MONCTON, N.B. – The P.E.I. Halthorn Global Eagles returned home with a bronze medal from the Henry Kelly Memorial softball tournament here recently.
The provincial under-14 girls’ team compiled a very respectable 3-2 (won-lost) record in the Under-16 Division.
“The coaches were extremely proud of the girls,” said Eagles head coach Chris Halliwell. “We had a modest goal coming over to try and win one game, but we kept having to readjust our goals because the girls kept achieving them.
“They showed a ton of character and resiliency; they would not quit in any game, and made it extremely hard on teams to beat us.”
Following is a look at the Eagles’ games:
Eagles 3 Eastern
Shore Gold Diggers 1
The Eagles looked in mid-season form in their first game of the year, playing tremendous defence behind a strong pitching performance by Margaret Reynolds.
Kalli Hunter’s bases-loaded-clearing double in the second inning ignited the offence. Kaelyn White and player-of-the-game Robyn Power turned in key defensive plays for P.E.I.
Mustangs 4 Eagles 2
A great defensive play by Lila Mitchell in the sixth inning saved two runs, keeping the Eagles within striking distance. The Eagles had the tying runs on second and third base in the seventh inning, but could not push them across home plate.
A few errors and walks by the Eagles contributed to the Mustangs scoring four runs through four innings.
Sydney Halliwell took the pitching loss, and Mitchell was named player of the game.
Eagles 18 Chaleur 10
In the Eagles’ third game of the day, the bats finally exploded as every player reached base at least once.
The Eagles made a few more mistakes in this game, which came at the end of a long hot and windy day that led to most of Chaleur’s runs
Reynolds was the winning pitcher while P.E.I.’s top batters were Cassie Oliver (3-3, three runs scored) and Hannah Sentner (2-2, walk, two runs scored). Halliwell was chosen player of the game.
The Eagles finished round-robin play in a three-way tie for first in their division at 2-1 (won-lost), but ended up in second place based on a plus-minus tiebreaker.
The Eagles missed out on first place by one run, setting up a playoff match of second-place teams against the Cole Harbour Comets. The Eagles pulled out a 10-9 extra-inning victory.
The Comets scored four runs in the top of the first inning, but the Eagles immediately answered in the bottom half with five runs of their own. Hannah Annear’s base hit drove in the fifth run of the inning, and she finished with four stolen bases in the back-and-forth game.
Cole Harbour scored once in the top of the seventh to tie the game 9-9.
Eagles second baseman Lila Mitchell made an unbelievable catch in the grass behind first base to save two more runs from scoring in the top of the seventh.
Jessica Turbide led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a walk. Next batter Devon Lawlor was ready to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but Turbide was called out for leaving the base early.
The Comets then got the next two outs to force extra innings and a shootout format, where each team sends four batters to the plate and earns a point for each batter that reached first base.
Player-of-the-game Kassie Oliver delivered the game-winning hit.
That sent the Eagles to the semifinals against the Gold Diggers, who came from behind for a 5-4 win.
Things were looking good for the Eagles as Quinn Kirkland tripled and later scored to give the Island squad a 4-2 lead after five innings. However, the Gold Diggers rallied to tie the game in the sixth inning.
After the Eagles failed to score in the top of the seventh inning, the Gold Diggers had a runner on third and one out in the bottom half. The Eagles brought their defence in to have a shot at gunning down the winning run at home plate. The strategy almost worked as the Eastern Shore batter hit a fly ball that Eagles centre-fielder Kaelyn White caught and threw the ball home as the runner tagged at third and slid under the tag of catcher Hannah Sentner for the winning run.
Kirkland was named player of the game for the Eagles.
Next action for the Eagles, who will represent P.E.I. at the nationals in British Columbia in August, is against Nova Scotia and New Brunswick at the Borden-Carleton field on Saturday, May 31. Game times are 1 and 3 p.m.