The U10-A Red Deer Rage girls fastball team recently won a gold medal at the provincial championships.
The Rage won the U10 tournament after competing against older U12 girls all season.
“We played above our age group, so we didn’t have much success during the season — with the idea that we would be better prepared when it comes to provincials,” Head Coach Lee Booth said.
The Rage immediately saw that success, going undefeated in the provincial round-robin.
“We had a really good round-robin going 4-0,” he said. “Going into it, we thought it would be us or Lloydminster being the top team. We beat them 6-5 in an awesome game.
“After going 4-0, we played the other Red Deer team in the semi-finals — we beat them and then we went on to beat Sylvan Lake in the gold medal game.”
While the playoffs were tough games, the Rage had pencilled the Lloydminster game as crucial to their success.
“We were confident going into the weekend, but we knew we had to play Lloydminster in the round-bin,” he said. “That was the game we were looking towards. We also played Olds in the round-robin, who are a good team as well. We knew if we get through the round-robin that we would be in good shape. From there, the playoffs were hard but we were confident after the Lloyd game.”
Booth said his team was well-rounded, however their pitching stood about the crowd.
“We had really strong pitching and at provincials, our hitting really took off,” he said. “That was huge for us. We were playing harder competition during the season, so it was hard for us to get our bats going against older girls but at provincials we straightened that out.”
Booth said adjusting to U12 teams during the season was an early challenge for the Rage.
“It was a big adjustment, not only because they are bigger and stronger, but also the distances for the pitchers and the base pads,” he said. “As coaches, we told the girls to keep playing hard and let them know at provincials that we would be playing at our distances. It would seem a lot easier. They adjusted right away.
“At the start of the season, we were a little worried because we weren’t sure exactly what we had. After the first weekend in Irma, they picked it up right away. We didn’t win games at that time but they were able to compete.”
Booth added, “It was a perfect storm of good coaching, good parent group and a great group of girls. That was the biggest thing that led us to success.”