Crossfire provincial champions
The Camrose Crossfire had an extra reason to celebrate on the long weekend.
The team of 16 and 17-year-old girls claimed the provincial midget C fastball championship in Leduc, July 2, with a thrilling final at-bat win over a tough opponent from Sedgewick.
"It was good to see the girls do so well," said Camrose Crossfire coach Kevin Petryshen.
"It was a fitting cap to a great year."
The Crossfire advanced to the tournament's deciding contest after going undefeated in the six-team round robin and then trouncing Drumheller 7-2 in six innings in the semifinal.
"We only had about 15 minutes between the end of the game against Drumheller and the start of the final against Sedgewick, so the girls had to go and quickly get some food and liquid," said Petryshen.
The Crossfire fell behind after a shaky middle inning but managed to storm back, and were ahead by two at the start of what turned out to be a fireworks filled seventh.
"Sedgewick tied the game in their half of the inning but our first batter in the bottom of the seventh hit a walk-off home run to win it for us," said Petryshen.
The Crossfire proved to be the class of the Central Alberta Fastball League during the regular season, defeating any team that crossed their path. The strongest challenge came from the squad from Lacombe.
"Lacombe gave us a pretty good game just about every time we played them," said Petryshen.
The Crossfire also attended two tournaments (not including the provincial tournament), one put on by the Red Deer Ladies' Fastball Association over the first weekend in June.
"We had a couple of games there where we got beat pretty good by the ladies' teams," said Petryshen. "I think it opened the eyes of our players and showed them what they have to do in order to be successful."
The Crossfire could be an even stronger team next year.
"All the girls were in their first year at the midget level, which means they have another year of eligibility," said Petryshen. "If they decide to stay where they are and not move up to the midget b level for a chance to go to the western Canadians we could have a pretty good team."
Petryshen was impressed with the character and spirit shown by the members of the Crossfire during the course of the season.
"They were always pulling for each other and there was always a bunch of them that would hang out after the game," he said. "I didn't have to name a single captain because in my eyes they were all captains."
Petryshen began coaching girls' fastball in 2011 after about 12 to 13 years of coaching boys' baseball and a couple of years of coaching girls' baseball. His hope is that the members of the Crossfire will have learned something this season that will help them for the rest of their lives.