Carbonear Named Atlantic Challenge Cup Champions
Nicholas Mercer (The Compass)
The bases were loaded for the member of the under-12 fastpitch softball team competing at the Atlantic Challenge Cup being held in Conception Bay South earlier this month.
Squaring off with Conception Bay Central, Kennedy lined up an early pitch in the at-bat and lined a shot into the outfield. The ball eluded a pair of opposition outfielders and Carbonear cleared the bases to register its first three runs of the contest.
Kennedy would later score on an error to make it 4-0. Carbonear later tacked on another run in a 5-0 victory.
The approach Kennedy took to the plate is one Carbonear coaches have preached all summer — be aggressive and good things will come of it.
“We’d rather see our hitters go down swinging than taking pitches,” said coach Nick Saunders. “You’re not always going to get the perfect pitch.”
It’s an approach that allowed the boys in red and blue to score 54 runs in five games.
“That comes with repetition,” said Saunders. “We are always encouraging the players to try and make contact.”
Pitchers Reid Deering and Matthew King combined for the shutout. Winning the Atlantic cup was a proud moment for the Carbonear lads. It was their first championship at the tourney in two trips.
“My son said, ‘Dad, it’s called the Atlantic Challenge Cup, I at least thought there would be a cup,’ when we were getting the medals,” said Saunders. “That’s the youth side of it and that’s what makes it fun.”
High caliber softball
While last year’s trip to P.E.I. was a truly Atlantic experience for the Carbonear team, this tourney missed the mark in that respect.
Some of the wind went out of their sails when it was discovered teams from Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were unable to attend the tournament due to other commitments and certain restraints.
Despite this, they squared off with four softball representatives from this province.
“We were still excited about playing some high caliber ball,” said Saunders.
Carbonear got thing started with a lopsided 17-0 victory over host CBS. That game was followed by a similar drubbing of Placentia (15-0).
On Day 2, Carbonear squeaked by the Southern Shore 2-1 before narrowly getting by CBC 1-0.
Meeting Placentia again in the semifinals, Carbonear bested the Lions 5-0 to set up the final with CBC.
Pitching a big part of it
Moreso than any other game that involves a player throwing a ball to another player, fastpitch requires you to have a set of strong pitchers. The short distance between the hitter and thrower makes it imperative to have a group of athletes capable of throwing strikes and keeping hitters off balance.
By all accounts, Carbonear had that in spades. Their four young arms are steadily improving and should be players in the near future.
In the tournament, the Carbonear hurlers allowed just a single run over three days of competition.
“We have a group that has really taken to pitching,” said Saunders. “There weren’t a whole lot of walks. Our boys went after it.
“We knew going in that we had a set of good arms.”
Like all ball teams from this province, the summer was not the kindest when it came to the weather. June and July were rather wet, while August offered just a couple of weeks that were fit for stepping on to the field.
“The weather didn’t cooperate a lot of the time, but we had a great summer,” said Saunders. “What they have learned is second to none.”
Members of the Carbonear Championship Team
Nicholas Antle, Dylan Broomfield, Cameron Byrne, Reid Deering, Adrian Green, Riley Green, Jacob Kennedy, Joshua Kennedy, Matthew King, Ben Ryan, Hunter Saunders, Liam Underhay. Head Coach-David Kennedy, Assistant Coaches-Charlie Deering & Nick Saunders, Equipment Manager-Phil Antle and Manager-Paul Underhay.
Softball NL Would Like To Take This Opportunity To Congratulate Carbonear On Capturing The 2015 Atlantic Cup Challenge Fastpitch Championship!