Aces win seven inning thriller in tune-up for Nationals

Prince Albert U15 Aces pitcher Macy Sidebottom fouls off a pitch during fourth inning action at Optimist Park on Thursday. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

A seventh inning RBI single from Jensen Beaton broke up a tie ball game, giving the Prince Albert U15 Aces a 5-4 victory over the Saskatoon Hustlers at Optimist Field on Thursday.

The game was the first of a doubleheader as the Aces prepare for the U15 National tournament, which begins Wednesday in Saskatoon. Results from the second game against the Hustlers were not available by press time.

“I thought it was good,” Aces manager Scott Reed said when asked about his team’s play. “It was a close game, but our defence and pitching held in there. Then we got some timely hits at the end, so it was nice to see the girls come out with the win.”

The Aces opened up a huge lead with four runs in the first inning, but the Hustlers clawed their way back with three runs in the second and one more in the third. From there, the pitchers took over, as both teams struggled to get runners on base.

After a scoreless top of the seventh, Martina Moore walked, stole second, and stole third for the Aces. Moore then scored on Beaton’s RBI single, giving Prince Albert the win.

Reed said it was good to get the victory and have the team feeling positive heading into nationals.

“We had a good run at provincials this year, so now we want to keep that momentum going,” he explained. “We want to be feeling good and confident going into those first games at nationals, because the nerves will be going and everything else, so a little muscle memory and feeling confident is great for us.”

Softball Canada has not released a full schedule for the tournament. Games run from Aug. 3-7. The opening ceremony is scheduled for Aug. 3 at 6 p.m. in Bob Van Impe Stadium.

Reed said the Aces are nervous about taking on Canada’s best U15 teams, but also excited for the opportunity.

“For a lot of these girls, they’ve never had the chance to participate in a Canadian championship, so it’s a huge scale event,” he explained. “There’s lots of excitement (and) lots of nerves, but they’re ready to go.”

The U15 Aces are the only Prince Albert softball team heading to nationals in August. The U15 Astros will also face Canada’s best when they travel to Wilmot, Ont. The U15 Boys National Softball tournament also runs from Aug. 3-7.