But St. Marys fastball team still has outstanding 2019 season
By Pat Payton
DELAWARE – It was not the finish to the 2019 season the Vet. Purchasing Midget-Juniors were hoping for here this past weekend. But it was still an outstanding season for Rob and Kelly Wiffen’s squad, who lost just two Huron Perth Fastball League games all summer.
St. Marys competed in Pool ‘A’, along with Milverton Millwrights, Springfield Brewers and the Fullarton A’s No. 1 squad, in the year-end HPFL playoff tournament.
Four teams have 2-1 records
Milverton was the only team to go a perfect 3-0 in round-robin action, helping Millwrights secure a berth in Sunday morning’s semi-finals. Four teams, including St. Marys, finished preliminary play with 2-1 records. The other three teams were Fullarton A’s No. 2 team, Listowel and Tavistock Athletics.
Fullarton No. 2 won Pool ‘B’, while Tavistock and Listowel finished tied for first in Pool ’C’. Tavistock apparently won a coin flip to get top spot. Listowel emerged as the wild-card team on a tie-breaker (allowing 17 runs against). The Vet. Purchasing Midget-Juniors gave up 20 runs, while scoring 32 in their three games.
“It came down to runs against; that’s what the tie-breaker was,” St. Marys coach Rob Wiffen told the Independent. “We had 20 runs against and Listowel had 17.”
Wiffen said he was proud of the way his team performed all season. They went an impressive 19-1 and finished first in the regular-season standings.
“We only lost two games all season, but unfortunately we lost one of the games we needed to win. We just didn’t get the breaks in the tournament.
“But we had a great year, and the girls all played well,” he added.
In Sunday morning’s semi-finals, Listowel defeated Milverton 8-5 and Tavistock blanked Fullarton No. 2 by a 9-0 count. In the championship game in the afternoon, Tavistock defeated Listowel 8-3.
St. Marys round-robin action
The Vet. Purchasing Midget-Juniors’ offence came to life on Saturday afternoon in their third and final round-robin game. A huge 17-4 five-inning mercy victory over Fullarton A’s No. 1 gave St. Marys a 2-1 record — good for second place in Pool ‘A’.
St. Marys scored seven runs in both the first and third innings to build a commanding lead. “Our bats were strong, and Natalie (Reay) and Ash (Ashlyn Maxwell) both pitched well,” coach Kelly Wiffen reported.
The Vet. Purchasing squad had six extra-base hits. Reay crossed the plate three times, while Maxwell, Bailey Wiffen, Aimee King, Carly McEwan and Sarah Steckly all scored twice. Wiffen went 3-for-3, with two doubles.
In their second outing Saturday morning, the Vet. Purchasing Midget-Juniors edged Springfield 4-3. Two runs in the fourth snapped a 2-2 tie and put St. Marys ahead to stay.
Lead-off batter Nathalie Bettger had a solo home run and single to pace the offence, while Natalie Reay contributed a single and double. Bailey Wiffen, Aimee King and Ashlyn Maxwell combined for the pitching win.
In their opening game Friday night, the Vet. Purchasing Midget-Juniors jumped out to an early lead, but Milverton battled back to claim a 13-11 victory with a six-run rally in the fifth inning.
Trailing 1-0, St. Marys rocked hard-throwing Millwrights’ ace Nicole Erb–scoring six times in the bottom of the first. A bases-clearing single by Robyn Lewis was the big blow. Bailey Wiffen and Carly McEwan also had key hits in the rally.
A solo homer by Ashlyn Maxwell, and a two-run, opposite-field hit by Lauren Cameron were other big hits for the Vet. Purchasing squad, who got a strong outing from starting pitcher Natalie Reay.
Wiffen went 3-for-3 with three singles for St. Marys, while Lewis smashed a single and double. Maxwell scored three times, with Lewis and McEwan each adding a pair of runs.
“Milverton hit the ball probably better than they did all year against us,” coach Kelly Wiffen noted.