In late June, the squad earned the silver medals at the U11 A girls provincials in Winnipeg. In the finals, Virden fell to Morden, 8-6.
Many of the team members were part of the silver-winning Virden U10 team in 2021. “This group of girls are a competitive, talented, and goal-driven bunch,” Coach Karla Robertson said. “They wanted to do just as well as they did last year, if not better. … We practiced weekly and played some exhibition games to prepare ourselves.
The girls were focused and wanted to win. It was evident that these girls were practicing their pitching, fielding, and hitting on their own time as well - they wanted it! I am so proud of every single one of these girls.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Manitoba championship drew about 10 teams. This time around 38 teams competed. Various strengths allowed the Gold Rush to succeed at provincials.
“We had five pitchers who practiced a lot on their own time,” Robertson said. “Each of them has a different skill set, so we were deeper in talent in that area than many of the teams there. Our girls were also aggressive at the plate. They weren't waiting for the soft toss - they were swinging at good pitches and connecting well. When soft toss opportunities arose, they capitalized on them as well. Our girls also were very aggressive base runners, which allowed us to have runners in scoring position quite often.”
At Winnipeg’s Buhler Recreation Park, the Virden team opened the provincial tournament by beating last year’s champs, Balmoral, 3-2, and then knocked off Varsity View, 12-3. The victories kept coming with wins against the SW Trailblazers, 4-3; Mitchell, 14-4; and MacDonald, 10-1. In the semifinals, the Gold Rush persevered to beat Stonewall, 11-5.
“It was a very back and forth match which had us leading 6-5 going into the final inning,” Robertson said. “We, as the visitors, scored five runs in the final inning and our pitcher managed to go three up, three down for their final at bat. The excitement the team had after that win was contagious. That was the biggest win of the tournament. The girls dug deep, stayed focused, and kept each other positive both in the dugout and on the field.”