‘We can compete with the best’

The Prince Albert U16 Astros were in Cobourg, Ont. last week for the Canadian Softball Championships. After a promising round robin stage, the team was eliminated in the playoffs by the eventual champion Belmore Sting. (File photo)

Prince Albert Astros finish fourth at U16 nationals

The Prince Albert U16 Astros fell just shy of a podium finish at the Canadian Softball Championships in Cobourg, Ont. this past weekend, ending the competition in fourth place.

The Astros had a strong start, knocking off Ontario’s Shallow Lake Red Devils and Tavistock Athletics 2-1 in extra innings and 4-0 respectively on day one of the tournament. They followed that successful showing with a 6-3 triumph over the Newfoundland Selects the next day before facing the No. 1-ranked Belmore Sting, another Ontario team.

The game was tied 3-3 heading into the sixth inning, but a series of errors resulted in Belmore scoring twice to seal a 5-3 win and hand P.A. their first loss of the tournament.

The Astros were back in fighting form on the final day of round robin play, overpowering the host Cobourg Dogders 10-2 before toppling the Saskatoon Selects 13-1. The Astros entered the playoffs with a 5-1 record, placing them second in the tournament. However, their one loss would be costly in the long run.

“If I can go back to any key moment, that would probably be the key moment because if we won that game we would be the top seed and our draw would have been a lot easier from there,” Astros coach Kevin Preymack said of the earlier loss to Belmore.

Of the six teams to make the playoffs, the top four, including P.A., were permitted to lose one game before being eliminated. That rule kept the Astros’ playoff hopes alive.

P.A. faced Tavistock in the opening playoff match and this time the game was not as close. Tavistock led the game 2-1 heading into the sixth inning before adding another pair of runs to come away with a 4-1 victory. Again Preymack said errors cost his team the game.

The Astros then faced Newfoundland in what Preymack described as a “nail-biter,” ultimately coming away with a 1-0 win in extra innings.

Next up was a rematch with Belmore. The game was scoreless through two innings but the Sting gradually turned on the heat, scoring once in the third, twice in the fourth and four times in the fifth to knock P.A. out of the playoffs.

“We ran out of gas and our bats weren’t going and we lost the game 7-0 in six innings,” Preymack said.

For more on this story, please read the Prince Albert Daily Herald¹s subscription-based print or e-editions.