SAIT and Calgary hosted the 2021 WCSA Playoffs at Shouldice Field on October 2nd and 3rd.
The double-knockout tournament began Saturday morning. #2 Calgary defeated #7 Lethbridge 14 to 3 on the strength of a grand slam and 7 RBIs by Maggie Lawson and three hits by Racquel Bennett. In an upset, #6 SAIT defeated #3 Saskatchewan 11 to 7 with SAIT collecting 14 hits. Saskatchewan’s Kim Vibert and Sarah Kostuk answered with multiple hit games, but it wasn’t enough. In a high-scoring affair, #5 Victoria defeated #4 Regina 14 to 10. Victoria’s Devon Rees scored 4 runs, and Regina’s Caleigh McLaughlin had 3 hits.
In round 2, #1 UBCO defeated #5 Victoria 11 to 1 with strong pitching by the league’s top pitcher Jessica Podskalny. Calgary defeated SAIT 11 to 4 led by pitcher Emma Stephens who also contributed 3 runs and hits. Saskatchewan bounced back from its first loss with a 8 to 0 victory over Lethbridge. Lauren Pollard pitched a shutout and was supported by a 3 hit/3 RBI performance by Jill Kroeger.
Round 3 featured another battle of league titans Calgary and UBCO. The back and forth game featured several lead changes and big hits. Calgary outhit UBCO 13 to 6 but lost the game 5 to 4 on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 7th. Victoria continued its strong playoff run by defeating Saskatchewan 14 to 6. Six Vikes players had 2 or more hits with Alex Buckman collecting 3 hits and 3 RBIs. Jill Kroeger and Danille Bertoncini had strong games for Saskatchewan. Regina beat SAIT by a 9 to 5 score led by Caleigh McLaughlin.
On Sunday, teams battled for playoff standing. On the consolation side, Saskatchewan emerged victorious with a 7 to 0 victory over SAIT. SAIT played well in an earlier game defeating Lethbridge 12 to 5.
The long road for the 1-loss playoff teams started with a 12 to 6 victory for Victoria over Regina. Victoria had a 7 run inning and multiple hit games by Sydney Wood, Emily Wright, Alex Buckman, and Hayley Gordon.
In the bronze medal game, Victoria continued its hot streaking leading by 3 to 1 into the bottom of the 7th. In dramatic fashion, the 2021 National silver medalists Calgary Dinos scored 3 runs in the bottom of the 7th to win it by a 4 to 3 score.
That all led to one more battle between Calgary and UBCO. Looking at the box score does not do justice to the intensity and excitement of this game. The wind was blowing, but that did not stop some amazing plays in the field. In the top of the 2nd, Calgary had a runner on 3rd and a fly ball to the outfield, but the runner was declared out for leaving early on the tag. The only run of the game was in the bottom of the 3rd when Sheyanne Lawrence scored from 2nd base after a hit by Taylor Roeseler. Center fielders Kasey Wright for UBCO and Brooke Stoilen made diving catches for outs. In the top of the 7th, Calgary’s Hayley Reid singled with one out. Nadine Burdett hit a long fly ball to the warning track (230 feet) in the gap between left and centre field that somehow was tracked down and caught by Taylor Roeseler. With Hayley already at 3rd base, she was doubled-off for the final out ending the game for a 1 to 0 score for UBCO. UBCO ace Jessica Podskalny pitched a shutout game supported by exceptional defense. We cannot wait to see these teams match up again in Nationals!
UBC Okanagan Heat are the 2021 WCSA Playoff champions!
Final Playoff Standings:
- UBC Okanagan
- University of Calgary
- University of Victoria
- University of Regina
- University of Saskatchewan
- University of Lethbridge