One out from an undefeated weekend.
That’s how close the host Napanee U12 Squirt Boyer GM Express boys were to going 5-0 in their own tournament this weekend before West Carleton stole the win with a bases clearing drive to the gap. Three runners were able to circle the bases to give West Carleton the walk-off 4-3 victory on Sunday afternoon.
Heartbreaking loss aside, it was still a successful weekend for the Express, who were using the tournament to help gear up for provincial eliminations in Cobourg, July 13-14.
“It’s not a bad thing to lose in a tournament like that,” Express head coach Scott Thompson said of last weekend’s tournament. “You’re ultimately building for the qualifier and then eventually the Ontarios. We’ve got a really driven group and everyone wants to get better and wants to work. Having a loss like that, it’ll just push them a little more. They don’t like to lose.”
Napanee opened the tournament on Saturday with three straight wins, sweeping Oshawa, West Carleton and Peterborough. They won early Sunday morning to earn their spot in the finals against West Carleton. They held a 3-1 lead for the majority of that game, needing just one more out before West Carleton stormed back with three runs.
“It was great having five games,” said Thompson. “There was stuff we were able to work on, all four of our pitchers did extremely well, they were very dominant, we couldn’t ask more from them. By the end of the weekend we were getting much better at bats, a lot better defensive coverage.”
The Express will have one more pre-eliminations tournament, this time in Innerkip, before the games start to really count. Napanee is looking to return to the provincial championship, which will take place Aug. 10-11 in Ponsonby. Last season Napanee took home provincial silver at the squirt level.
Softball Napanee will be right back to hosting again this weekend, as the Napanee U16 Bantam Express boys will welcome eight teams from across the province for a tournament.
Making up Pool Red will be Oshawa, Springfield, Springbrook, Napanee and Port Perry. In Pool Blue will be Simcoe, the Napanee U14 Express, Owen Sound and Westport.
The U16 Express will open against Springbrook on Saturday at 9 a.m. while the U14 Express take on Simcoe at 10:45 a.m.
Napanee U16 faces Oshawa at 12:30 p.m. and Springfield at 4 p.m. before closing out pool play 9 a.m. Sunday against Port Perry.
The U14 Express face Westport at 2:15 p.m. and Owen Sound at 5:45 p.m.