Napanee’s U19 Midget Express girls are headed east after clinching bronze at the PWSA Grand Championships, held last weekend in London, On.
A top three finish was the main goal, as it qualifies Napanee for the U19 Women’s Eastern Championships, which will take place Aug. 22-25 in Fredericton, NB.
The Express were in the running for gold at the Grand Championships right up until the seventh inning of the semifinals, tied 3-3 with the host London Lightning.
The Express’ wheels fell off in the top half of the inning however as London rallied for eight runs. Napanee showed a bit of fight with two in their half of the inning but ultimately fell short in an 11-5 loss. Lauren Kennedy pitched a complete game while Maddy Cronkwright was named the game’s MVP.
Prior to their meeting with London, Napanee had a chance to advance directly to the gold medal game but were once again outdone by one bad inning, allowing five runs in an 8-3 loss to Tavistock.
Heading into that game the Express were rolling, going 4-0 to open the tournament.
They got off to a strong start, defeating Guelph’s UTM Morriston in thrilling walk-off fashion. Down 2-0 early the Express played catch-up the entire game, down 4-3 heading into the seventh. Chi Suzuki led off with a triple and scored on a single by Natalie Clemens. One out later Amber Weese ripped a triple to score Clemens from first as the winning run. Kennedy earned the win with a complete game.
The momentum carried over into their next game as the Express rolled over Whitby’s UTM East team 10-0. Cronkwright had a single and a home run with two runs scored while Emily Proderick added a triple and a single while scoring twice. Megan Morrow allowed just one hit over three innings.
Napanee closed out pool play against the Ontario Yankees from Ajax. A tense game through four innings, the Express stretched their 2-0 lead with a five run inning. Jordan Mumby and Mary Grace Crosby delivered key hits to help spark the rally. Megan Morrow pitched a complete game shutout for the 7-0 win.
That win advanced the Express to the qualifying game, where a win would secure their spot in the Eastern Canadians.
Once again matched up with the Yankees, the Express clung to a 3-2 lead in the seventh before adding some much needed insurance runs in the top of the inning. The Yankees would battle back with three of their own but ultimately fell short as the Express hung on for the 8-5 win. Weese, Chi and Proderick each had three hits in the game while Megan Morrow picked up the complete game victory.
Napanee will host a couple of exhibition games, Aug. 14 at 8:30 p.m. at the Napanee Fairgrounds and Aug. 19 at 8:30 p.m. at North Fred to stay sharp before the Eastern Canadians. They’ll also be fundraising to help cover the cost of their trip.