By Adam Prudhomme
The Napanee Boyer GM Squirt Express boys wrapped up their undefeated season with a neat little bow on Sunday, defeating Tweed 16-9 in the gold medal game of the OASA provincials.
The Express, who served as the tournament hosts, went 4-0 on their way to gold and were a remarkable 33-0 on the year when facing squirt teams. It also gave Softball Napanee their first provincial gold at the squirt level since 2006.
“The competition was very strong all weekend long,” Express head coach Stephen Paul said of the OASA provincials. “Our goal right from the start of the season was to compete at the high level for the provincial championship here at home in Napanee and the boys played extremely well.”
The Express got off to a strong start on Saturday, scoring early against Bridgenorth to secure a 15-3 victory.
“The first game is always the hardest of any tournament,” said Paul. “I think we got some of the nerves out in that first game and from there we were rolling. I think at any tournament the goal is always to get better with each game and we certainly did that.”
From there Napanee edged Chatsworth 4-2 and bested Drumbo PDP 9-3 to advance to the gold medal game. Drumbo PDP would wind up with the bronze medal with Tweed taking home silver.
“Every single game we had family and friends and lots of fans from the Napanee area that were there cheering us on,” said Paul. “Sometimes it’s difficult to play at home home but the boys took full advantage of it and had fun doing it.”
With their perfect season now in the books, the Express can start to look ahead to next season when they have every reason to believe they will be able to defend their Ontario crown.
“Within our organization we’ve got a strong group below us at the mite level and a strong group at the peewee level,” said Paul. “We certainly expect the squirt and peewee boys next year will be strong teams.”
From this year’s team four will return for another year at the squirt level while the rest would graduate to peewee.
While Napanee’s Fairgrounds was the site of the ‘A’ championship, the North Fredericksburgh complex was hosting the OASA ‘B’ championship. Tavistock clinched the top spot while West Carleton and Baden earned silver and bronze respectively.
This weekend’s tournament marked the last major event to be hosted by Softball Napanee this summer.
As the softball season continues to wind down, the AFW Construction Midget Express boys begin play at the U18 Fastpitch Championship in O’Leary, PEI on Wednesday, with play to continue through Saturday.
Meanwhile the Calderwood Automation U10 Mite Express boys are in Ponsonby for their provincials this weekend while the Barr Homes Squirt Express girls are in Brantford for their provincials.