Rain delays red-hot Bantam Aces pursuit of provincial title

Perry Bergson
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The Prince Albert Bantam ‘A’ Aces have booked a spot in either the national or Western Canadian playdowns but they’ll have to wait a week to discover where they’re headed.

The Aces dominated their provincial rivals on Friday and Saturday in Regina, outscoring their opponents 50-9 as they won all four of their round-robin games. Unfortunately, last Sunday’s games were rained out so the finals will be settled this weekend in Regina on Sunday.

Coach Jennifer Ferguson said her team was better than she’s seen them all summer.

“The girls focused in a way that we haven’t really seen them focus all year,” Ferguson said. “Everything we asked them to do at the plate, they did well.”

On Friday they beat the Saskatoon Hustlers 16-1 and the Regina Royals 12-4. On Saturday, they beat the Saskatoon Lasers 13-2 and the Lumsden Cubs 9-2 to finish first in their pool.

The games were delayed by rain for a couple of hours on Friday morning but Ferguson said the grounds crew did an excellent job deploying shale to keep the infields in good shape. The outfields were wet.

Here’s where things now stand.

The Aces will face the winner of the Southeast Regional Hawks and Conquest Coyotes on Sunday back in Regina.

If the Aces lose that game, they will be bronze medallists. If they win, they will advance to the gold medal game against the Regina Lazers at 4 p.m.

The top two teams in each pool advance to Westerns in Duncan, B.C., so they already have that spot booked. But the winner of the provincial final will head to Brampton, Ont., to compete in Nationals.

So there is still plenty on the line.

Ferguson isn’t worried about her team losing motivation in the week following their outstanding round-robin performance.

“What works really well for this group of girls and carried over from last year is that they really need to be focused on having a good time and playing relaxed,” she said. “The more they can do that, the better they perform. So we’ll practise a little bit this week just to keep everybody going but we’re going to go down on Saturday and kind of do the same thing we did this weekend and look to enjoy ourselves.

“Everything is a bonus from here on in. The more fun they have, the better we’ll be.”

The Aces played in the Girl’s Prairie League Softball in Alberta this summer, emerging from the three weekend tournaments with a total record of 12-6. The coach said that the quality of the competition over the summer was comparable to what they saw at provincials.

Ferguson said the Aces received production from throughout their lineup on the weekend, noting the performance was similar to what the team did at Westerns last year.

“We had potential to do that but you just never know what might happen,” Ferguson said. “We got hot at the right time, that’s for sure.”

Organizations: Prairie League Softball

Geographic location: Regina, Southeast Regional Hawks, Duncan Brampton Nationals Alberta

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