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Locals help Magic to Western gold

With three Virden residents contributing, the Westman Magic won the U17 Western Canadian Softball Championship.

The squad that won the title in Winkler included players Jessie Henry and Kendall Charles as well as assistant coach Joel Charles. The Magic beat the Smitty’s Terminators, 12-4, for gold. Head coach Faron Asham said the team knew it had to get off to a good start against its Manitoba rival.

“We put up five in the first inning … it gave the girls that ongoing confidence and validation that ‘we belong here. We’re supposed to win this,’ and we sure did,” Asham said.

The Magic did not have an easy road to victory. On the Saturday of the Aug. 17-20 event, the Westman team had to win to keep its tournament alive. The victory gave it a 4-2 round robin record and the third seed. On Sunday, the Magic won three games – back-to-back-to-back. It beat the Abbotsford (B.C.) Angels, 5-2; and earned a finals berth with a 13-6 win over the Lloydminster (Alta.) Liners, 13-6. Asham said the Magic players’ experience helped them contend with the challenges they faced in the tournament.

“They knew you got to win the first game and then you got to win the second game,” Asham said. “If you’re fortunate enough to do that, you take it inning by inning after that and hopefully you score one more run … It was a good group. We had a lot of depth. We had a lot of talent on the team. … They banded together and said, ‘We’re going to win this thing.’”

Henry provided a veteran presence at third base for the Magic. Asham described her as the anchor of the defence and a quiet leader. “Everyone took after what Jessie did,” he noted. Henry was also a dangerous batter.

“She led off for us in our batting order and gave us just that thump at the top of the order,” Asham said. “Jessie is just a professional hitter. She’ll have quality at-bats. … She reached base over half the time, which is phenomenal.”

During the season, Kendall Charles caught half of the Magic’s games. At Westerns, she was utilized in the outfield.

“She held up her end playing strong defence and chipping in offensively where she could,” said Asham, who noted the player “turned her outs into runs.”

Joel Charles has won a provincial title coaching with Asham in the past and also while leading his own team, the Magic head coach noted.

“Joel brings a lot of experience,” Asham said. “He has played the game. … He’s the perfect supplement to what we needed on a coaching staff. He’s there all the time. His dedication and knowledge is unmatched.”




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