The Virden U10 girls softball team had a silver summer.
At the U10 ‘A’ provincials in East St. Paul, the team made it all the way to the finals. In the championship game of the Aug. 13-1 event, the Virden team lost 7-2 to Balmoral. Virden coach Karla Robertson said the team was proud to bring home the silver medals.
“Our goal for the weekend was to win one game, be competitive, and to have fun,” she said. “We exceeded that, and the girls can’t wait to go back again next year.”
The team opened the tournament with a 3-2 win over Balmoral. Robertson said it was the squad’s best game of the season. In high heat on the tournament’s second day, Virden dispatched all three of their opponents: West St. Paul, 18-7; KW Walruses, 13-8; and Corydon, 4-3. With a 4-0 record, the Virden team placed first in its pool. On the final day, the squad beat Strathclair, 17-7, to set up a rematch with Balmoral.
“All the skills that we worked on during our short season seemed to all fall into place while we were there,” Robertson said. “This group of girls are very coachable. They have a competitive edge, a strong work ethic, and a passion for the game. The girls were looking forward to provincials and they played to their full ability while they were there.”
A trio of Virden players helped the Maulers slo pitch team win the Seniors Competitive division provincial championship.
Stephen Densmore, Doug Roach and Brian Mytopher were all part of the successful Maulers squad. The provincials were held in Winnipeg.
“When we look at some statistics, we find that for example our pitcher Stephen Densmore gave up only one walk in 28 innings or seven games,” team representative Ken Schneider said. “That is a huge advantage when you force the opponent to hit safely. All in all, our defence is our strength and over the course of the tournament our team executed some great defensive plays. We had roughly five or six double plays over the course of the weekend, which is also a huge advantage.”
The Maulers practice in Brandon but draw players from Minto, Selkirk, Onanole, McGregor, Sinclair, and Carberry as well as Virden and the Wheat City. The core group of the team has been together for about six years. Elkhorn’s Dennis and Lynn Kyle were instrumental in putting the squad together initially, Kliever said. Virden’s Randy Slater has played with the squad in the past but missed this season with an injury.
“We have been a very tightly knit team since inception,” he said. “As a result, we rely on each other and encourage each other. When things are not going our way, we pull together and in my opinion that is our greatest weapon - we play for each other. We have forged great friendships and respect each other, our opponents, and the game all of us have played competitively most of our adult lives.”
Rampton Helps Magic
Virden’s Paige Rampton helped the Westman Magic win silver at the U12 AAA in Stonewall. It was her first season competing at the AAA level. Rampton was one of three players on the team from outside of Brandon. Her family reported:
“She really enjoyed the whole experience. We are extremely grateful for her coaches - Jill Franklin and Bev Neufeld; two extremely knowledgeable women of the game, who taught them so much, the calibre of ball played made it easy to forget the age of girls. Paige didn't know anybody on the team going into the season and made lifelong friends who love softball just as much as she does.”