Westholme’s Rylee Smith is sporting a bronze medal after helping the Victoria Devils U19A girls’ fastball team to a third-place finish in the provincial championships during early August at Richmond.
Smith’s contribution included some clutch pitching when required.
“Overall I only pitched three innings out of eight games but I was in relief for every game, but mostly every game our pitchers just did a whole game which was awesome,” she noted. “Hitting, I think I did pretty well but could have done better. As a team we did really well and I couldn’t have been more proud.”
Smith and her Devils teammates, coached by Rocky Vitale, took on Fraser Valley Fusion ‘03 in their first game and won 5-2 behind Jordyn Ages’ amazing pitching. Macey Thoroughgood hit an inside-the-park home run and was MVP.
The second game was against the White Rock Renegades ‘03 and the Devils mercied them in five innings.
”I got a couple of doubles and RBIs and pitched two innings in relief and the final score was 9-2,” Smith indicated. “I also got MVP for that game which was nice because I don’t think I have gotten MVP in a game for so long.”
On the second day of play, the Devils faced the other Victoria Devils team and also mercied them in five innings, 10-1.
Sophie Guiney pitched for the victorious Devils and took MVP honours. Smith hit really well and contributed two more doubles.
In the fourth and final game of the round robin, the Devils lost 4-1 to the Fraser Valley Fusion ‘04.
“It was not an awful game, we just could not hit for some reason,” Smith explained.
The Devils placed second in the round robin out of 14 teams with the 3-1 record. The top eight teams then went into the playoffs.
The first playoff game against the Delta Heat ‘04 was also the third game of the day for the Devils, but they advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-2 win. Guiney provided the dramatics with her first home run over the fence.
The Devils advanced to the semifinals the next morning by defeating the Delta Heat ‘03 5-1 behind the strong pitching of Ages.
The semifinal was against the White Rock Renegades ‘02, the top team in the provincials. “We have played them this year and split both games,” noted Smith.
No. 1 pitcher Ages ended up with a hip flexor injury in the Delta Heat ‘03 game when she was pitching and was out of action for the rest of the provincials. A victory would mean a trip to the final.
But the Renegades’ game was not the Devils’ best and they lost 10-0 in five innings. Smith pitched the fifth inning in relief.
Since the playoffs were a double knockout, the Devils played another game right away to try and make the finals.
”If we lost this game then we would get bronze,” Smith pointed out. “So no matter what we were still getting a medal, just did not know what colour it would be yet.”
A close game against the rival Surrey Storm ‘03 ended in a 4-1 loss and left the Devils with a bronze medal.
Guiney pitched well, but the Devils were just not on top of their game to help her out.
“We were all so proud of one another and so was Rocky,” summed up Smith. “If someone told us a month before we left for provincials that we would do that well I don’t think any of us would have believed that. It was a rocky road, that’s for sure, coming into it, but the turnout was so amazing, especially for the ones going into college or the ones that it was their last year playing at this level and ageing out next year.”
Next season, Smith will be playing for Vitale’s new team called Victoria Glory.
One of the new coaches will be Emma Entzminger, a bronze medal Olympian with Softball Canada in the Tokyo Olympics. “I am very excited for next year and for playing for a new team, which means new gear which is always the best,” enthused Smith.