From nothing comes something – and it turns out that it’s golden! A year ago, the U13 Guelph Gators only existed in the form of hopes and dreams. Today they are gold medal winners.
At the Provincial Women’s Softball Association – Ontario Grand Championships in Windsor, Aug. 11-13, that dream turned to gold as the Gators won the B Pool Championship, downing their Grand Valley rivals Kitchener Klassics Black U13 in a squeaker, winning 2-0. The win was a culmination of Guelph going on a six-game unbeaten streak when it mattered most, giving up six runs while scoring 28.
“I can't put into words how proud I am of these girls,” said Head Coach Alex Snyder. “They were totally selfless and played with so much energy and passion – truly playing for one another.”
Snyder said the entire line-up contributed, adding to the esprit des corps he and his coaching staff worked hard to engender all year.
“Every member of the team helped in one way or another,” he said. “We played a lot of great teams this weekend and to come out on top is a great feeling! Congrats to Kitchener Black (silver) and the Brampton Blazers (bronze) on their medals as well.”
Coach Snyder said that while winning the gold was cause for celebration, it was one the team would have to keep in perspective.
“It was a weekend we'll never forget,” he said, “but our job is not done yet. The Grand Valley League playoffs come next, and we plan on leaving our mark there too.”
Guelph Minor Softball Association President Ken Winslow sent his congratulations from Brandon, Manitoba, where he was with the U15 Gators at the Nationals.
“Talk about wanting to be in two places at once,” he said. “I so wish I could have been there to see this happen. Congratulations to the U13 Gators and their coaches Alex, Rob Conley and Jordan Blum.
“What a fantastic success! They have been everything we could have hoped for and more when we first decided that GMSA could support a U13 team.”
GUELPH GATORS PUT THE KIBOSH ON KITCHENER KLASSICS
WINDSOR, Ontario, August 13, 2023 – Both teams were strong in the circle on Sunday, but Guelph defeated Kitchener in a nailbiter. Morgan P. started the game for the Gators and recorded 12 outs.
Guelph got on the board in the first inning after Ellie M. doubled, scoring one run. Guelph added one run in the second. Makayla C singled, making the score 2-0.
In the bottom on the second, Piper H. hit a long double to get the inning rolling. Two batters later, Makayla C. singled to right, scoring Piper from second.
The top of the seventh was a time for some nerves of steel for the Gators. Consecutive line drives had centrefielder Elyse D. hopping. She snagged the first for the out on a well-hit ball by Eden M. Magenta D. then stepped to the plate and hit the ball to almost the same spot, over Elyse’s head. The centrefielder quickly recovered the ball much to the surprise of the runner who tried to stretch a double into a triple. The strong arms of Elyse and Taylor C., and the sure hands of Kaycea W. ensured Magenta was out at third.
Morgan stepped in the circle first for the Guelph Gators. The righty surrendered three hits and zero runs over four innings, striking out five and walking two. Taylor tossed three innings of no-run ball for Guelph in relief. She allowed zero hits, striking out five and walking one.
Taylor led Guelph with two hits in two at bats. Ellie and Makayla C. each drove in one run for Guelph, which turned one double play in the game.
The following recaps are presented in chronological order:
GATORS DEFEAT LASALLE ATHLETICS
WINDSOR, Ontario, August 11, 2023 – The U13 Guelph Gators bested 2011 LaSalle Athletics 13U 4-1 on Friday at Windsor’s Mic Mac Park.
Guelph got on the board in the top of the first inning after Taylor C. tripled, and Ellie M. grounded out, each scoring one run.
Guelph added to their early lead in the top of the second inning after Makayla C. grounded out, and Guelph scored on a passed ball, each scoring one run.
Morgan P. stepped in the circle first for Guelph Gators U13. She allowed one hit and one run over four innings, striking out eight and walking two. Taylor pitched three innings of scoreless ball for Guelph in relief. The righty allowed two hits, striking out eight and walking none.
Ellie, Lailan T., Kaycea W., Taylor, and Rileigh T. each collected one hit for Guelph. Ellie, Makayla, and Taylor each drove in one run for the Gators. Morgan stole two bases.
GUELPH VICTORIOUS OVER NAPANEE EXPRESS U13
WINDSOR, Ontario, August 11, 2023 – The U13 Guelph Gators were triumphant over Napanee Express U13 4-2 on Friday in a game filled with unexpected twists.
A ground out by Kaycea W. put Guelph on the board in the bottom of the third.
Guelph committed an error, which helped Napanee tie the game at one in the top of the sixth.
Guelph captured the lead, 4-1, in the bottom of the sixth after Taylor C. singled, Ellie M. singled, and Morgan P. tripled, each scoring one run.
Morgan opened the game for Guelph. The starting pitcher allowed one hit and one run (zero earned) over four innings, striking out eight and walking three.
Ellie and Rileigh T. each collected two hits for the Gators. Ellie, Kaycea, Morgan, and Taylor each drove in one run for Guelph. Ellie stole two bases.
The game took an odd twist as the weather continued to play havoc with the Gators’ season. With a 4-1 lead at the bottom of the seventh, Napanee loaded the bases. With one out, the umpiring crew called the game due to thunder and lightning. As the Gators returned to their team hotel, the PWSA president informed the team that they had to come back as the weather had cleared and the umpire’s decision was not cleared with PWSA.
Catcher Rileigh T. was already enroute to a boxing match in Toronto when the call came in. She had to turn around to return to the diamond to resume the game. With Morgan retaking the mound, she zeroed in on the final two Napanee batters. Six pitches later, Guelph put a sudden stop to a threatening Express.
TAYLOR C.’S BIG DAY PROPELS GUELPH PAST THE COYOTES
WINDSOR, Ontario, August 12, 2023 – Taylor C. collected three hits in three at bats, as the U13 Guelph Gators defeated Coyotes 13U 10-0 on Saturday. Taylor also hit a solo home run to center field in the fifth inning, singled in the first inning, and singled in the third inning.
The Gators got on the board in the bottom of the first inning after Taylor singled, Johanna A. walked, and Guelph scored on a passed ball, each scoring one run.
A sacrifice bunt by Morgan P., a single by Johanna, and a passed ball helped Guelph extend their early lead in the third.
Taylor hit a solo home run to center field in the bottom of the fifth for the Gators.
Morgan started in the circle for Guelph. The starting pitcher allowed zero hits and zero runs over four innings, striking out eight and walking none. Taylor pitched one inning of scoreless ball for Guelph in relief. She gave up zero hits, striking out three and walking none.
Johanna led Guelph with two walks. Overall, the team had a strong eye at the plate, amassing seven walks for the game. Johanna and Taylor each stole multiple bases for the Gators. Guelph stole eight bases in the game and did not commit a single error in the field.
PITCHING IMPRESSIVE AS GUELPH BEAT CHATHAM GOLDEN EAGLES 13U
WINDSOR, Ontario, August 12, 2023 – Both teams were strong in the circle on Saturday, but the U13 Guelph Gators defeated Chatham Golden Eagles 13U 3-0.
Morgan P. started the game for Guelph and recorded 12 outs. The righty surrendered three hits and zero runs over four innings while walking none.
Guelph got on the board in the top of the second inning after Chatham Golden Eagles 13U dropped a third strike, and Elyse D. grounded out, each scoring one run.
Taylor C threw three innings of zero-run ball for Guelph in relief. The mighty righty allowed one hit, striking out seven and walking none.
Ellie M. went 1-for-2 at the plate to lead Guelph in hits. Ellie, Johanna A., and Taylor each stole multiple bases for Guelph Gators U13. Guelph stole eight bases in the game.
GUELPH VICTORIOUS OVER MILTON BATS U13
WINDSOR, Ontario, August 12, 2023 – The U13 Guelph Gators continued their winning ways, shaking off old ghosts, as they faced off against Milton Bats U13🇨🇦 on Sunday to decide who would play for gold and who would play for bronze. In previous tournament play, the Bats had proved themselves too strong for Guelph.
This day would be different.
An early error put Milton on the board in the top of the second. They added a run in the third after the Bats scored on a wild pitch.
Guelph tied the game in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a walk by Elyse D., and a wild pitch.
In the bottom of the sixth, Guelph broke up the tie when Ellie M. singled, scoring one run. Then a single by Morgan P. followed to extend the lead to 5-3.
Morgan led things off in the circle for Guelph. The right-handed pitcher gave up two hits and one run (zero earned) over four innings, striking out six and walking none. Taylor C. appeared in relief for the Guelph Gators.
Morgan led Guelph with two hits in three at bats. Ellie, Morgan, Taylor, and Elyse each drove in one run for the Gators. Rileigh T. stole two bases. Guelph worked the count all day, accumulating six walks. The Gators turned one double play in the game.