The Strathmore Thunder U17B fastpitch team took home gold at their provincial tournament that took place over the weekend of July 22.
Coach Tom Clooney said the season was hard-won and taking home the provincial title was certainly a well-earned accomplishment.
“I’m very proud of them. They worked hard this season and they came together at the right time. It was quite a whirlwind week — on Monday they won the city championship in their league, and then they closed off the week by winning the provincial championship,” said Clooney. “We were hoping to make the medal round last year at provincial, in Irma, and came up short … we had some unfinished business after last year.”
Clooney added that as the hosting location and organization, the team did not want to be cleaning up the diamonds at the end of the weekend, having not played to the conclusion of the tournament.
Despite several injuries throughout the season and being down a player at provincials, the girls didn’t hesitate to bring the thunder to the pitch.
Over the course of the season, Clooney added, he believes the girls really came together as a team and displayed growth across the board. This, however, wasn’t the only factor which he believes lead to their success.
“We are the only team that doesn’t play in a travel league that is set up in Alberta, and I think we were an unknown to some of the teams that were there,” said Clooney. “Whether they took us lightly or whatever it may be, (the other teams) found out pretty quick that these girls are a really good team and deserved to be favourites and deserved to win gold this weekend.”
Clooney also commended the girls for their commitment to the team despite their various other occupations and obligations throughout the season.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times