake hosted the tournament at the Dave Means Ballpark.
At provincials Williams Lake joined eight other clubs from around the province — Clearwater, Richmond, Sooke, Merritt, North Surrey, Cloverdale, Prince George and Fleetwood. Unbeknownst to Williams Lake players initially, four of those teams were rep clubs.
In its first game the Loons met Richmond, one of the tournament favourites, falling 9-3. Trevor Moore was awarded team MVP.
“We played well,” Peever said. “It was a big challenge and we held in and didn’t let them get too far ahead. They were kind of shocked at how well we played.”
Game two saw Williams Lake down Sooke, 8-6.
“Chris Fontaine made two huge catches in the field,” she said. “The game was tied after six innings so we went to international rules.”
In international rules each team starts with a runner on second base and plays three more outs. Williams Lake scored two runs, and Sooke failed to answer back. Tyler Tenning, the team’s back catcher, was named game MVP.
Following that the team met a tough Fleetwood club.
“It was 6-0 for them in the third but we got one back in the fourth, then we scored five runs in the fifth to beat them 7-6,” Peever said. “Devon Hill, our first baseman, was MVP.”
Game four saw Cloverdale beat Williams Lake 12-5 with Brandon Moore awarded MVP.
“We were hot, tired and done for the day,” Peever said. “But we ended up having to play our first playoff game 20 minutes later.”
The Loons met Fleetwood once more for a single-elimination match, coming up big with a 10-1 win.
Sunday, they again beat Sooke, before advancing to the final to meet North Surrey.
There, they dropped a heartbreaker, 7-2, to claim the silver.
“We had lots of comments from their coaches about how well we played,” Peever said. “They really felt our kids showed up.
“Overall, the kids were thrilled.”
Next year the team advanced to bantam-aged play and invited anyone interested in playing competitive ball to join the Williams Lake Minor Fastball Association.