In Friedensfeld, Presley Hodson, Kendall Charles, Alexa Banga, and Quincy Smith helped the U14 squad to the provincial championship. The U16 team claimed its Manitoba title in its home base of Brandon. On that squad were Natalie Draper, Jessie Henry, Jordyn Bradbury and Peyton Stuart.
The U16 Magic beat the Smitty’s Terminators, 8-2, in the final. Coach Kayla Alexander said the Virden players contributed defensively, at the plate, and were all positive in cheering on their team every game.
Draper played second base and shortstop. Alexander said she was errorless throughout the provincials.
“Natalie had a total of five hits and did a good job at hitting the ball hard and making the opponents make tough plays,” the coach said.
The Magic outfield often consisted of Henry, Bradbury and Stuart. Alexander praised how they were errorless, worked well together, and communicated.
“Jordyn did a really good job at putting the bunt down in situations we needed to get a runner in scoring position. … Jessie caught every ball hit to her in left field, stealing hits away from the other team,” Alexander said. “Peyton played right field extremely well and was always in good coverage position so runners wouldn’t get extra bases.”
The U14 Magic fought back from a 4-1 deficit to force an extra inning against the Eastman Wildcats. Smith scored the winning run as Westman pushed two across in the extra inning and shut down the Wildcats to win 6-4.
“It was certainly a pleasure coaching them and having Joel (Charles, Virden resident and assistant coach) along,” head coach Faron Asham said of the Virden contingent. “They’re going to be successful. Kudos to the Virden minor softball system that gave them the skills that we just needed to refine a little bit.”
The head coach said that each player contributed in their own way. He praised first-year players Hodson and Banga for their contributions as they got “their first taste of a little step up in the softball world and the competition across the province.” Hodson came in as a pitcher and developed into one of the team’s stronger defensive outfielders with her athleticism. Formerly a catcher, Banga moved to first base to get her bat into the lineup.
Asham said that the veteran Smith “brings an element of speed and a left-handed bat to our lineup to balance it off a little bit.”
To help her squad, veteran Charles made a switch from catcher and the outfield to the infield for the provincials.
“I can’t say enough about Kendall, who due to injuries and some other prior commitments from other players basically learned a new position 10 days before provincials and manned third base for us quite well throughout the provincial tournament and was a nice imposing presence in the batter’s box for us,” Asham said.
The head coach also said that Joel Charles was trusted with the Magic’s pitching staff and “did a fantastic job with them.”