Herricanes storm into fastball final
On a sultry summer evening, the Fort Frances Herricanes’ bats left a fatal burn on the title hopes of the Couchiching Lady Raiders.
Beulah Perreault went 3-for-3 with four RBIs, and pitcher Laureen Hill added three more hits, to spark the Herricanes to a 9-5 victory over the Lady Raiders in the semi-final of the Rainy River District Women’s Fastball League last night at VanJura.
“We’ve really earned this . . . we’ve really come together as a team.
“It feels great,” she enthused.
The Herricanes now advance to the league final Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Rodrick and Telford Bruyere Ball Field at Couchiching First Nation against the top-ranked Redgut Babes.
The Babes have won their only post-season outing so far—an 8-3 victory over the Herricanes at Redgut last Thursday.
Given the double-elimination format of the playoffs, a win by the Babes on Thursday will clinch the title.
Should the Herricanes win, the two squads will battle again next Monday (Sept. 2) for all the marbles.
Perreault’s single to centre in the second drove in Hill to open the scoring.
Then in the third, Perreault smacked a two-out, two-run single to cash in Hill and Dana Ward for a 5-0 lead.
Couchiching clawed its way back into the game with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings.
But Perreault struck again in the bottom of the fifth, plating Ward with another single for what was the first of four runs that sealed the victory.
Herricanes’ coach Don Tucker lauded his team for getting timely hits off Couchiching pitcher Darcy Smith.
“That’s the first time we’ve been able to hit [Smith] all year,” noted Tucker.
“The girls are quite excited,” he added. “The more experience we get with more ball games, it’s showing.”
Couchiching would not go away quietly, though, scoring three times in the seventh off Hill to close the gap.
But the Herricanes’ hurler knocked down Shannon Blight’s comebacker and flipped the ball to Caylee Woolsey at first for the final out.
Lady Raiders’ co-coach Chris Morrisseau commended his team’s effort but spotlighted the troubles which led to his squad’s playoff ouster.
“We had a few errors and we weren’t hitting as well as we should have been,” he admitted.
“[Hill] did pretty well but I don’t see why they weren’t hitting her,” Morrisseau added.
“I think they felt that way, too, through the game.”
Despite the loss, Lady Raiders’ catcher Courtney Easton said it was a pleasure to be part of the rebirth of women’s fastball in the district after a hiatus of about three decades.
“Next year we’re going to come back stronger,” she pledged.
“We’ve taken the first steps now,” she noted. “For a lot of the girls, it was their first year playing baseball.
“Next year will be a lot better. We’ll be more prepared.”
Redgut reportedly decided to play Thursday’s game at Couchiching to provide a more central location so more fans for both teams can attend.