Further and further into uncharted waters they go.
Marissa Kerry pitched a complete game, two-hitter as the third-seeded Fort Frances Her-icanes eked out a 2-1 win over the top-ranked Renegades in the Rainy River District Women’s Fastball League championship final last Wednesday night at the St. Francis Sports Field.
It was the fourth-straight league crown for the Her-icanes, adding to what is quickly becoming an impressive dynasty.
No team in league history had ever won it all four years in a row.
“I can’t even describe how happy we are that we accomplished a ‘4-peat’,” enthused Her-icanes’ captain Stacy Patey, who also serves as the league president.
“We are definitely making history for our league.
“Marissa is unbelievable! It seems like the more intense a game gets, whether we are in tournaments or playoffs, she switches to a different gear and she’s unstoppable,” she lauded of the ‘Canes’ ace, who tossed a complete game, five-hitter in last year’s final to down the Red Gut Babes 12-4.
“We are very grateful to have her on the mound and we all work hard defensively, and on the bats, to help her out as much as we can.”
It was a pitcher’s duel throughout the first two innings in last Wednesday’s championship final, with Kerry and Karma Andy of the Renegades combining for five strikeouts while keeping the offence off the board.
The Renegades’ best chance to break the scoreless deadlock came in the first inning, as Andy got aboard with a leadoff walk against Kerry before stealing second.
Erin Oltsher then drew a one-out walk to put two men on, but Kerry rebounded by striking out Laurie Brown and inducing a groundout from Gina Pope to end the threat.
The Her-icanes showed some of their championship pedigree in the third in what ultimately proved to be the decisive frame.
Norma Reather led off with a single before Sarah Faragher got aboard with a walk off of Andy.
An RBI groundout by ‘Canes’ third baseman Dana Ward then cashed Reather in to open the scoring.
Kerry laid down a crafty sacrifice bunt down the first-base line that allowed Faragher to trot home to push it to 2-0.
But Andy responded by striking out Jess Woodgate to limit the damage at two runs–setting the stage for an interesting finish in the seventh and final inning.
Oltsher smacked a leadoff single before Brown grounded out.
Pope then laced an RBI single that brought Oltsher home to trim it to 2-1.
‘Canes’ coach Jeff Kerry then called a mound meeting to help his daughter settle down and discuss defensive strategies with the infield.
That conversation paid off handsomely as Marissa Kerry responded by getting a strikeout and inducing a groundout to preserve Fort Frances’ fourth-straight title. Her squad met her near the mound for a celebratory group hug.
Kerry finished the game surrendering just the lone run while striking out nine and walking two.
“The Renegades are a very strong team. Karma is an amazing pitcher and most of our games the last two years [against them] have been within a run or two,” Patey said of the Renegades.
“They were seeded first going into the finals and are not easy to beat, they wanted the title just as much as we did,” she stressed.
“Our games are usually pretty intense, however, there is nothing but respect for each other on and off the field.”
Assessing the RRDWFL season as whole, Patey noted that this year “has been the best by far”, as most games were decided by a run or two.
“Our youth players are really starting to shine out on the fields and all of our teams are gunning for the trophy,” she lauded.