By Ned Bekavac
Just call them the Guelph Greators.
The Guelph Novice 1 Gators fast pitch team is back from Montreal and they have with them a golden glow.
On Sunday, the locals beat Pickering 6-2 to win gold at the Canadian Championship U14 Girls Fast Pitch Jamboree.
After the final out was recorded and the deal was sealed, the celebration grew and the leather flew.
“They were very excited, a lot of gloves thrown in the air,” said Gators coach Larry Priamo on Tuesday.
“It was just like when Joe Carter hit that home run – there was a lot of jumping around.”
Guelph entered the 12-team Cup division (the A grouping) ranked as the No. 6 team from Ontario after finishing sixth at provincials.
“We had a few bad breaks,” said Priamo, of the provincial championship.
At the national event, they got some revenge by twice beating a Pickering team they lost to at provincials.
The Gators opened the round robin with a 13-4 win over the Winnipeg Lightning last Wednesday and included an “amazing” sixth inning, Priamo said. In that frame, Guelph scored 12 times, including a two-run home run from Bryanna Kressler.
On Thursday, the Gators scored runs in five different innings and beat the Waterloo Gold team 6-1. Later that afternoon, they lost 6-1 to the White Rock B.C. Renegades. It was the Gators’ lone loss at the tournament.
Friday, Guelph beat the Brampton Blazers 6-4 in a game that saw a three-run home run by Kael Prickett. In their second game of the day, Guelph shut out the Victoria Devils 3-0 to finish in second in the Red Pool with a 4-1 record.
In the double knockout playoff round, Guelph went undefeated.
On Saturday, they faced the top ranked team from the Black Pool, the Surrey Storm. Surrey had allowed only three runs in their five round robin games. After being down 4-1 early in the game, the Guelph bats came alive as they won 10-6. Later Saturday, Guelph faced the Ontario champs, the Pickering Heat. Guelph won 5-3 to advance to the gold medal game.
In the final, the Gators faced Pickering again. Pickering grabbed an early 1-0 lead, but Guelph scored runs in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings to take home the gold medal with a 6-2 victory.
Next season, the majority of the Gators’ players will move up to the bantam age category.
The team played 72 games this year and finished with a 57-15 record. Seven of those losses came against older teams at tournaments in the U.S., said Priamo.