Virden area residents helped the Westman Magic softball teams have successful seasons.
The U15 regional squad won the AAA girls provincial championship in La Salle before going on to place in the top eight at nationals in Saskatoon. The team was coached by Virden’s Joel Charles and included local products Kendall Charles, Alexa Banga and Presley Hodson. The U17 Magic placed third at the provincials in Friedensfeld. The Westman squad included Jessie Henry, Natalie Draper and Jordyn Bradbury from the Virden area. Look for more on these teams in a future issue of the Virden Empire-Advance.
Playing in Brandon, the Magic’s U13 AAA team represented Westman well as it earned the silver medals at provincials. Area players Paige Rampton and Joelle Barkley contributed for the Magic.
“Going into provincials we knew we had a strong team that could contend for a championship,” coach Jill Twordik said. “We had great success throughout the year winning our home tournament the month before and then travelling to Minnesota and making the top playoff bracket before being knocked out in playoffs. We were a strong defensive team with very strong pitching as well as an explosive offensive team that could count on hits from all players in the batting order.”
Rampton played first base for the Magic, contributed at the plate with a powerful swing, and dominated on the mound. Manager Joel Whiteside said that at provincials she struck out 32 of the 86 batters she faced and sported a .667 earned run average. He noted that during the season Rampton struck out 154 batters of the 380 she faced in 92.2 innings.
“Paige Rampton is one of the most dominant pitchers in the province, if not the most dominant,” Twordik said. “She is a left-handed thrower which is a huge asset to any team as it gives the batter a much different look. She consistently throws in the mid-50s (mph), which is a force at the age of 13. … Paige is an amazing kiddo, extremely coachable and has worked so hard in the last two years to become a dominant force on the mound as well as at the bat.”
Barkley was the lone first-year player on the squad.
“Right away she became an amazing team player as she is a hard worker with an amazing attitude,” Twordik said. “Her nickname is ‘Smiley’ and it fits her to a T. Joelle quickly earned a spot in the outfield with an outstanding ability to track down fly balls. Joey played great during provincials with some very timely hits and plays in the field.”
Whiteside said that Barkley batted .267 at the provincials with a .389 on-base percentage.