Carrying the momentum of a successful season in Girl’s Prairie League Softball action, the Prince Albert Bantam ‘A’ Aces are looking to keep their season going at the U16 ‘A’ Provincial Championship in Regina over the weekend.
Playing all of their GPLS games in Alberta on weekends throughout the spring, the Aces stormed through the first round of regular season play, posting a record of 5-1.
The Aces went on to finish up their GPLS season second in the league’s Lawrick Division with a record of 12-6 as they take some valuable lessons learned throughout the campaign into Regina.
“We had a really good start to the season,” said Aces coach Jennifer Ferguson. “I think that maybe we just kind of assumed it was going to be that easy the whole year and of course it wasn’t. I think the girls learned that we can’t take any team for granite.”
Despite a roller coaster type season, Ferguson added that the Aces are back on the upswing heading into provincials, which kick off on Friday with the team’s opening tilt against the Saskatoon Hustlers.
This weekend’s tournament in Regina will send the winner to the Canadian Championship and features 14 teams from across the province.
The Aces have been placed in the “White Pool” along with the Regina Royals, Lumsden Cubs, Outlook Rivercats, Saskatoon Hustlers, Saskatoon Lasers and Southeast Regional Hawks.
Going up against an unfamiliar field, Ferguson said it’s the Lasers and Hawks the Aces will need to keep a close eye on as they have been assigned to a pretty tough pool.
“We don’t know a whole lot,” Ferguson said of the tournament’s field. “We are OK with that. It means they don’t know a whole lot about us either. I would guess out of the top five teams in the province, four of them are in our pool.”
While the winner of the tournament heads to nationals in Brampton, Ont., in August, the second and third place teams will advance to Western Canadians in Cowichan Valley, B.C.
Ferguson said she thinks her team has what it takes to keep their season going beyond this weekend’s tournament, adding that the squad’s biggest strength is their versatility.
“Each girl can play two different positions,” she said. “Each position has two or three girls that can play it well. We need all 13 girls on the team to fulfill their role, whether that be getting a big hit at a clutch time or making a great defensive play.”
On Friday, the Aces will take on the Hustlers and Royals while on Saturday they’ll face the Lasers and Cubs to wrap up round-robin play.
The top three teams in each pool will advance to the championship round with the big game scheduled for Sunday.
All games will be played at Kaplan Field in Regina.
No matter the result over the weekend, Ferguson is proud of her girls.
“I’m really proud of how the team worked this year,” she said. “We have a great group of kids who are going to continue playing softball and give back to the community, I think that means a lot more than the wins and losses.”