The regional championships brought together U11 teams from softball associations representing three different districts throughout the Lower Mainland and toward the Fraser Valley, including teams from Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody, all of Surrey including White Rock, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Whonnock, Mission and Deroche.
“This year felt like our first full year post Covid. We had an ultimate goal this year and that was to create a family-focused association; one that players and parents were proud to play for and wanted to return to next season,” said Thomas Bell, SSWRMSA president in an email.
“I was beaming with pride when I looked out at the championship games being played and saw the fields filled with our teams and the stands filled with our families.”
The Adam Roberts-coached U11 Woodchips had a remarkable season.
After finishing in second place in the SSWRMSA’s in-house May Madness tournament, the Woodchips went on to earn a silver medal at the district championship in Cloverdale. Building on their success, they capped off their season being crowned regional champions at the weekend event, taking top spot in the ‘gold’ category, Bell said.
“It was an absolutely magical season, exactly what you want to be a part of. The Softball Sport was pure! Players all worked extremely hard and developed a ton over the year,” said Woodchips head coach Roberts, who is also the head coach of Canada’s U20 men’s rugby team.
“The growth of their skills was exponential! All the coaches worked well together in a collaborative effort to make the games competitive. Winning the final tournament of the season was a nice finishing touch for the Woodchips. Truly a wicked way to end the season.”
The Blueberry Muffins, who struggled at the beginning of the season, never gave up, and surprised everyone by winning bronze at the May Madness tournament, then earning gold in the silver pool at the district championships, Bell noted. They finished off their season with a silver medal in the gold category at the weekend’s regional championships (teams start the tournament with one round of games; based on the results, they then played in the gold or silver division after the first round).
“The effort, dedication, cohesiveness and sportsmanship they displayed has made our entire association proud,” Bell said.
“We are pretty excited to come back next year. We are hoping we can keep the Muffins together for next year,” said Muffins head coach Kyle Stevens.
“As coaches, we learned a lot, as we are pretty new to coaching, and we are looking forward to next year. We also appreciate and see all the hard work of the association to support our teams.”
The U11 Sapphires and Black Bears also competed in the regional tournament, bringing home gold and silver in the silver category, respectively.
The Melissa Roberts-coached Sapphires showed such good form on and off the field, that Bell received an email from a mom whose daughter umped during one of the Sapphires’ games. She noted assistant coach Jeff Paul noticed her daughter was flushed, asked if she was doing OK, and offered her cold drinks between innings.
“She eventually left the game because she was feeling dizzy,” the mom let Bell know.
“As a parent of girls who play softball and one that umpires softball, I want to say thank you. We need more coaches like the ones you have on the Sapphires. Thanks again and please send my thanks to the coaches.”
Bell said the whole association is “beaming with pride at how well our coaches, players and families represented the South Surrey White Rock Minor Softball Association. We are truly a supportive family.”
The Black Bears’ assistant coach Wendy Gallaher was please with her team’s silver win.
“The Black Bears had an amazing time at the regional championships put on this past weekend,” she said.
“Our dedicated, hardworking group of girls got to play some great competitive softball and had such a fun time doing it. We were excited to take home the silver medal in the silver bracket.”
Bell said next season, the SSWRMSA hopes to continue with development clinics for players, coaching clinics, as well as fun tournaments like the U11 May Madness and FunFest.
“These events went over really well for us and enforced our softball family mindset,” Bell said.
“This is very important to us. Everyone can play softball, everyone is welcome and we are all one family.”
Visit sswrmsa.ca for details on how to get involved.
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